What is Biodiesel?
Biodiesel can be used in any application for which fossil diesel fuel would be used (including on-road and off-road use in trucks, tractors, trains, marine vessels, aviation, and even in power generation) in concentrations up to 100 percent (B100). Most commonly, however, biodiesel is used in blends such a 5 percent (B5) or 20 percent (B20).
Biodiesel has many benefits. Biodiesel is non-toxic and biodegradable, so unlike petroleum diesel, if it spills it is less damaging to the environment and easier to remediate. Lifecycle analyses show biodiesel provides significant reductions in greenhouse gases (57 to 86 percent- depending on feedstock) compared to fossil diesel fuel. In addition, biodiesel significantly reduces tailpipe emissions of carcinogenic particulate matter, carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons compared to petroleum-based diesel fuel.
Biodiesel is both an internationally traded energy product and a fuel that can be produced and consumed locally. Local production helps decentralize the energy paradigm, providing domestic green-collared jobs throughout the distribution chain, while boosting demand for agricultural and waste products. Biodiesel is a socially responsible fuel option that empowers citizens of less developed nations to cultivate their own energy production for electrical and power generation, and for farm and road fuel.
Ultimately, biodiesel is a sustainable fuel choice that reduces GHG and other harmful emissions, provides jobs and reduces dependence on fossil fuels.
The future is bright for biodiesel. Continued advancements in second-generation feedstock development, such as algae, and technological developments like enzymatic processing, mean biodiesel continues to evolve in order to satisfy ever-increasing societal demands for greener, cleaner, high-performing energy.
Engine manufacturers continue to approve higher blends of biodiesel for heavy-duty vehicles in addition to making available more passenger diesel options in countries that have historically relied on petroleum-powered transport. As a result, biodiesel is well-positioned to grow beyond its current use.
Biodiesel growth hitherto has been supported in part by several federal, provincial and state renewable fuel standards in nations like Canada, the U.S., Brazil, Indonesia and a myriad of other governmental programs across the world.