Biodiesel is a renewable fuel
The major sources of feedstock (raw material) for making biodiesel in the United States and their shares of total biodiesel feedstocks in 2017 were
- Soybean oil—52%
- Canola oil—13%
- Corn oil—13%
- Recycled feedstocks, such as used cooking oils and yellow grease—12%
- Animal fats—10%
Rapeseed oil, sunflower oil, and palm oil are major feedstocks for biodiesel produced in other countries.
Biodiesel is most often blended with petroleum diesel in ratios of 2% (referred to as B2), 5% (B5), or 20% (B20). Biodiesel can also be used as pure biodiesel (B100). Biodiesel fuels can be used in regular diesel engines without making any changes to the engines. Biodiesel blends are also used as heating oil. Biodiesel can be stored and transported using petroleum diesel fuel tanks and equipment.
History of biodiesel
Before petroleum diesel fuel became popular, Rudolf Diesel, the inventor of the diesel engine in 1897, experimented with using vegetable oil (biodiesel) as fuel. Until 2001, only small amounts of biodiesel were consumed in the United States. Since then, biodiesel consumption has increased substantially, largely because of the availability of various government incentives and requirements to produce, sell, and use biodiesel.