What Is Biodiesel?
In layman’s terms, biodiesel is made from the combination of certain fats, as found in vegetable oil, and an alcohol. It is not exactly like vegetable oil purchased in a grocery store. Common vegetable oil is not a legal substitute for diesel or any other fuel used to operate motor vehicles. Soybeans are a common source for the fats (also called lipids) used to make biodiesel fuel.
Biodiesel is environmentally friendly and can reduce the world’s dependence on Middle Eastern oil. Everything used to manufacture biodiesel is readily available in the United States and is a completely renewable resource. Biodiesel is also completely non toxic and fully, quickly biodegradable.
Biodiesel can be purchased from very few private petroleum stations in the United States, but is available for purchase all over the country from producers and marketers of biodiesel fuel. Some petroleum distributors also carry biodiesel fuel. It is also produced and sold in other countries around the world.
Biodiesel fuel also creates far less emissions than petroleum based diesel fuel. All around, biodiesel is a better fuel source for the environment. It can also stimulate the national economy by reducing its dependence on foreign oil for fuel sources and creating both jobs and sales in the United States. Biodiesel also does not contain as much sulfur and therefore does not produce the bad smells often associated with petroleum based diesel fuel.
Biodiesel can be used as a sole fuel source for diesel engines, usually with few if any modifications to the engine. It can also be blended in any ratio with petroleum based diesel fuel. This mix is called a biodiesel blend. These blends are fully legal for sale and use within the United States.
The byproduct of making biodiesel fuel is also environmentally friendly and non toxic. Much of the byproduct from the production of biodiesel fuel is used to make soap and soap products. The production of these products is another possible stimulus for the United States economy.
The standard definition for what can be classified and used as biodiesel is established by the United States government. The definition specifies the exact chemical compound that identifies what can qualify for and be used as biodiesel fuel. States have also defined biodiesel fuel specifically according to chemical properties. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also oversees the production and use of biodiesel fuels within the United States.
Biodiesel blends are labeled according to the ratio of biodiesel to petroleum based diesel fuel in the mixture.