All About Biodiesel & Its Benefits (2023)

Origins of Diesel

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Rudolph Diesel and a Prototype Engine

The concept of using vegetable oil as a fuel began in Germany with the invention of the engine by Rudolph Diesel.

Rudolph Diesel developed the first engine to run on pure peanut oil back in the 1800's. He demonstrated its use at the Exhibition Fair in Paris, France in 1898. Rudolf Diesel thought that the utilization of a biomass fuel was the real future of his engine. He wanted to give farmers the opportunity to grow and produce their own "fuel" to run farm machinery.

Unfortunately, he passed away mysteriously, and the rapidly developing petroleum industry utilized his engine to run their petroleum based fuel now known as diesel. Rudolph Diesel's vision of utilizing vegetable based fuels to power his engine was soon forgotten.

The entire Biodiesel industry exists because of one man, a pioneer in the biofuel movement. The uncovering of Rudolph Diesel's story, along with the need to find alternatives to the decreasing supply of foreign oil, has led Europe, the USA and the rest of the world into developing the Biodiesel industry.

What is Biodiesel?

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Biodiesel is a clean-burning, alternative fuel that can be produced from domestic, renewable resources such as soybean oil, and waste cooking oil. Biodiesel contains no petroleum, but it can be blended at any level with petroleum diesel to create a biodiesel blend. It can be used in diesel engines with little or no modifications. Biodiesel is simple to use, biodegradable, nontoxic, and essentially free of sulfur and aromatics.

Why Should I Use Biodiesel?

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Biodiesel Produces 78% Less CO2

Biodiesel is better for the environment because it is made from renewable resources and has lower emissions compared to petroleum diesel. It is less toxic than table salt and biodegrades as fast as sugar. Since it is made in the USA from renewable resources such as soybeans, its use decreases our dependence on foreign oil and contributes to our own economy. (US National Biodiesel Board, based on US Environmental Protection Agency studies)

What Are the Benefits of Biodiesel?

Biodiesel reduces nearly all forms of air pollution compared to petroleum diesel. In particular, Biodiesel reduces toxic contaminants and cancer-causing compounds, along with the black smoke associated with diesel exhaust.

Biodiesel also reduces nearly all forms of air pollution, which contribute to global warming. Lifecycle analyses of Biodiesel production, distribution and use show that Biodiesel produces 78% less CO2 than petroleum diesel fuel, making Biodiesel the best liquid fuel commercially available.

The use of domestic, renewable sources of energy reduces our dependence on imported oil, thereby improving our nation's energy security and allowing us to shift away from the sole reliance on a resource that is rapidly diminishing.

The domestic Biodiesel industry provides jobs and economic development.

Biodiesel is easy to use and can be used in existing diesel vehicles and engines.

Energy Balance

Summary of Energy Balance / Energy Life Cycle
FuelEnergy Yield*Net Energy

(Loss) or Gain

Gasoline0.805(19.5%)
Diesel0.843(15.7%)
Ethanol1.3434%
Biodiesel4.50350%
* Life cycle yield in liquid fuel. BTU's for each BTU of energy consumed.

Biodiesel has the highest energy balance of any fuel. Newly published research from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows that for every unit of fossil energy needed to make Biodiesel, 4.5 units of energy are gained!

In contrast, regular fossil fuels have a negative energy balance. In other words, they take more energy to produce than they provide in return!

Reduce Your Carbon Footprint.

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Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Biodiesel is a fantastic way of reducing your carbon footprint because it only releases the carbon dioxide that the plants absorbed while growing.

Biodiesel reduces lifecycle carbon emissions by 78% when compared to petro diesel.

Why You Should Give Biodiesel A Try?

One of the questions we get asked on a regular basis is why people should use Biodiesel. Here are a few reasons that we think stand out.

Renewable

Fossil fuels take millions of years to form, and reserves are being depleted much faster than new ones are being made. Yet, despite predictions that the U.S. will exhaust it's supply of oil in as little as forty years, the demand for energy increases. Biodiesel meets the challenge. Instead of making fuel from a finite resource such as crude oil, Biodiesel can be produced from renewable resources such as soybean oil, waste grease, as well as animal fats and tallows.

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Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Good For The Environment

When Biodiesel is used to power diesel engines, the emissions at the tailpipe are significantly reduced. Carbon Dioxide, Hydrocarbons, and Particulate Matter (the black smoke from diesels) all are significantly reduced with the use of Biodiesel. When used in older diesel engines such as indirect combustion diesels, the results are astounding, with as much as 95% fewer pollutants.

Good For The Engine

What many people don't realize is that Biodiesel is actually better for a car's engine than conventional diesel. Even a small amount of Biodiesel means cleaner emissions and better engine lubrication. Just 1% Biodiesel added to petro-diesel will increase lubricity by 65%, reducing mechanical problems and enhancing the life and efficiency of the engine. Biodiesel is cleaner, it leaves fewer deposits in fuel lines and on engine parts and will help to clean injectors, fuel lines, pumps and tanks, meaning that overall maintenance costs are reduced. U.S. Government studies have also shown that engine oil stays cleaner when Biodiesel is used, allowing some fleets to go longer between oil changes.

In more than 50 million successful miles of in-field testing, Biodiesel has performed similarly to conventional diesel in its fuel consumption, horsepower, torque, and haulage rates.

The Perfect Alternative Fuel

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Pour In & Drive Away

When compared to several other Alternative Fuels available, Biodiesel comes out way ahead. Most alternative fuels require changes to a vehicle to be used. Natural Gas & Propane require special tanks to be installed and changes to the fuel injection system must be made as well. Ethanol also requires specialized changes to the fuel injection system. Electricity requires a completely different engine. In most cases, once a vehicle undergoes the conversion necessary to run the alternative fuel, there's no going back. You either run the alternative fuel or you don't run the vehicle.

Biodiesel is different. Unlike other alternative fuels, Biodiesel can be used in most any diesel vehicle UNMODIFIED! Yes, in most cases, you just pour the Biodiesel in and go. No modified tanks, no special injection equipment, no switches to throw. Just pour it in and drive away. And, unlike the other alternative fuels, if you need to switch back to Petrodiesel you can. Just fill back up with diesel! In fact, Biodiesel will even blend with regular diesel fuel in any mixture; from 1% to 99%. It's really that easy!

Contributes To Our Local Economy

It is estimated that 53% of every U.S. dollar spent on crude oil leaves the country, contributing to huge trade deficits and jeopardizing our national security through the vulnerability of critical energy supplies.

Biodiesel Used In Virginia

Economic Impact

The use of Biodiesel in Virginia can have positive benefits for the state economy.

If locally produced Biodiesel is used, as much as $.90 of every dollar used to purchase the fuel stays in the local economy rather than going out of the country. NO WAR REQUIRED!

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Fuels Your Vehicle, Heats Your Home

When most of us think about Biodiesel we think of its use on the road. However, for many homes and businesses across the nation, a major use of this invaluable fuel is to provide heat in place of petroleum fuel oil.

National Oilheat Research Alliance Timeline

Source: bioheatonline.com

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NORA

September 2009
24 NORA states (National Oilheat Research Alliance) ratified a new vision for the oil heat industry.
By July 2010
All heating oil will be blended with Biodiesel to insure that at least 2% of the fuel is renewable.
By 2030
All Oilheat will be ULSD with a 15% inclusion of Biodiesel.
By 2050
All Oilheat will be B100 Biodiesel.

What Can You Do To Help?

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What Can You Do? Join Us!

Simple Steps

  • Buy and support Biodiesel use with confidence
  • Share the facts that you've learned here today
  • Partner with us in our campaign to Re-Fuel America

Where Can I Buy Biodiesel?

Below are some links to local suppliers.

Reco Biodiesel
recobiodiesel.com
Piedmont Biofuels
biofuels.coop
Green Light Biofuels
glbiofuels.com
Synergy Biofuels
synergybiofuels.com
Red Birch Energy
redbirchenergy.com
For More Information About Biodiesel
biodiesel.org

One of Biodiesel's most promising future roles could be as a fuel additive. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ordered a reduction in the sulfur content of diesel fuel from the current level of 500 parts per million (ppm) to 15 ppm, starting in 2006. Although it is an impurity, sulfur contributes significantly to the lubricating value of conventional diesel fuel. Without a high-lubricity additive, therefore, engines running on low-sulfur diesel fuel could be subjected to excessive wear. Tests have shown that blending Biodiesel with petroleum-based diesel fuel at just a 1% level could increase the lubricity of diesel fuel by up to 65%. Biodiesel is also being considered as a replacement for some petroleum-based lubricants.

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