What is Biodiesel?

Biodiesel is green fuel. That means that it does not come from the ground, but from plants. It is analogous to regular diesel fuel and can fuel any unmodified diesel engine.

You may remember the ethanol fad from a few years ago. The reason that ethanol failed to become a mainstream fuel is that it must be distilled from corn; therefore it competes with food crops. Biodiesel is made from waste vegetable oil that would otherwise be thrown out. The fuel has persisted as an alternative to fossil fuels for over a century; Rudolph Diesel, the inventor of the internal combustion engine which he designed to run on peanut oil, predicted in 1914 that vegetable oil would eventually far surpass petroleum as the main source of fuel for his engines. He may soon be right. As the oil reserves of the planet dwindle and global warming threatens to melt the polar ice-caps, biofuels have received a great deal of attention.

Biodiesel is carbon-neutral. That means it does not release any extra greenhouse gasses, which cause global warming, into the atmosphere. Although carbon-dioxide is released when biodiesel is burned in an engine, an equal amount of carbon-dioxide is absorbed by the plants before they are turned into biodiesel.

By using biodiesel in your engine, you combat global warming, reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil, and support local producers--like us--trying to make a difference.


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