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Frequently Asked Questions about Biodiesel
(provided by Distribution Dirve)


1. What is Biodiesel?

Biodiesel is clean burning alternative fuel, produced from, renewable resources. Biodiesel contains no petroleum, but it can be blended at any level with petroleum diesel to create a biodiesel blend. It can be used in compression ignition (diesel) engines with no major modifications. Biodiesel is simple to use, biodegradable, nontoxic, and essentially free of sulfur and aromatics. Biodiesel has a high energy content, approximately 120,000 BTUs per gallon.

2. Blends of B5 or B20 and pure Biodiesel

Biodiesel can be used as a pure fuel or blended with petroleum in any percentage. A blend of 5% Biodiesel and 95% by volume of petroleum diesel is called B5 has shown improvements in performance, enhanced lubricity and some reduction in emissions. A blend of 20 percent by volume Biodiesel with 80 percent by volume petroleum diesel called B20, has demonstrated significant environmental benefits with a minimum increase in cost.

3. Can I use Biodiesel in the USA?

Biodiesel is registered as a fuel and fuel additive with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and meets clean diesel standards established by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). Pure B100 Biodiesel has been designated as an alternative fuel by the Department of Energy (DOE) and the US Department of Transportation (DOT).

4. What is the EPAct (Energy Policy Act)?

EPAct is the Energy Policy Act of 1992 that focuses on reducing motor fuel consumption and mandates alternative fuel use. EPAct's primary emphasis is to reduce our dependence on foreign oil through the promotion of domestic, alternative transportation fuels. Provisions of EPAct mandate alternative fuel vehicle purchases for federal, state and fuel provider fleets, with the potential of mandates for municipal and private fleets. Alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) have the ability to run on biodiesel, compressed natural gas (CNG), liquefied natural gas (LNG), liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), propane, methanol, ethanol or electric. The federal government, through EPAct, has established mandates for AFV purchases by federal and state agencies beginning in 1993 and 1997 respectively. EPAct also gives the Department of Energy (DOE) the authority to establish mandates for municipalities and private fleets located in large metropolitan areas. In addition, fuel providers are currently required to have AFVs as an increasing percentage of their fleet purchases..

Listed below are the required annual percentages of new vehicle purchases that must be alternative fueled vehicles as defined by the EPAct.

 Model Year

Federal Government

State Government

Municipal Government & Private Fleets

Fuel Provider



















































5. Emissions Reductions

Fine particulate emissions have been identified as a major health risk, the smaller the particle, the greater the risk. Motor vehicles powered by diesel engines are a significantly disproportionate contributor of fine particle pollution and oxides of nitrogen in urban areas.

Biodiesel is the only alternative fuel to have fully completed the health effects testing requirements of the Clean Air Act. The use of Biodiesel in a conventional diesel engine results in substantial reduction of unburned hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and particulate matter compared to emissions from diesel fuel. In addition, the exhaust emissions of sulfur oxides and sulfates (major components of acid rain) from Biodiesel are essentially eliminated compared to diesel.

Of the major exhaust pollutants, both unburned hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides are ozone or smog forming precursors. The use of biodiesel in a conventional diesel engine results in substantial reduction of unburned hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and particulate matter. Emissions of nitrogen oxides are either slightly reduced or slightly increased depending on the duty cycle of the engine and testing methods employed.

Particulate emissions from conventional diesel engines are generally divided into three components and are in varying degree responsible for the black cloud emanating from a diesel powered vehicles exhaust tail pipe. The first component, and the one most closely related to the visible smoke often associated with diesel exhaust, is the carbonaceous material. This material is composed of sub-micron sized carbon particles which are formed during the diesel combustion process. It is especially prevalent under conditions when the fuel-air ratio is overly rich, such as full acceleration, maximum power or on start up.

The second component is hydrocarbon material which is absorbed on the carbon particles, commonly referred to as the soluble fraction. A portion of this material results from incomplete combustion of the fuel and the remainder is derived from engine lube oil that passes by the piston oil rings. The third particulate component is comprised of sulfates and bound water, with the amount of material being directly related to the fuel's sulfur content. The US has comparably high sulfur content in most of its petrochemical diesel fuels, so diesel engine use in America is more affected by this problem than most other countries.

The use of biodiesel decreases the solid carbon fraction of particulate matter as the increased amount of oxygen present in biodiesel enables a more complete combustion process. Biodiesel eliminates the sulfate fraction problem associated with petroleum based diesel as there is no sulfur in biodiesel, sulphur dioxide is the major component of acid rain. In addition to reducing the overall levels of pollutants and carbon, the compounds that are prevalent in biodiesel and petroleum based diesel fuel exhaust are different. Research conducted by Southwest Research Institute on a Cummins N14 engine indicates that the biodiesel exhaust has a less harmful impact on human health than petroleum diesel. Biodiesel emissions have decreased the levels of all largest polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) and nitrated PAH compounds were reduced by 75-85%.

6 I have heard that Biodiesel increases NOx emissions

This is completely untrue if you use the right additive in the fuel. Distribution Drive adds a fuel catalyst to our biodiesel that can see reductions of NOx emissions of up 30% when compared to regular petro based diesel fuel. Click the link to read about the City of Dallas's success meeting NOx reduction goals.

NOx is one of the precursors to the formation of photochemical smog and ground level ozone that affects our cities. The EPA is especially keen on NOx emissions as it is seen as one of the contributors to Ozone pollution seen in many of our large cities. Based on engine testing, using the most stringent emissions testing protocols required by EPA for certification of fuels or fuel additives in the US, the overall ozone forming potential of the speciated hydrocarbon emissions from Biodiesel was nearly 50 percent less than that measured for diesel fuel.

It is however entirely true, that using biodiesel without an additive or NOx reduction techniques does tend to increase oxides of nitrogen commonly know as NOx emissions. Controlling NOx on a Biodiesel powered car isn't impossible without the use of additives either. In a Diesel engine you are always making a compromise between making soot and NOx. Raise cylinder temps to reduce soot and you increase NOx, and vice-versa. Biodiesel powered engines produce a little bit higher NOx output but are very low in soot production. Simply reduce cylinder temps a little, by such methods as retarding pump timing, lowering turbo boost and water injection will reduce NOx emissions. These measures will increase soot, but this is hardly noticeable as Biodiesel makes so little smoke in comparison to petro-Diesel.

There is a considerable weight of argument that says that particulate matter is much more responsible for Ozone problems than NOx, but it is still a matter of considerable debate. The optimum blend of Biodiesel and petroleum based diesel fuel, juggling the trade-off of PM decrease and NOx increase, is a mix of 20/80 Biodiesel to petroleum diesel.

Another approach often used to mitigate the NOx increase associated with the use of Biodiesel is to change the ignition timing of an engine. Retarding the timing of an engine tends to reduce NOx emissions at the expense of increasing Particulate Mater. Retarding the ignition timing lengthens the ignition delay time, which reduces the peak pressure and temperature that enhance the formation of NOx emissions. An Austrian study shows that, in buses using Biodiesel, NOx emissions were reduced by 23% relative to petroleum diesel simply by advancing injection timing.

Speed of sound and bulk modulus of Biodiesel appear to cause ignition timing to advance by an average of one degree with the use of this fuel. This tendency contributes to some, but not all of the increase in NOx emissions commonly seen in Biodiesel engine stand emission tests. This information could also be used to support efforts to retard engine timing, although research on timing retardation with Biodiesel and Biodiesel blends show other emissions increasing when this occurs.

There is an an effect called the "weekend effect" that sees increases in ground level ozone and might be due to the fact that there is less NOx in the air. The weekend ozone effect would suggest lowering NOx emissions may make ground level ozone worse.

7. What do the Air Quality Index (AQI) colors mean?


The AQI value for your community is between 0 and 50. Air quality is considered satisfactory and air pollution poses little or no risk.

The AQI is between 51 and 100. Air quality is acceptable; however, people who are unusually sensitive to ozone may experience respiratory symptoms and should consider limiting prolonged outdoor exertion.

Unhealthy (for sensitive groups)
When AQI values are between 101 and 150, members of sensitive groups may experience negative health effects. For example, children and adults who are active outdoors and people with respiratory disease are at greater risk from exposure to ozone. The general public is not likely to be affected when the AQI is in this range.

AQI values are between 151 and 200. Everyone may begin to experience negative health effects. Active children and adults, and people with respiratory disease, such as asthma, should limit prolonged outdoor exertion.

Very Unhealthy
AQI values between 201 and 300 trigger a health alert, meaning everyone may experience more serious health effects. Active children and adults, and people with respiratory disease, such as asthma, should avoid all outdoor exertion; everyone else, should limit outdoor exertion.

AQI values over 300 trigger health warnings of emergency conditions. The entire population is more likely to be affected. Everyone should avoid all outdoor exertion.

8. Can Biodiesel help mitigate “global warming”?

The question of whether global warming is a result of increased CO² in the atmosphere or due to some other combinations of factors remains undetermined at this time. Please note that the CO² or Green House Gas effect on global warming still remains a theory. Although there must be an effect on our climate from our atmosphere seeing up to 30% higher CO² concentrations in some areas than has been seen in our history, the direct correlation between increased CO² in our atmosphere and the increase in the worlds temperature still has to be proven.   

What we do know for a fact is that a 1998 Biodiesel lifecycle study, jointly sponsored by the US Department of Energy and the US Department of Agriculture, concluded Biodiesel reduces net CO² emissions by 78 percent compared to petroleum diesel. This is due to biodiesel’s closed carbon cycle. The CO² released into the atmosphere when biodiesel is burned is recycled by growing plants, which are later processed into fuel.

9. Is Biodiesel safer than petroleum diesel?

Scientific research confirms that Biodiesel exhaust has a less harmful impact on human health than petroleum diesel fuel. Biodiesel emissions have decreased levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) and nitrited PAH compounds that have been identified as potential cancer causing compounds. Test results indicate PAH compounds were reduced by 75 to 85 percent, with the exception of benzo(a)anthracene, which was reduced by roughly 50 percent. Targeted nPAH compounds were also reduced dramatically with Biodiesel fuel, with 2-nitrofluorene and 1-nitropyrene reduced by 90 percent, and the rest of the nPAH compounds reduced to only trace levels.

100% biodiesel and blends of biodiesel with petroleum diesel are safer to store, handle and use than conventional diesel fuel with 100% biodiesel having a flash point of 150°C (300°F), well above the flash point of petroleum based diesel fuel of ± 70°C (150°F). The flash point of a biodiesel fuel blend increases as the percentage of biodiesel in the blend increases.

10. Does Biodiesel need special storage facilities

In general, the standard storage and handling procedures used for petroleum diesel can be used for Biodiesel. The fuel should be stored in a clean, dry, dark environment. Acceptable storage tank materials include aluminum, steel, fluorinated polyethylene, fluorinated polypropylene and teflon. Copper, brass, lead, tin, and zinc should be avoided.

Biodiesel does suffer from a problem called oxidation if stored for periods longer than 6 months. This means that the fuel will slowly oxidize over time unless an anti-oxidant additive is blended to the fuel  to prevent this process happening.

11. Can I use Biodiesel in any diesel engine?

Biodiesel can be used in any diesel engine, usually with no modifications to the engine necessary. It performs comparably to diesel, with similar BTU content and higher cetane. It offers excellent lubricity and lower emissions compared to petroleum diesel. D 6751 covers the incorporation of pure Biodiesel (B100) into conventional diesel fuel up to 20 percent by volume (B20). Higher blend levels may be acceptable, depending on the experience of the engine company.

12. Precautions

Biodiesel has a solvent effect that may release deposits accumulated on tank walls or pipes from previous diesel fuel storage and precautions should be taken when first switching over to Biodiesel. The release of deposits may clog filters initially and precautions should be taken to prevent these deposits from getting to the engine fuel filters. A disposable, clear, plastic inline filter with two fine mesh stainless gauzes sandwiched in the housing, makes a great pre-filter and fitting them to your vehicles is a good precaution to take against unwanted residue washing out of your existing tanks or pipes. These filters are clear you so you can see the sediment build up on the inlet side and it is easy to tell when you need to change them. They retail for around $ 2.00 and are made by a company called Plastisonics, Inc. 6614 W. Diversey Ave. Chicago IL 60635 Tel: (773) 622-7807 Fax: (773) 622-5255 or Toll free at (800) 650-7764.

13. Older Engines

Biodiesel can have some Methanol left in it from the production process that uses MethalOxide during the transesterification process. Methanol will destroy rubber tubing and seals over time, so older engines without synthetic seals made from products like Viton, will need to have rubber parts in the fuel system replaced. 

14. Who is using biodiesel?

More than 300 major fleets currently use B20, including the U.S. Postal Service, the City of Philadelphia, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), several public transit systems, national parks, school districts, private recycling and concrete companies and the National Aeronautics & Space Administration (NASA). To read more about other case studies, click this link.

15. Biodiesel is an EPA registered Alternative fuel.

Biodiesel is registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a fuel and fuel additive. It is the only alternative fuel to have completed the rigorous Health Effects testing requirements of the Clean Air Act. Results show Biodiesel reduces carcinogenic air toxics by 75-90% compared to diesel. Pure Biodiesel (B100) is also nontoxic, biodegradable and essentially free of sulfur. Emissions it reduces include particulate matter, unburned hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and sulfates. B100, or pure Biodiesel, also reduces life cycle carbon dioxide by 78% compared to petroleum diesel according to a joint U.S. Department of Agriculture/Department of Energy study.

16. ASTM Standards

The American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) Biodiesel Task Force began working on a standard for Biodiesel in 1994 and issued Specification D 6751 in 2002 covering all Biodiesel fuel bought and sold in the United States. The ASTM Biodiesel Standard helps to protect consumers from poor products and reduce the cost of buying and selling Biodiesel. The ASTM is titled the “Standard Specification for Biodiesel Fuel (B100) Blend Stock for Distillate Fuels” and the full details are available by clicking the link above.

17. What is horse power

Horsepower – as defined by James Watt the British inventor and engineer) (1736 to 1819) who originally coined the term horsepower. He is most famous for his work on improving the performance of steam engines.

The story goes that Watt was working with ponies lifting coal at a coal mine, and he wanted a way to describe the power available from one of these animals. He found that, on average, a mine pony could do 22,000 foot-pounds of work in a minute. He then increased that number by 50 percent and pegged the measurement of horsepower at 33,000 foot-pounds of work in one minute. It is that arbitrary unit of measure that has become the de facto standard and now appears on your car, your lawn mower, your chain saw, and even in some cases your vacuum cleaner!

What horsepower means is this: In Watt's judgment, one horse can do 33,000 foot-pounds of work every minute. So, imagine a horse raising coal out of a coal mine as shown above. A horse exerting 1 horsepower can raise 330 pounds of coal 100 feet in a minute, or 33 pounds of coal 1,000 feet in one minute, or 1,000 pounds 33 feet in one minute, and so on. You can make up whatever combination of feet and pounds you like. As long as the product is 33,000 foot-pounds in one minute, you have a horsepower.

You can probably imagine that you would not want to load 33,000 pounds of coal in the bucket and ask the horse to move it 1 foot in a minute because the horse couldn't budge that big a load. You can probably also imagine that you would not want to put 1 pound of coal in the bucket and ask the horse to run 33,000 feet in one minute, since that translates into about 375 miles per hour and horses can't run that fast.

Horsepower can be converted into other units as well. For example:

  • 1 horsepower is equivalent to 746 watts. So if you took a 1-horsepower horse and put it on a treadmill, it could operate a generator producing a continuous 746 watts.
  • 1 horsepower over the course of an hour is equivalent to 2,545 BTU (British thermal units). If you took that 746 watts and ran it through an electric heater for an hour, it would produce 2,545 BTU (where a BTU is the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of 1 pound of water 1 degree F).
  • One BTU is equal to 1,055 joules, or 252 gram-calories or 0.252 food Calories. Presumably, a horse producing 1 horsepower would burn 641 Calories in one hour if it were 100-percent efficient.

18. Premium Diesel

The National Conference on Weights and Measures (NCWM) defines what Premium Diesel is and Lubricity is now a characteristic that is considered in determining whether a fuel can be classified as a premium diesel fuel or not. Independent tests show just one percent biodiesel can increase the lubricity of petroleum diesel by up to 65 percent. This is an extremely important development for the biodiesel industry since it makes it official that biodiesel's positive lubricity benefits are truly a premium attribute that both engine companies and users find valuable. Lubricity will become even more valuable when 15 ppm sulfur maximum diesel fuel hits the market some time in 2007 as sulfur is the main provider of Lubricity in current diesel fuel blends.

19. Low Sulfur Diesel

Diesel fuel is derived from light virgin gas oil that is produced from the distillation of crude oil. Low Sulfur Diesel is produced in the refineries with a hydro-desulfurization unit and has a sulfur content of 350 ppm. High levels of sulfur are undesirable as during combustion these are converted into volatile sulfur oxides, which lead to increased engine wear. They also contribute directly to acid rain and form solid sulphates, which add to the particulate matter in the exhaust gas.

20. Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel and TxLed

Ultra low sulfur diesel is produced in much the same way as normal diesel but requires the fuel to go through an extra series of processing steps which are typically accomplished using a two-stage high severity hydro desulphurisation unit. This unit comprises a cobalt-molybdenum catalyst in the first stage and nickel molybdenum catalyst in the second stage. Hydrogenation of diesel over the Co-Mo catalyst removes mostly sulfur associated with aliphatic hydrocarbons. A more active Ni-Mo catalyst facilitates hydrogenation of aromatic sulfur as well as saturation of aromatic hydrocarbons. This results in a higher cetane number and affects the physical properties of the resulting product, changing things like the cloud point and viscosity of the final diesel fuel product.

The sulfur level of petroleum based diesel fuel that is used for on-road purposes is currently limited to 0.05% by weight. This limit was mandated in 1993 as a method to decrease particulate matter emitted from diesel powered vehicles. With the introduction of mandated Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) low-sulfur diesel fuel, fleet operators began to encounter premature wear and/or failure of injector pumps in increasing numbers. Pump manufacturers began recommending the use of lubricity additives to alleviate the damage that the reduced sulfur content of low sulfur diesel was causing to their injection pumps.

Highway Diesel Sulfur Control Requirements (Ultra Low-Sulfur Diesel, ULSD or Clean Diesel)

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Federal Rule Nationwide. This rule specifies that, starting 6/1/06, refiners must begin producing highway diesel fuel that meets a maximum sulfur standard of 15 parts per million (ppm). This program includes a combination of flexibilities available to refiners to ensure a smooth transition to ultra low sulfur highway diesel fuel, including temporary compliance options, hardship provisions and geographic phase-in areas. These provisions will allow refiners to produce a small percentage of highway diesel fuel at existing 500-ppm maximum sulfur content during a transitional period ending 6/09. Highway diesel fuel marketed as complying with the 500-ppm sulfur standard must be segregated from 15-ppm fuel in the distribution system, and may only be used in pre 2007 model year heavy-duty vehicles.

Texas Low Emission Diesel Fuel Rule (TxLED or LED)

Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) State Rule Affects 110 counties in the Eastern half of Texas. This rule requires diesel fuel producers and importers to ensure that diesel fuel distributed to the affected areas for ultimate sale to the consumer meets the following specifications: less than 10% by volume of aromatic hydrocarbons and a cetane number of 48 or greater. TxLED is required for both on road and non road use. The compliance date was recently extended from 4/1/05 to 10/1/05, including a compliance phase in schedule. The new phased in approach will help ensure full compliance with the rule and an adequate fuel supply. Alternative diesel fuel formulations that the producer has demonstrated to the satisfaction of the executive director, through emissions and performance testing, as achieving comparable or better reductions in emissions of oxides of nitrogen, volatile organic compounds, and particulate matter may be used to satisfy the requirements.

21. Diesel Engines vs Gasoline Engines

  • Diesel cars are better than petrol cars with reference to carbon dioxide, the global warming gas.
  • Diesel fuel has 20% more energy that gasoline hence get better miles per gallon of fuel used.
  • Diesel engines operate at a higher compression ration hence are able to operate more efficiently.
  • Diesel cars are better than petrol cars with reference to carbon monoxide, a poison.
  • Diesel cars are better than petrol cars with reference to hydrocarbons which cause cancer. (The benzene factor)
  • Diesel cars are similar to petrol cars with reference to nitrous oxides, which cause smog.
  • Diesel cars are worse than petrol cars with reference to particulates.
  • Diesel engines emit more PM10 particles, that is particles which have a diameter up to 10 microns, but petrol cars actually emit more PM1 particles than diesel ones. These particles are smaller than 1 micron and are invisible. They are also more likely to penetrate deeply into human lungs (as they are smaller) and look less like a natural dust particle, which human lungs have evolved to cope with.

Emissions comparison: If you take a gasoline engine and a diesel engine with equal power side-by-side and measure the emissions coming from the engine, you will find that the gasoline engine will produce much more carbon monoxide and unburned hydrocarbons, the diesel will produce more particulate matter. When the catalytic converter is added to the gasoline engine, it greatly reduces the carbon monoxide, unburned hydrocarbons, and oxides of nitrogen which ensures that the gasoline engine becomes very clean.

Most passenger car emissions come from the first 20 seconds of operation when the catalytic converter is warming up or from older cars that were built before strict emissions controls. Modern gasoline-powered car engines, when they are running properly, are actually very clean. If you are making your decision diesel vs gasoline based only on tailpipe emissions, then the gasoline engine will win.

If this is the case, you might ask why diesels are considered to be "the Green option" in Europe? It is because they are looking at more than tailpipe emissions and ozone. Another major source of emissions from gasoline vehicles is from the evaporation of the gasoline during refueling, from spills, and even while the engine is running.

These emissions do not exist for diesel engines since the fuel is not volatile. VOC's (Volatile Organic Compounds) are one of precursors of ground level ozone that we are blighted with here in the Dallas Ft. Worth area. Since ozone comes from reactions between oxides of nitrogen and unburned hydrocarbons (VOC's), the gasoline vehicle can be a contributor to ozone production even when its tailpipe is clean.

The Europeans believe strongly in diesels because they are much more efficient that gasoline cars and should get 30-50% better mileage with a diesel-powered vehicle than with a gasoline-powered car. The mileage with biodiesel will be slightly less than with diesel because of its lower energy content, but still much better than gasoline. This means that you are emitting less carbon dioxide, contributing less to global warming, and consuming fewer fossil resources. Add to this the fact that the carbon in biodiesel originates from carbon dioxide in the air instead of from petroleum and you have a major environmental advantage.

Most researchers have concluded that when you look at the total environmental impact, that diesels are a better choice than gasoline engines. The emissions from a biodiesel-fueled diesel are less than a diesel fueled with conventional diesel fuel, so biodiesel is the pack leader when it comes to an immediately implement-able ozone reduction solution for the DFW Metroplex.

22. I have heard that there is less power available when using biodiesel

There is less energy in a gallon of Biodiesel than there is in No.2 diesel fuel, 130,000 BTU's for diesel compared to 115,000 BTU's for Biodiesel. Offsetting the energy difference is Biodiesel's elevated Cetane value, which enables the fuel to burn hotter and therefore more completely, which results in a similar power level being converted by the engine. Blending biodiesel with petro based diesel fuel tends to mitigate the effect of the lower calorific value of biodiesel while the user still gains many of the benefits accrued from using biodiesel in a win win blend.

Biodiesel compared to Number 2 Diesel fuel

23. Will using biodiesel impact my engine warranty

  • Manufacturers warrant their products against defects in materials and workmanship.
  • In general use of a particular fuel should have no effect on the materials and workmanship warranty.
  • Use of biodiesel does not “void the warranty”, this is prohibited by the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.
  • Manufacturers are concerned that extensive use of biodiesel will result in increased numbers of warranty claims for what are actually problems caused by the fuel.

Position Statements from various manufacturers

Concerns about fuel quality and stability are what is preventing approval of blending levels above 5% for most manufacturers. While manufacturers do not warrant fuel, many have position statements and recommendations on biodiesel:

YANMAR DIESEL AMERICA CORP - Up to 5% Biodiesel: "Yanmar Diesel America, Corp. encourages the development of renewable compression ignition fuels. Experience to date with Bio-Diesel fuel blends with Mineral Oil derived fuel, up to 5% volume RME or SOME blend, which comply with the existing quality standards, should not give the end users any serious problems. Even if these fuels comply with a suitable standard as delivered, the enhanced care and attention is required to maintain the fuels in equipment, vehicle and or other tanks, may entail a high risk of non-compliance to the standard during use. Yanmar Diesel America, Corp. can accept no legal liability for failure attributable to the operation with fuels for which the products were not designed, and no warranties or representations are made to the possible effects of running these products with such fuels. Non-compliance of the fuels to standards agreed by the engine manufacturers and FIE manufacturers, whether being evident by appearance of the known degradation products of these fuels, or their known effects within the fuel injection equipment and engine, and will render the Yanmar Engine warranty null and void."

24. Operating and Capital cost comparison between various clean air solutions

There are a number of clean air solutions available to the fleet operator today and biodiesel is the most cost effective of those available today. There are typically a number of costs associated with implementing each solution, some of those costs require capital expenditure like CNG which needs special vehicles and fueling infrastructure. In addition to those capital expenditures, there are typically additional operating costs associated with each of these solutions like Liquid Natural Gas which is more expensive per mile than diesel fuel. 

The consultants, Booz, Allen, Hamilton did an analysis in 2002 to compare both the capital costs and incremental operational costs associated with implementing each of the clean air solutions available on the market. The graph below shows a comparison between the various options and shows what proportion of those costs are attributable to capital expenditures (Red) and what are attributable to increased operating costs (Blue) on a typical medium duty truck fleet.

Booz, Allen, Hamilton – 2002

Booz, Allen, Hamilton – 2002

25. What is the typical composition of the diesel exhaust plume?

Typical composition of the diesel exhaust plume

26. What does one Barrel of Crude Oil make?

  • One barrel of crude oil contains 42 gallons.
  • About 46% of each barrel of crude oil is refined into automobile gasoline.
  • In the US and Canada an average of 3 gallons of crude oil are consumed per person each day
  • The US uses 66 billion gallons of diesel and 120 billion gallons of gasoline per year.
  • The amount of fuel consumed in family vehicles in the United States each year is enough to cover a regulation-size football field to a depth of approximately 40 miles.
  • The 186 Billion gallons of fuel we use every year in the US is equal to an area of 1,545 square miles, 3 inches deep. This means that we flood the equivalent of Rhode Island's entire 1,545 square miles with petroleum 3" deep and set the whole state on on fire every year. This has got to have a major impact on our environment.


Refined Gallons/Barrel



Distillate Fuel Oil (Inc. Home Heating and Diesel Fuel)


Kerosene Type Jet Fuel


Residual Fuel Oil


Petroleum Coke


Liquefied Refinery Gases


Still Gas


Asphalt and Road Oil


Petrochemical Feed Supplies








Aviation Fuel


Other Products


Processing Gain


27. Commodity Prices


Grains Prices

Compelling Content for Websites & Investors Free E-mail Newsletters




Barley - WCE



Corn/Maize (cbot) 1st Ex (¢/b)



Flax seed - WCE






Oats, Chicago Board of Trade



Rape seed - WCE



Rapeseed EUR/MT



Rice Rough, CBOT



Rice Rough, CBOT(night)



Soy Meal (cbot) 1st Ex $/ton



Soy Meal,$/ton-CBOT



Soy Oil (cbot) 1st Exp ¢/lb



Soybean Oil, Night Session



Soybeans (cbot night) ¢/b



Soybeans (cbot) 1st Ex ¢/b



Wheat - WCE This marker indicates the current chart.



Wheat (cbot) ¢/b



Wheat (CBOTn)



Wheat (liffe) £/Tonne



Wheat, Spring-MGE



Winter Wheat, KCBT



This marker indicates the current chart. Use links on left to view charts. Click to enlarge.

Click to Enlarge

Week  Month  Year  3 Years

source: DTN Market Access

© theFinancials.com


28. What is Homebrew Biodiesel?   

The homebrew biodiesel recipe as we know it in the USA was devised by Dr Thomas Reed at Colorado School of Mines around 1989. He introduced his "MCDIESEL" to a guy by the name of Agua Das who got enthused about the political implications of do-it-yourself, community controlled fuel.

Agua Das knew of an independent filmmaker Nicole Cusino and told her and her team about this technology. In 1994 the women filmmakers took a trip across the country in a GMC diesel van, making biodiesel along the way and created a documentary film about the process. This cross country trip raised questions about energy, about the mainstream future and sustainability of biodiesel and visited various biodiesel pioneers.

The result is the film Fat of the Land www.lardcar.com which is really quite a must-see for anyone interested in the subject and features some early experimenters in the film. The film interviews Agua Das and Dr Reed, hinting at things like biodiesel co-ops and local, community scale, distributed production, things that are starting to materialize as part of the biodiesel movement 10 years later. Order the film and /or contact Nicole Cousino, the filmmaker at: sewerlab@yahoo.com

29. Lubricity, how does Biodiesel help? 

Testing at labs such as Southwest Research Institute, Standyne Automotive and Engineering Testing Services have demonstrated that biodiesel provides significant lubricity improvement over petroleum diesel fuel. Lubricity results of biodiesel and petroleum diesel using the High Frequency Reciprocating Rig test indicate that there is a marked improvement in lubricity when biodiesel is added to conventional diesel fuel, even at blend levels below 1%.

Biodiesel is going to become even more important in the nations fuel mix as the US moves towards using Ultra Low Sulfur diesel fuel. In France, biodiesel in small amounts is mandated in every gallon of diesel fuel sold and helps that country use Ultra Low Sulfur diesel through out its fueling infrastructure.  

0.5wt% biodiesel can increase SLBOCLE by roughly 1000 g or reduce HFRR 200 micron, thus even low volume biodiesel blends may help to reduce engine wear

30. Biodiesel Fuel Storage

Diesel fuel contamination problems have two different areas to consider, biology and chemistry. On the biology side are "Fuel Bugs" and on the chemistry side are "Asphaltenes".

"Asphaltenes" more commonly seen as diesel sludge is the most common chemical problem and the most misdiagnosed problem in diesel fuel. Asphaltenes are brown and slimy and resemble algae, but no aglge grows in petrolium based diese fuel. The natural chemical process that goes on in diesel fuel as it ages creates Asphaltenes. The asphaltene molecules will tend to precipitate out of the fuel over time and settle on the bottom of the tank. Once picked up by the fuel pump filters clog and engines stop.

"Fuel Bugs" or bacteria and fungus, primarily Cyanobacteria, in diesel fuel are the other problem but less prominent that Asphaltenes. There are over 100 types of Fuel Bugs that can live in diesel fuel. Fuel Bugs feed on the oil in the fuel and use the water in the fuel for their oxygen supply. They grow in your fuel at different rates and can easily cost thousands of dollars in damage to each contaminated vehicle, some bugs can replicate in as little as 4 hours.

The life expectancy of stored diesel fuel is limited. Depending on the amount of contaminates, sooner or later stored diesel fuel will deteriorate. Of the many contributing causes there are three main factors responsible for the deterioration of stored diesel oil/fuel. These factors include: oxidation, microorganism growth and corrosion.

In the case of oxidation, oxygen reacts with the hydrocarbon molecules in the fuel. Oxidation causes discoloration, formation of particulate, water and gum. Oxygen is introduced to stored diesel fuel through tank ventilation, refueling and can even be entrapped during the refining process.

In the case of microorganism growth, bacteria and fungi will gather at the fuel water interface in the storage tank. They consume the diesel fuel and produce acid and water as a bi-product. Again, air is a contributing source for these contaminates. Emulsified water in the diesel fuel will accelerate this process.

Corrosion is caused by microbial growth, water and voltage potential through storage tank walls. Corrosion destroys storage tank walls and releases metals back into the stored fuel. This action will accelerate the oxidation reaction.

Conducted studies have confirmed the effects of some of the factors discussed above. University of Idaho scientists have conducted tests to determine the timeline and percentage of degradation of stored diesel fuel #2. The results of this testing was that the petroleum diesel fuel #2 degraded 26% after 28 days of storage.

Nitrogen compounds will effect the storage stability of hydrocarbon fuels in a variety of ways depending on the type and concentration of the nitrogen compound, the chemical make up of the fuel, presence of other trace materials and storage conditions. Studies conducted by Frankenfeld et.al. under accelerated storage conditions have proved that sediments are formed. The formation of these sediments are even more in the presence of water and dissolved oxygen.