How Is Biodiesel Made?

What Is Biodiesel?

Made from an increasingly diverse mix of resources such as recycled cooking oil, soybean oil and animal fats, biodiesel is a renewable, clean-burning diesel replacement that can be used in existing diesel engines without modification. It is the nation’s first domestically produced commercially available advanced biofuel.

Manufacturing process

In the process of making biodiesel fuel, methanol is used as a key component in a process called trans esterification – to put it simply, methanol is used to convert the triglycerides in different types of oils into usable biodiesel fuel. The trans esterification process reacts methanol with the triglyceride oils contained in vegetable oils, animal fats, or recycled greases, forming fatty acid methyl esters (biodiesel) and the by-product glycerine. Biodiesel production continues to grow around the globe, with everything from large-scale commercial operations to smaller, backyard blenders mixing this environmentally-friendly fuel for everyday use in diesel engines.

Current Production

Biodiesel production spans across the US and has grown to more than 125 plants with the capacity to produce 3 billion gallons. In 2018, the US biodiesel industry produced 2.6 billion gallons of biodiesel. Production isn’t only about gallons produced, but also about the economic benefits to the US. The biodiesel industry supports nearly 60,000 jobs and generates billions of dollars in GDP, household income and tax revenues.

Biodiesel Availability

Biodiesel is available nationwide and blends over 4 per cent are required to be labelled at the pump. Look for the Black and Blue biodiesel sticker when filling up. Biodiesel can be purchased through distributors or at retail locations.

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