Biodiesel WWW Encyclopedia


All the Answers. All the Links


From the Plant Oils Section of Castor Oil .in




Plant Oils – WWW Resources for Plant Oils & Plant Extracts – from Castor Oil .in


Castor Oil Resource


Comprehensive resources for castor crop, castor oil and castor oil derivatives (also CO Dict)

Plant Oils Home


The main page for the Plant Oils section

Plant Oil Uses


WWW resources for various uses of plant oils

Plant Oil Use as Edible Oils


Edible oil resources

Plant Oils Use in Cosmetics & Toiletry


Plant oil uses in cosmetics, fragrances, toiletries

Plant Oils in Drugs & Pharmaceuticals


Plant oil uses in medicine, drugs and in pharma industry


Plant Oils as Bio-fuels


Plant oil uses as bio-fuels and bio-diesel

Plant Oils – Research & Future


Studies and research on uses and future trends in plant oils

Non-oil Plant Derivatives


Gunms, gels, extracts, polymers, acids, waxes, dyes and enzymes

A-Z of Plant Oils


WWW resources for over 200 plant oils

Other Sites from eSource


BDPedia – Biodiesel Encyclopedia, eIT, eBPO, Tex, ideOS, eChem, AntiSE, GeoDig, SerKai, Billion Dollar Questions, Dumb List




The Biodiesel WWW Encyclopedia provides comprehensive info & WWW resources for bio-diesel. It provides inputs and info on various aspects of biodiesel, and over a thousand relevant web links on biodiesel related topics. It is intended to be a one-stop biodiesel resource, both for information and for WWW links, and is expected to be of use to beginners and experts alike.


While many of you might have only read about biodiesel in passing, it is important to realize that all of us should be more concerned about biodiesel and related renewable, bio-energy sources, as these will affect us a lot more than it appears at first glance. The world is facing an energy crisis (Oh well, when hasn’t it been!). Of specific significance is threat posed by the volatile and diminishing nature of fossil fuels (Fossil Fuel – from University of Michigan), especially petro-products such as gasoline and diesel.


The 1970s energy crises (The 1973 Oil Crisis – Wikipedia), and the recent upheavals in the oil market leading to record oil prices, have again turned the world attention to alternative sources of energy. A number of them are being researched – nuclear energy (FAQ on Nuclear Energy, Nuclear Energy – from the Energy Story, Nuclear Energy - from Wikipedia), fuel cells (How Fuel Cells Work – from How Stuff Works, Fuel Cell Today, Fuel Cell Vehicles – from Fuel, hydrogen energy (Hydrogen Energy Center, Hydrogen Energy Resources – from US Dept of Energy), wind energy (Wind Energy – from the Energy Story, Wind Energy Resources – from US Dept of Energy), solar (Solar Energy Resources from US Govt Dept of Energy, International Solar Energy Society) and bio-energy (Bioenergy Information Network, Govt of USA). Use of nuclear energy and hydrogen energy for civilian purposes are in very nascent stages. Fuel cells are more promising, but they are yet to be put in commercial practice. Wind energy and solar energy already find use in a good number of applications though they have their own limitations.


The bio-energy alternative, while it has its limitations as well, is exciting because it provides us with easily available fuel that can fit into today’s gasoline and diesel engines with minimal or no changes to existing systems.


Of the bio-energy alternatives, one exciting trend is biodiesel – the manufacture and use of diesel-like substitute from plant and animal fats. The Biodiesel WWW Encyclopedia section is about everything Biodiesel.


For the common you and me, biodiesel should be of more than a passing interest. As a wise man put it succinctly, the whole world today runs on two things: money (in the unlikely scenario that you do not know much about money - Money – from Wikipedia) and oil, and not necessarily in that order. Money, at least theoretically, is inexhaustible – if your country runs out of cash, well, the central bank (Central Bank - from Wikipedia) can print more of it, even if it raises a few eyebrows at the IMF (IMF Homepage). But not oil, sir. Oil from fossil fuel is running out and is non-renewable (Non-renewable Energy Definition).


So, it is not a question of if? It is not even a question of when – estimates that suggest that we will run out of oil in the next about 100 years – if not earlier.


Hence, the time to start thinking about alternate energy forms is now. Else, it will be too late.


Objective of the Biodiesel WWW Encyclopedia


The objective is to provide resources and links in an objective manner such that one is able to get information on all aspects of bio-diesel. While it is indeed true that bio-diesel has many virtues, it is still in its initial phase of application, and there are many aspects to be considered before complete endorsement can be provided for these fuels. This section attempts to provide resources so that a researcher is able to find content that can give her/him good understanding of all the relevant aspects, and about ongoing research and explorations in many areas of this exciting field.


The Biodiesel WWW Encyclopedia tries to achieve its objective by providing:


1.      Brief but hopefully useful content and information on a number of aspects of biodiesel

2.      An extensive number of related web resources and links


Through this two-pronged approach, it is hoped that the user will be able to (a) get an analytical insight of the various aspects in the biodiesel framework, and (b) easily access the best of the content available on the web for all these aspects.


Why is it called the WWW Encyclopedia?


It is named the Biodiesel WWW Encyclopedia and not the Biodiesel Encyclopedia for the reason that it is comprehensive both in terms of original content as well as in the provision of WWW links. The WWW Encyclopedia currently contains over 1,500 web links related to biodiesel, and is one of the largest web links directory for biodiesel.



The Biodiesel WWW Encylcopedia will be of use to the following audience


1.      A beginner wishing to know the basics of biodiesel

2.      An industry professional looking for web resources for specific aspects of biodiesel

3.      Those wanting to know how to produce biodiesel

4.      Those looking for resources for research and future trends in biodiesel

5.   Those looking for inputs on the various plant oils that can be used as feedstock for biodiesel

6.      Those wanting to know the usage of biodiesel in their respective geographies.


Comprising over twenty sections, The Biodiesel WWW Encyclopedia provides information and resources for over two hundred different aspects of biodiesel.


We hope you find this to be of use.


Add Links: If you are a web site owner wishing to give a link to the Biodiesel WWW Encyclopedia, please go ahead, it will be our pleasure to be of help to your site’s visitors. If you have a web site that you wish to include in this database, do let us know the details by sending a note about your URL to [email protected]. We’ll quickly review the web site, and if found relevant, add it to the database. Thanks!


Ask Us: Please send us any questions you have on biodiesel, and we will try our best to answer them and provide relevant web resources for the same. You may kindly send your questions to [email protected] . You may also send us your suggestions and feedback to the same email address. We look forward to hearing from you.


Using Content from the Encyclopedia: Anyone is free to use the content from The Biodiesel WWW Encyclopedia on or off the web. You may use any amount of content from the Encyclopedia at absolutely no cost and with no conditions. We would be grateful if you could acknowledge the source and if the content is used online, also provide a link back to The Biodiesel WWW Encyclopedia. This is only a request!


See also: – Biodiesel from Algae



Sections @ the Biodiesel WWW Encyclopedia


1.      What is a Biofuel?

Biofuel definition, basics


2.      What is Biodiesel?

Biodiesel definition, composition,  & bio-diesel chemistry


3.      History of Biodiesel?

Where did it start, how did it happen…


4.      Advantages of Biofuel & Biodiesel

Biodegradability, non-toxicity, fewer emissions, renewability 


5.      Characteristics of Efficient Biodiesel

Definition of calorific value, cloud point, flash point, melt point, flash point, iodine value, viscosity, cetane number…


6.      What is Diesel?

Links, differences between diesel & gasoline 


7.      All about Diesel Engines

      Links, differences between gasoline & diesel engines


8.      Biofuels & Gasoline Engines – Bio-gasoline?

Inputs on biofuels in the context of gasoline engines, biogasoline …


9.      How is Biodiesel Produced from Plant Oils?

About transesterification, dilution, microemulsion, thermal decomposition, catalytic cracking…


10.      Plant Oils Used for Biodiesel

Plant oils discussed: Rapeseed, palm oil, castor oil, sunflower, safflower, hemp, mustard, soybean, jatropha, algae, radish, artichoke, canola oil, corn oil, rice bran oil, peanut oil, cottonseed oil, coconut oil, tung oil, milk bush, karanj


11.  Ethanol as Fuel

Ethanol links, Ethanol & Biodiesel – compare & contrast


12.  The Economics & Sustainability of Biodiesel

Links for biodiesel economics, cost-benefits and sustainability


13. The Alternate View – Problems with & Disadvantages of Biodiesel


14.  Biodiesel Case Studies

Biodiesel in various countries: North America (USA, Canada, Mexico), Europe (UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain…), South America (Brazil, Argentina, Chile…), Asia (India, China, Japan…), Australia


15.  Biodiesel Forums & Blogs

Links to biodiesel forums, discussion groups and bio-diesel blogs


16.  Biodiesel – Research & Future Trends

Research links for biodiesel technology, bio-diesel production & applications


17.  Biodiesel Links & Directory Pages

Links to web sites that in turn provide links and directories for various aspects of biodiesel


18.  Biodiesel Articles & Opinions

News articles, editorials and op-eds on biodiesel and biofuels


19.  Biodiesel – Questions & More Questions

Answers & links to questions such as: How long would petrol last? What are the key disadvantages of bio-diesel?...and more


20. Biodiesel Breakthroughs


21.  More Biodiesel Web Links

Biodiesel Links A-Z


22.  Biodiesel Data & Stats

Oilseed yields, diesel fuel standards, viscosity data…


23.  Biofuel Reference

Classes of biofiels, energy content for biofuels…


24.  Fossil Fuel Energy – Limitations & Crises

Peak oil & more…






Section 1. What is a biofuel?




Did you know? Biofuels could be either from plants or animals!




Biofuel is any fuel that derives from biomass — recently living organisms or their metabolic byproducts. Thus it could be oils from plants, manure from cows, wood from trees and so on. It is a renewable energy source (NREL, Renewable, unlike other natural resources such as petroleum, coal and nuclear fuels. (see: Biomass Energy Home Page, Dept of Energy, Govt of USA, Biomass Research Home Page - NREL, Bio-mass Introduction from TERI, India, Biomass Energy – The Energy Story, Govt of Canada, Biomass - from Wikipedia)


History of Biofuels


Agricultural products specifically grown for use as biofuels include corn and soybeans, primarily in the United States, and flaxseed and rapeseed, primarily in Europe. Waste from industry, agriculture, forestry, and households can also be used to produce bioenergy; examples include straw, lumber, manure, sewage, garbage and food leftovers. Most biofuel is burned to release its stored chemical energy (Is it Easy to Store Energy?), though research is active into more efficient methods of converting biofuels and other fuels into electricity (see Biomass 101 – Apollo Alliance) utilizing fuel cells (see: Fuel Cells .org, How Fuel Cells Work – from How Stuff Works).


The production of biofuels to replace petroleum-based oil and natural gas is in active development. The carbon in biofuels was recently extracted from atmospheric carbon dioxide by growing plants, so burning it does not result in a net increase of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere (see: Atmospheric Carbon-dioxide). As a result, biofuels are seen by many as a way to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by using them to replace non-renewable sources of energy.


To summarise, biofuels are fuels derived from plants and animals. Let’s call the plant-based biofuels as botafuels and the animal-based ones as zoofuels.




Biofuels from plants could be derived from plant oils, leaves, wood and twigs, and related plant extracts.


see also: Liquid Fuels from Plants – IISc India (PDF), Plant Oils Give Petroleum a Run for their Money - CNN, Plant & Crop Based Renewable Fuels – 2020 – Dept of Energy, Govt of USA (PDF), Agriculture-based Renewable Energy Production – CRS Report for Congress (PDF)




Biofuels from animals could be from animal fats/lipids, and from the animal waste.


see also: Ethanol from Animal Waste – Mail Archive, San Francisco to Turn Dog Poop into Biofuel – National Geographic, Use of Farm Animal Manure as Biofuel – ORNL Abstract (PDF)



More Biofuel Links


Biofuel Guides


·       Bio-fuels Made Easy – from Luigi Life Science (PDF)

Fuel from the Fields – Australian Agronomy Conference


Unique Bio-fuels

·       Using Milk Waste as Biofuel – Talk Energy

·        Cassava as Biofuel

·        Bio-battery Runs on Shots of Vodka




Fun Facts - There are plans to turn dog poop into Biofuel! (see here). A prison in Rwanda gets half its fuel from human waste! ( see here)






Go Top! - to the Biodiesel WWW Encyclopedia Index & Contents





Section 2. What is bio-diesel?


Biodiesel refers to any diesel-equivalent biofuel made from renewable biological materials such as vegetable oils (Vegetable Oil from Wikipedia) or animal fats (Animal Fats fro Wikipedia). While there are numerous interpretations being applied to the term biodiesel, the term biodiesel usually refers to an ester, or an oxygenate, made from the oil and methanol (in other words, the name ‘‘biodiesel’’ can be applied to any transesterified vegetable oil that makes it suitable for use as a diesel fuel).

(See The Biodiesel Basics from Biodiesel America for a nice introduction on this topic, What is Biodiesel?)


Technically, as mentioned earlier, biodiesel is vegetable oil methyl ester (Esters & Fatty Acid Methyl Esters – from Wikipedia), or in general one could say that biodiesel consists what are called mono alkyl-esters (Alkyl Esters – Specs & Specification Charts – from Rohm Hass). It is usually produced by a transesterification and esterification (Esters & Esterification – from Aus-Tute) reaction of vegetable or waste oil respectively with a low molecular weight alcohol, such as ethanol (Ethanol from Journey to Forever) and methanol (Methanol – from UCC, Ireland). During this process, the triglyceride (Triglyceride – from Wikipedia) molecule from vegetable oil is removed in the form of glycerin (soap). Once the glycerin is removed from the oil, the remaining molecules are, to a diesel engine, somewhat similar to those of petroleum diesel fuel. There are some notable differences though. While the petroleum and other fossil fuels contain sulfur, ring molecules & aromatics (Aromatics Online), the biodiesel molecules are very simple hydrocarbon chains, containing no sulfur, ring molecules or aromatics. Biodiesel is thus essentially free of sulfur and aromatics. Biodiesel is made up of almost 10% oxygen, making it a naturally "oxygenated" fuel.




Did you know? Technically, biodiesel is a mono-alkyl ester




The concept of using vegetable oil as a fuel dates back to 1895 when Dr. Rudolf Diesel (Rudolf Diesel – from Hemp Car) developed the first diesel engine to run on vegetable oil. Diesel demonstrated his engine at the World Exhibition in Paris in 1900 using peanut oil as fuel.


Bio-diesel can be used in diesel engines either as a standalone or blended with petro diesel. Much of the world uses a system known as the "B" factor to state the amount of biodiesel in any fuel mix. For example, fuel containing 20 % biodiesel is labeled B20. Pure biodiesel is referred to as B100.




Similar to biofuels, biodiesel can be derived from the triglycerides (fats) of either plants or animals, though a very large percetange of biodiesel is today derived from plant oils. Let’s call the plant-based bio-diesel as botadiesel, and the animal-based biodiesel as zoodiesel.




As mentioned earlier, plant oils form the feedstock for a very large percentage of the biodiesel in use today. While the most popular plant oils in this regard are from sunflower, soybeans, jatropha, corn, canola, safflower & rapeseed oil, experiments are going on for many more plants to check if their oils could be suitable candidates for biodiesel. More information on the various plant oils that can be used for biodiesel are given in a later section.




Biodiesel from animal fat is much less prevalent than biodiesel from the plant counterparts, but a good amount of research is going on in this area. A few studies suggest that biodiesel from animal fats could cost significantly less (about 20%) than that from plant oils because animal fat is cheaper than fats from plant oils. Some links on the use of animal fat as biodiesel:


·         KMB Tests Biodiesel from Pork Fat – Joruney to Forever

·         Biodiesel Produced from Animal Fat in Styria (PDF)

·         Any Downside to Using Animal Fat for Biodiesel? – Biodiesel Now Forums

·         Animal Fats Perform Well in Biodiesel – Render Magazine (PDF)

·         Safety of Animal Fats for Biodiesel Production – Critical Review of Literature (PDF)

Turkey Guts & Waste into Oil



biodiesel from thermal depolymerization of particular wastes (wastes from the meat processing industry, old tires, landfill biomass, etc.).


Other Candidates for Biodiesel


·         Bio-Dimethyl Ether (Bio-DME): is promising fuel for diesel engines due to its combustion and emission properties and could become of great interest for very low GHG vehicles. It is similar to LPG (a mixture of propane and butane) in terms of physical characteristics and can be used as substitute for LPG or as oxygenated addictive in gasoline, as a blending component of diesel fuel in which it is easily soluble, or as diesel-fuel substitution for modified diesel engines. At present DME is produced from pure methanol by an acid catalyst.


·         To round off this section, a summary of the various entities that can be considered for blending with petro-diesel in diesel engines, or used alone ( as in pure biodiesel - B100):

·         Biodiesel: a methyl-ester produced from vegetable or animal oil, of diesel quality. This is what this page is all about.

·         Biodimethylether: dimethylether produced from biomass

·         Fischer Tropsh: Fischer Tropsh produced from biomass

·         Cold pressed bio-oil: oil produced from oil seed through mechanical processing only




Fun Facts – In the earliest days, alkyl esters (what we call biodiesel) were derived from plant oils more as a by-product. The main product was glycerine.






Go Top! - to the Biodiesel WWW Encyclopedia Index & Contents





Section 3. Biodiesel History


Contrary to what you might feel, biodiesel is not new. The process of transesterification of vegetable oil has been in vogue for over a hundred years, though the process was mainly used to derive glycerin from vegetable oils. The by-products of such a process were methyl esters, the biodiesel of today!


Even in terms of usage, biodiesel is hardly new. Rudolf Diesel used peanut oil in his original compression-ignition engine in 1898! In fact, the general feeling in the early 20th century was that vegetable fuels (biodiesel) will be the primary fuel for diesel engines, and were used until the 1920s, when petro-diesel made its entry.


Now that we have just begun to run out of petro-fuels, the vegetable based fuels, especially biodiesel, are again coming into currency. History does repeat, doesn’t it?


Links on Biodiesel History





Fun Facts – A question to you - What was diesel fuel called before Rudolf Diesel? Now, this will need some research before you can come up with an answer!






Go Top! - to the Biodiesel WWW Encyclopedia Index & Contents





Section 4. Advantages of Biofuels & Biodiesel


Primary Advantages & Benefits


·         Biodiesels are biodegradable (What is Biodegradability? – from Ecomall)

·         They are non-toxic (Toxicity, Bioddegradabilty & Environmental Benefirs of Biodiesel - PDF)

·         They have significantly fewer noxious emissions than petroleum-based diesel, when burned (Biodiesel Emissions Data - PDF)

·         They are renewable

·         With a much higher flash point (Flash Point – from Univ of Arizona) than it is for petro-diesel (biodiesels have a flash point of about 160 °C), biodiesel is classified as a non-flammable liquid by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. This property makes a vehicle fueled by pure biodiesel far safer in an accident than one powered by petroleum diesel or the explosively combustible gasoline.




Did you know? Biofuels have higher flash points, hence are less flammable than petro-diesel




More Biodiesel Facts & Advantages


·         Biodiesel is the only alternative fuel that runs in any conventional, unmodified diesel engine. (How Diesel Engines Work – from How Stuff Works)

·         Biodiesel can be used alone or mixed in any ratio with petroleum diesel fuel. The most common blend however is a mix of 20% biodiesel with 80% petroleum diesel, or "B20."

·         Biodiesel is about 10% oxygen by weight and contains no sulfur. The lifecycle production and use of biodiesel produces approximately 80% less carbon dioxide emissions, and almost 100% less sulfur dioxide.

·         Combustion of biodiesel alone provides over 90% reduction in total unburned hydrocarbons, and a 75-90% reduction in aromatic hydrocarbons. When burned in a diesel engine, biodiesel replaces the exhaust odor of petroleum diesel with the pleasant smell of popcorn or french fries. Biodiesel further provides significant reductions in particulates and carbon monoxide than petroleum diesel fuel. Thus, biodiesel provides a 90% reduction in cancer risks. In sum, the use of biodiesel will also reduce the following emissions:

-         carbon monoxide (Carbon Monoxide Emissions – from Carbon Monoxide Kills)

-         ozone-forming-hydrocarbons

-         hazardous diesel particulates of solid combustion products

-         acid rain-causing sulfur dioxide (Info about Acid Rain, from EPA)

-         lifecycle carbon dioxide

·         The use of biodiesel can extend the life of diesel engines because it is more lubricating than petroleum diesel fuel (Biodiesel Lubricity – from University of Idaho – PDF), while fuel consumption, auto ignition, power output, and engine torque are relatively unaffected by biodiesel.

·         Biodiesel is safe to handle and transport because it is as biodegradable as sugar, 10 times less toxic than table salt, and has a high flashpoint of about 300 F compared to petroleum diesel fuel, which has a flash point of 125 F. (Biodiesel Chemical Safety Data – Oxford Univ)

·         Biodiesel has almost the same MPG rating as petrodiesel

·         Biodiesel readily blends and stays blended with petrodiesel.

·         Biodiesel has a very high flash point (300°F) making it one of the safest of all alternative fuels, from a combustibility point. (Biodiesel Flash Point – from Biodiesel Now Forums)

·         Biodiesel boasts of a zero total emissions production facility

·         Neat vegetable oils pose some problems when subjected to prolonged usage in CI engine. These problems are attributed to high viscosity, low volatility and polyunsaturated character of the neat vegetable oils, and can be reduced significantly by subjecting the vegetable oils to the process of transesterification.


Useful Links: Biodiesel Factsheet




Fun Facts – Instead of the nauseating and unhealthy smell of petrodiesel emissions, the sweet-smelling emissions from biodiesel will more likely resemble the smell of French fries!






Go Top! - to the Biodiesel WWW Encyclopedia Index & Contents





Section 5. Characteristics of Efficient Bio-fuels and Bio-diesels




Did you know? Biodiesel is much less flammable than petro-diesel, owing to its much higher flash point.




Biodiesel is noteworthy for its similarity to petroleum-derived diesel fuel, while at the same time having negligible sulfur and ash content. Bioethanol (Bioethanol from Vogelbusch) has only about 70% the heating value of petroleum distillates such as gasoline, but its sulfur and ash contents are also very low. Both of these liquid fuels have lower vapor pressure (Vapor Pressure from Wikipedia) and flammability (Flammability – from Wikipedia) than their petroleum-based competitors – an advantage in some cases (e.g. use in confined spaces such as mines) but a disadvantage in others (e.g. engine starting at cold temperatures).


Despite their wide range of possible sources, biomass feedstocks (What is a Feedstock?) are remarkably uniform in many of their fuel properties, compared with feedstocks such as coal or petroleum. For example, there are many kinds of coals whose gross heating value (Heating Value Definition – from ) ranges from 20 to 30 GJ/T (giga joules per metric tonne). However, nearly all kinds of biomass feedstocks destined for combustion fall in the range 15-19 GJ/T. For most agricultural residues, the heating values are even more uniform – about 15-17 GJ/tonne (6450-7300 Btu/lb); the values for most woody materials are 18-19 GJ/tonne (7750-8200 Btu/lb).


However, in contrast to their fairly uniform physical properties, biomass fuels are rather heterogeneous with respect to their chemical elemental composition.


Most biomass materials are more reactive than coal, with higher ignition stability. This characteristic also makes them easier to process thermochemically into higher-value fuels such as methanol (Methanol as Fuel – from Ethanol GEC) or hydrogen (Hydrogen Fuel – Clean & Secure Energy – White House).



Characteristics of Oils or Fats Affecting their Suitability for Use as Biodiesel


Calorific Value, Heat of Combustion – Heating Value or Heat of Combustion, is the amount of heating energy released by the combustion of a unit value of fuels.


One of the most important determinants of heating value is moisture content. Air-dried biomass typically has about 15-20% moisture, whereas the moisture content for oven-dried biomass is negligible. Moisture content in coals vary in the range 2-30%. However, the bulk density (and hence energy density) of most biomass feedstocks is generally low, even after densification – between about 10 and 40% of the bulk density of most fossil fuels. Liquid biofuels however have bulk densities comparable to those for fossil fuels.


Melt Point or Pour Point - Melt or pour point refers to the temperature at which the oil in solid form starts to melt or pour. In cases where the temperatures fall below the melt point, the entire fuel system including all fuel lines and fuel tank will need to be heated.


Cloud Point - The temperature at which an oil starts to solidify is known as the cloud point. While operating an engine at temperatures below an oil’s cloud point, heating will be necessary in order to avoid waxing of the fuel. (Cloud Point Definition – from Engineers Edge)


Flash Point (FP) - The flash point temperature of diesel fuel is the minimum temperature at which the fuel will ignite (flash) on application of an ignition source. Flash point varies inversely with the fuel’s volatility. Minimum flash point temperatures are required for proper safety and handling of diesel fuel. (Flash Point – from the MSDS Hyper Glossary, Flash Point – from Wikipedia)



Iodine Value (IV) - Iodine Value (IV) is a value of the amount of iodine, measured in grams, absorbed by 100 grams of a given oil.


Iodine value (or Iodine number) is commonly used as a measure of the chemical stability properties of different biodiesel fuels against such oxidation as described above. The Iodine value is determined by measuring the number of double bonds in the mixture of fatty acid chains in the fuel by introducing iodine into 100 grams of the sample under test and measuring how many grams of that iodine are absorbed. Iodine absorption occurs at double bond positions - thus a higher IV number indicates a higher quantity of double bonds in the sample, greater potential to polymerise and hence lesser stability.


Iodine Numbers for some plant oils (before conversion into biodiesel):


·         Coconut oil: 10

·         Rapeseed oil: 94-120

·         Soybean oil: 117-143

·         Sardine oil: 185


Iodine Numbers after conversion to biodiesel through transesterification (approximate values):


·         Rapeseed Methyl Ester (Rapeseed Biodiesel): 97

·         Rapeseed Ethyl Ester (Another variety of Rapeseed biodiesel): 100

·         Soy Ethyl Ester (Soy biodiesel variety 1): 123

·         Soy Methyl Ester (Soy biodiesel variety 2): 133


One can hence see that the process of transesterification (conversion of plant oil int6o biodiesel) reduces the iodine value to a small extent.



Viscosity – Viscosity refers to the thickness of the oil, and is determined by measuring the amount of time taken for a given measure of oil to pass through an orifice of a specified size. Viscosity affects injector lubrication and fuel atomization. Fuels with low viscosity may not provide sufficient lubrication for the precision fit of fuel injection pumps, resulting in leakage or increased wear. Fuel atomization (Atomization – from Wikipedia) is also affected by fuel viscosity. Diesel fuels with high viscosity tend to form larger droplets on injection which can cause poor combustion, increased exhaust smoke and emissions.


Aniline Point/Cetane Number (CN) - Is a relative measure of the interval between the beginning of injection and autoignition of the fuel.  The higher the cetane number, the shorter the delay interval and the greater its combustibility.  Fuels with low Cetane Numbers will result in difficult starting, noise and exhaust smoke. In general, diesel engines will operate better on fuels with Cetane Numbers above 50.


Cetane tests provide information on the ignition quality of a diesel fuel. Research using cetane tests will provide information on potential tailoring of vegetable oil-derived compounds and additives to enhance their fuel properties. (References – Cetane Number Testing of Bio-diesel – from (PDF), Cetane Number – from, How Does Cetane Number Affect Diesel Engine Operation? ).


Density – Is the weight per unit volume.  Oils that are denser contain more energy.  For example, petrol and diesel fuels give comparable energy by weight, but diesel is denser and hence gives more energy per litre. (Fuel Density)


The aspects listed above are the key aspects that determine the efficiency of a fuel for diesel engines. There are other aspects/characteristics which do not have a direct bearing on the performance, but are important for reasons such as environmental impact etc. These are:


Ash Percentage - Ash is a measure of the amount of metals contained in the fuel. High concentrations of these materials can cause injector tip plugging, combustion deposits and injection system wear. The ash content is important for the heating value, as heating value decreases with increasing ash content.


Ash content for bio-fuels is typically lower than for most coals, and sulphur content is much lower than for many fossil fuels. Unlike coal ash, which may contain toxic metals and other trace contaminants, biomass ash may be used as a soil amendment to help replenish nutrients removed by harvest.


Sulfur Percentage - The percentage by weight, of sulfur in the fuel Sulfur content is limited by law to very small percentages for diesel fuel used in on-road applications. (Ultra-low Sulfur Diesel - PDF)


Potassium Percentage - The percentage by weight, of potassium in the fuel


Engine Manufactures Association (EMA) Recommended Guideline on Diesel Fuel







#1 DF(1)



#2 DF(1)

Flash Point, °C min.

D 93



Water, ppm max




Sediment, ppm max

D2276 or D5452



Distillation % Vol. Recovery, °C

D 86



90%, max.




95%, max.




Kinematic Viscosity, 40 °C

D 445

1.3 - 2.4

1.9 - 4.1

Ash, % max.

D 482



Sulfur, % max.

D 2622



Copper Corrosion, max.

D 130



Cetane Number, min.

D 613



Cetane Index, min.

D 4737



Rams Carbon, 10% residue max.

D 524



API Gravity, max.

D 287



Lubricity, g. min.




Accelerated Stability, mg/L max.

D 2274



Detergency - L10 Injector

CRC Rating



Depositing Test

% Flow Loss



Low Temperature Flow, °C

D2500 or D4539



Microbial Growth





Source: Engine Manufacturers Association 



More Links on Biodiesel Properties


·         Chemical Properties of Biodiesel, Iowa State University

·         Biodiesel Analysis from Chancellor College

·         New Feedstocks for Biodiesel Production – Analysis of its Physico-Chemicals Properties (PDF)

·         Stability of Biodiesel and Its Iodine Value – Brevard Biodiesel

·         Physical & Chemical Characteristics of Biodiesel Blends – from (PDF)

·         Biodiesel Recipe – from Wikipedia

·         Chemistry of Biofuel – fom

·         Fuel Chemistry

·         Biodiesel Overview & Characteristics from University of North Dakota

·         The Kinematic Viscosity of Biodiesel & Its Blends with Diesel Fuel (PDF)

·         Contamination or Dilution of Lubricating Oils in Biodiesel Powered Vehicles

·         Technical Performance of Vegetable Oil Methyl Esters with High Iodine Number (PDF)

·         Biodiesel Energy Content – form (PDF)

·         Effect of Biodiesel Composition on NOx & PM Emissions (PDF)

·         Biodiesel Cold Flow Guidelines – Greencar Congress

·         Understanding Biofuel Fuel Quality & Performances (PDF)

·         Biodiesel FAQ – from Govt of Maryland – Provides Comparison of Biodiesel and Petro Diesel Characteristics

·         Lubricity of Biofuel ( see homepage: )

·         Biodiesel Specs & Requirements Listing, Office of the Federal Environmental Executive, Govt of USA (PDF)

·         Biodiesel Flash Point Forum from Biodiesel Now

·         Environmental & Safety Info for Biodiesel – from ABG Biodiesel (PDF)

·         Understanding Biodiesel Fuel Quality & Performance (PDF)

·         Flash Point Testing – the Definitive Test Method

·         Biodiesel Fuels Between Acceptance & Quality (PDF)

·         Cetane Number Testing of Biodiesel (PDF)

·         Cetane in Diesel Fuel – from Global Finest

·         Measuring Cetane Number – Options for Diesel & Alternative Diesel Fuels (PDF)

·         Bubblewashing Biodiesel & Emulsions – Especially for Homebrew Bioediesel

·         Process for Producing Biodiesel Fuel with Reduced Viscosity & Cloud Point Temperature

·         Business Management for Biodiesel Producers (PDF)

·         Biodiesel Use in Engines – North Dakota State University

·         Biodiesel Performance, Costs & Use – Dept of Energy, Govt of USA

·         Biodiesel Info from Biodiesel SA, South Africa

·         Biodiesel Resource

·         Ask Ben Biodiesel FAQ

·         Biodiesel & the Environment – from Navigating our Future

·         Instructions for the Transport of Biodiesel (PDF)

·         Biodiesel Handling & Use Guidelines (PDF)

·         Technique for Analysis of Biodiesel – Metrohm UK

·         Fatty Acid Methyl Esters with a High Iodine Number (PDF)

·         Animal Fats Perform Well in Biodiesel (PDF)

·         Production of Biodiesel from Multiple Feedstocks (PDF)

·         Standardisation of Biodiesel, Netherlands (PDF)

·         Tiny Microreactor Rethinks Biodiesel Production

·         Biodiesel in Oregon – from the Government of Oregon

·         Biodiesel Info from Biofuel Systems, UK (Biofuel Process, Biofuel Chemistry)

·         Biofuel Performance, Costs & Use – Department of Energy, Govt of USA

·         The Modern & Profitable Biodiesel Production Plant (PDF)

·         How to make Rape Biodiesel More Financially Feasible

·         Biodiesel Plant Info – from

·         Biodiesel Equipment from Doctor Diesel

·         Description of the Biodiesel Production Unit from Biodiesel Technologies GmbH

·         Biodiesel Equipment & Supplies from Biofuel Systems

·         Making Biodiesel – from SchNews

·         Green Fuels – European Biodiesel Equipment Supplier

·         Biomass Oil Analysis – Research Needs & Recommendations (PDF)

·         Characterization of Biodiesel Oxidation & Oxidation Products (PDF)




Fun Facts – The viscosity of many vegetable oils is over ten times that for petro-diesel. However the transesterification process reduces their viscosities to almost one-tenth of their original!






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Section 6. All about Petroleum Diesel



Diesel (the common term for petro-diesel) is a fractional distillate (Fractional Distillation – from Chem Heritage, How Oil Refining Works – from How Stuff Works, Fractional Distillation Definition – from of petroleum used as fuel in a diesel engine, a type of Internal Combustion (IC) engine invented by German engineer Rudolf Diesel. Petro Diesel is about 18% denser than gasoline.


Diesel is generally simpler to refine than gasoline and usually costs less. Petro diesel typically releases about 40.9 megajoules (MJ) per liter when burnt, compared to gasoline which releases 34.8 MJ/L.


Petro diesel, however, often contains higher quantities of sulphur than gasoline. High levels of sulfur in diesel are harmful for the environment, hence the use of devices that reduce the amount of sulfur in diesel. However, lowering sulfur also reduces the lubricity of the fuel, thus increasing the need for lubricating additives must be added to petro diesel. (see also: Diesel Engine Exhaust Emissions – PDF, The Challenging Chemistry of Ultra-low Sulfur Diesel - PDF)


Petro diesel comprises about 75% saturated hydrocarbons, and 25% aromatic hydrocarbons. (see also: Chemical Properties & Composition of Fuel Oils, – PDF




Did you know? Gasoline and diesel are both derived from crude oil





    • Difference between Diesel & Gasoline Fuels





Fun Facts - Gasoline and diesel were both largely waste products, largely unused until the invention of the internal combustion engine!






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Section 7. Diesel Engines


Similar to a gasoline engine, a diesel engine is an internal combustion engine that converts chemical energy present in fuel to mechanical energy that moves pistons up and down inside cylinders. The diesel engine has been the IC engine of choice for various heavy-duty applications for over five decades. In its earliest days it was popular more because it was a considered as the portion of the petroleum crude oil that had previously been discarded as waste during refining of gasoline. Later however, the diesel’s useful properties – its durability, high torque capacity, and fuel efficiency - assured its role in many applications. While the diesel engine is not the engine of choice in US passenger cars (less than 2% of cars in the US are diesel-engine powered), they have much better acceptance in Europe (over 25% of the total market).




Did you know? Rudolf Diesel died a mysterious death while crossing the English Channel





    • Differences between Gasoline & Diesel Engines





Fun Facts – The Diesel engine needs no spark plug, mainly owing to the higher compression ratio






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Section 8. Biofuels & Gasoline Engines – Bio-gasoline?


Biogasoline is a term applied to biomass-based fuels that can be used in fuel engines – mainly bioethanol and biomethanol. These can either be blended with gasoline (and used in unmodified engines), or used as a high proportion of the fuel (in flexi-engines). More inputs for ethanol as gasoline fuel is provided in the Ethanol section of the Biodiesel WWW Encyclopedia.




Did you know? Biodiesel cannot be directly used in gasoline engines




The major fuels that can be considered as biogasoline are:


·         Bioethanol: ethanol produced from biomass and/or the biodegradable fraction of waste (see also: What is Bioethanol?, Bio-ethanol – from Dept of Energy, Government of USA (PDF), Bioethanol & Blends Properties)

·         Biomethanol: methanol produced from biomass and/or the biodegradable fraction of waste (Methanol from Biomass, Competitive with Gasoline – IAGS, Bio-methanol from Sugar Beet Pulp – PDF, Bio-methanol from Black Liquor - PDF). Biomethanol might become a preferred fuel for fuel cell vehicles because of its high hydrogen content. Biomethanol can be produced from bio-syn-gas, mixtures of H2 and CO derived from biomass. At present, methanol is mostly produced from natural gas (world production 27 mio t/year) with a conversion efficiency of 55%. Biomethanol has in a longer term the economic potential of substituting the methanol derived from natural gas.

·         BioETBE (ethyl-tertio-butyl-ether): a fuel produced on the basis of bioethanol (What is ETBE – from Wikipedia). Bio-Ethyl Tertiary Butyl Ether is a colourless, flammable, oxygenated hydrocarbon. This biofuel is produced by mixing bioethanol (48% in volume) and tertiary butanol (or bioethanol with iso butylene) and reacting them with heat over a catalyst. This biofuel with an octane rating of 112 can be used in existing gasoline engine without any modification shows excellent performance and environmental benefits replacing aromatics and benzene. It is acceptable for direct refinery blending and for common pipeline transport.

·         BioMTBE (methyl-tertio-butyl-ether): a fuel produced on the basis of biomethanol. (MTBE from Wikipedia, MTBE Studies). Bio-MTBE is similar to Bio-ETBE, and is obtained by mixing biomethanol and tertiary butanol. 





Fun Facts – Ethanol & water readily dissolve in each other






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Section 9. How is Bio-diesel Produced from Plant Oils?




Did you know? Straight Vegetable Oils (SVO) cannot be directly used in diesel engines.




The major problem associated with the use of pure vegetable oils as fuels for diesel engines is caused by high fuel viscosity (Viscosity – from Physics Hypertextbook) in compression ignition. The vegetable oils are all highly viscous, with viscosities ranging 10–20 times those of no. 2 Diesel fuel. Amongst vegetable oils in the context of viscosity, castor oil is in a class by itself, with a viscosity more than 100 times that of no. 2 Diesel fuel (MSDS of No.2 Diesel Fuel – PetroCard). Due to their high viscosity and low volatility, they do not burn completely and form deposits in the fuel injector of diesel engines. Furthermore, acrolein (a highly toxic substance) ( Acrolein – from EPA)  is formed through thermal decomposition of glycerol (Glycerol – from Info Please).


Dilution, micro-emulsification (Emulsions & Emulsification – from Wikipedia), pyrolysis ( Pyrolysis Definition from AFR) and transesterification are the four techniques applied to solve the problems encountered with the high fuel viscosity. Amongst the four techniques, chemical conversion of the oil to its corresponding fatty ester is the most promising solution to the high viscosity problem. This process - chemical conversion of the oil to its corresponding fatty ester, and thus biodiesel - is called transesterification.




Did you know? Biodiesel is produced from plant oils by the transesterification process.




What is transesterification?


·         The process of converting vegetable oil into biodiesel fuel is called transesterification, and is fortunately much less complex than it sounds.


·         Transesterification refers to a reaction between an ester (Ester – from Wikipedia) of one alcohol and a second alcohol to form an ester of the second alcohol and an alcohol from the original ester, as that of methyl acetate and ethyl alcohol to form ethyl acetate and methyl alcohol ( see also interesterification – Interesterification – from Cyber Lipid) . Chemically, transesterification means taking a triglyceride molecule or a complex fatty acid, neutralizing the free fatty acids, removing the glycerin and creating an alcohol ester. This is accomplished by mixing methanol with sodium hydroxide to make sodium methoxide (Sodium Methoxide – from Great Vista Chemicals, Sodium Methoxide MSDS – JT Baker) . This liquid is then mixed into vegetable oil. The entire mixture then settles. Glycerin is left on the bottom and methyl esters, or biodiesel, is left on top. The glycerin can be used to make soap (or any one of 1600 other products) and the methyl esters is washed and filtered.


·         Transesterification is not a new process. Scientists E. Duy and J. Patrick conducted it as early as 1853. One of the first uses of transesterified vegetable oil was powering heavy-duty vehicles in South Africa before World War II.




Did you know? Transesterification is a simple process that can even be done at home!




More Links on Transesterification




Biodiesel Manufacturing Equipment


·         Biodiesel Equipment, Kits Directory – from Eco Business Links

·         Biodiesel Gear – Biodiesel Equipments, Processing & Related Information


·         Testing

·         Biodiesel Fuel Testing – from Intertek Caleb Brett



Other Methods of Producing Bio-diesel


Other than transesterification, the other methods that have been considered to reduce the high viscosity of vegetable oils are:


·        dilution of 25 parts of vegetable oil with 75 parts of diesel fuel

·        microemulsions with short chain alcohols (e.g. ethanol or methanol)

·        thermal decomposition, which produces alkanes, alkenes, carboxylic acids and aromatic compounds

·        catalytic cracking, which produces alkanes, cycloalkanes and alkylbenzenes


However, when compared with the above, the transesterification process appears to be the best choice, as the physical characteristics of fatty acid esters (biodiesel) are very close to those of diesel fuel, and the process is relatively simple. Furthermore, the methyl or ethyl esters of fatty acids can be burned directly in unmodified diesel engines, with very low deposit


More Bio-diesel Production Links


The following web sites provide more inputs on the various methods to produce bio-diesel, including the transesterification process.


·         Biodiesel Production Methods – from Distribution Drive

·         Biodiesel Analytical Methods – from National Renewable Energy Laboratory, USA (PDF)

·         Chemical Biodiesel Microreactor

·         How to Make Biodiesel – SchNew, UK

·         Advanced Biodiesel Production Methods Forums – from Biodiesel Now

·         Biodiesel Production Resources – from Wikipedia

·         Biodiesel Production Methods & Costs

·         An Improved Method for the Production of Ethyl Ester Biodiesel

·         Making Biodiesel – from Utah Biodiesel

·         Publications of Thomas Foglia, Agricultural Research Service, USDA

·         Tiny Microreactor for Biodiesel Production – University of Oregon

·         Better Biodiesel – New Biodiesel Production Technology

·         New Technologies for Making Biofuels

·         Development of Biodiesel by Supercritical Methanol (PDF)

·         Potential Production of Biodiesel – from University of Idaho (PDF)

·         Small-scale Biodiesel Production – from Energy Line 2000

·         Making Biodiesel – from Biodiesel Update

·         Research into Biodiesel Kinetics & Catalyst Development (PDF)

·         Biodiesel Basics (PDF)

·         Biodiesel Production Process

·         Biodiesel Production Info from (PDF)

·         Breakthrough in Biodiesel Production by Japanese Scientists

·         Collaborative Biodiesel Production Tutorial

·         Biodiesel Production Technology, (PDF)

·         Small-scale Biodiesel Production Feaibility Report, (PDF)

·         Biodiesel Handling & Use Guidelines (PDF)

·         Biodiesel Production Research Abstracts

·         Veg Conversion of Diesel Engine for SVO

·         Validation of a Model for Biodiesel Production

·         The Biodiesel Chemical Make-up – from Wikipedia

·         Biodiesel Chemical Info Page – from Biodiesel Gear

·         A Visual Guide to Titraiton – from

·         Transesterification & Biodiesel Production




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Section 10. Plant Oils Used for Bio-diesel




Did you know? Even the humble algae could be used to make biodiesel




A variety of biolipids (Biolipds are lipids from biological sources. Lipids are a class of organic compounds essential for the structure and function of living cells, fats are a subset of lipids, belonging to a subcategory of lipids called triglycerides) can be used to produce biodiesel. The main plants whose oils have been considered as feedstock for bio-fuel are: soybean oil, rapeseed oil, palm oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil & jatropha oil. Others in the contention are mustard, hemp, castor oil, waste vegetable oil, and in some cases, even algae. There is ongoing research into finding more suitable crops and improving oil yield. (Biodiesel – A Brief Overview From ATTRA – provides a table of oil-bearing plants having potential for biodisel)


A complete list of oils that appear to have the potential for biodiesel is provided below ( in alphabetical order of the plant name)



Algae as Bio-diesel


The production of algae to harvest oil for biodiesel has not been undertaken on a commercial scale, but working feasibility studies have been conducted to arrive at the above yield estimate. In addition to a high yield, this solution does not compete with agriculture for food, requiring neither farmland nor fresh water.


·         Widescale Biodiesel Production from Algae – University of North Hampshire

·         Algae – Like a Breath Mint for Smokestacks – Christian Science Monitor

·         Biodiesel from Algae – from Biodiesel Encyclopedia



Artichoke & Biodiesel


Artichoke has been only mainly as a forage crop for many years, but in recent years new applications have been discovered. The seeds of the artichoke plant can be used to obtain edible oil, while paper and pulp can be obtained from the stalks.


Artichoke oil is similar to the oils from sunflower and safflower in its composition. The approximate oil composition is as follows: 60% linoleic, 25% oleic, 12% palmitic and 3% stearic acid. While experiments are still on for this crop, initial experiments and analysis appear to show that this crop has potential for producing biodiesel.


·         Cynara Cardunculus as an Alternative Crop for Biodiesel Production (MS Word Document)

·         Feeding Ourselves or Driving Our Cars – the Tale of the Humble Artichoke – from Transition Culture



Canola Oil as Bio-diesel


Canola is a cultivated variety of rapesee, and canola oilseeds are rich in oil content ( 40%). The interest in canola oil as feedstock for biodiesel appears to be gaining ground. A small group of farmers in Australia have started producing biodiesel from canola oil for local use, and a company in North Dakota (USA) in investing significantly to produce biodiesel using canola oil.


·         Biodiesel from Canola Oil – University of Ballarat, Australia

·         NDSU to Test Properties of Canola-based Biodiesel

·         Canola Biodiesel – from

·         Bioenergy Biodiesel from Canola Oil (PDF)



Castor Oil as Bio-diesel


Castor oil has quite a few characteristics that can make it a suitable candidate for biodiesel. One aspect that could queer the pitch for castor oil is its viscosity. Castor oil in its straight vegetable oil form is about 100 times as viscous as diesel fuel, and while trans-esterification does reduce the viscosity significantly, it is still being researched whether the final viscosity for castor oil biodiesel is within acceptable limits for use in diesel engines.


·         Castor Oil as Bio-diesel & Biofuel – from

·         Energy in a Castor Bean – from Tierramerica



Coconut Oil as Biodiesel


Coconut has an oil content of about 70%, and has a yield of about 2500 liters per hectare. The Cetane Number (60) and Iodine Value (10) of coconut oil/copra oil are within acceptable limits for use in diesel engines. Its viscosity after trans-esterification is also in the acceptable range. It thus appears to be a good candidate for biodiesel.




Did you know? Coconut oil is one of the least viscous of plant oils




·         Possibility of Using Coconut Oil as Fuel Substitute for Diesel Engines (Microsoft PPT Format)

·         Coconut Methyl Ester as Coco Biodiesel

·         Comparative Life Cycle Assessment of Coconut Biofuel (PDF)

·         Coconut Oil as a Biofuel in Pacific Islands – Challenges & Opportunities



Corn Oil as Bio-diesel


There is a significant interest, especially in the United States, to experiment with corn oil as the feedstock for biodiesel. Till a few years ago, corn was not favoured as a feedstock because the extraction process was not suitable to produce a grade of oil that was suitable enough for producing biodiesel. However newer extraction processes have overcome this problem.


·         Mean Green Biofuels Convertts Corn Oil into Biodiesel – Oil & Gas Online

·         Corn Oil Extractor Hits Market – from Argus Leader



Cottonseed Oil as Biodiesel


Cottonseed oil has energy per unit volume than diesel fuel. This means that more than one gallon of cotton seed oil will be required to replace one gallon of petro-diesel. The current production volumes are quite low ( 0.5 million T per annum in the US) when compared with even reasonable requirements of biodiesel.


·         Economic Circumstances of Cottonseed Oil as Biodiesel (PDF)



Flax Oil as Biodiesel


·         The oil from linseed/flax plant can also be considered for biodiesel. Research is ongoing in this area.



Hemp Oil as Bio-diesel


·         Hemp Farm Bio-diesel Information

·         Pollution - Petrol vs. Hemp – from




Did you know? Jatropha oil is a popular biodiesel candidate in parts of Asia




Jatropha Oil as Bio-diesel


Through Jatropha is not as well-known a biodiesel feedstock as is palm oil or soy oil, in India and southeast Asia, the Jatropha tree has been used as a significant fuel source for many years, though use of its oil for biodiesel is quite recent. In these regions, it is also planted for watershed protection and other environmental restoration efforts. Jatropha is a perennial, yielding oil seed for decades after planting. The tree can grow without irrigation in arid conditions where many other biodiesel candidates such as corn and sugar cane could never thrive. Another useful feature of Jatropha is its oil yield – the yield is significantly higher than the yields of many other candidates.


·         Biofuel for Electricity in Remote Lao Villages - from Sunlabob (PDF)

·         Jatropha, a Different Biofuel, from Pratie Place

·         Oil from a Wasteland – the Jatropha Project in India – from Daimler Chryser

·         Bio-diesel from Wastelands - NABARD

·         Case Study for Jatropha (PDF)

·         Biodiesel from Jatropha Plantations on Eroded Soils (PDF)

·         Jatropha & Moringa – Sources of Renewable Energy & Fuel

·         Jatropha Biodiesel .org

Jatropha in Africa – Enviro Pundit

Combating Ddesertification – The Jatropha Project of Mali, West Africa

The Bumpy Road to Clean, Green Fuel - SciDev

The Jatropha Opportunity for India



Jojoba Oil as Biodiesel


While Jojoba is a new entrant in the biodiesel stakes, it has an attraction – the jojoba plant can be grown in saline soils, and in desert lands. There are reports that some farmers in Egypt have started cultivating jojoba for the oil to be used as fuel. However, with current inputs and data, it appears that this plant is unlikely to make a significant impact on the overall biodiesel scenario, given the small amounts of cultivation.


·         Jojoba Fuel – from Tree Hugger

·         Jojoba Oil Could Fuel Cars & Trucks – New Scientist

·         Economics of Jatropha Biodiesel



Karanj Plant (Pongamia pinnata) as Biodiesel


Karanj, a plant native to India, appears to have good potential for biodiesel. Considered less exotic than Jatropha, there

is a good chance that its oil is cheaper as well. However, only recently has this plant come into the research arena for

biodiesel, and more inputs are awaited.


·         Why Karanj is Better than Jatropha?

·         Jatropha vs. Karanj – Biodiesel Now

·         Biodiesel Project in India Based on Karanja



Kukui Nut Oil as Biodiesel


While it is possible to have the oil from Kukui Nut tree as a biodiesel, it is unlikely that it is a serious candidate since this is not a mainstream crop, and its high price will be a deterrent to its use as fuel


·         Student Makes Fuel from Kukui Nuts



Milk Bush/Pencil Bush (Euphorbia tirucalli) as Biodiesel


The Pencil Bush shrub can grow in arid as well as more mesophytic zones. A large shrub, Euphorbia tirucalli, is used

as a hedge in Brazil. The ability of these plants to grow well in dry regions and on land that are not suitable for growing

food, and the fact that the oil yield from an acre could be comparable to or better than many other biodiesel candidates (

an estimate of oil yield for milk bush/pencil bush is between 10 and 50 barrels of oil per acre, ie., between 25 and 125

barrels per hectare )


·         Euphorbia tirucalli from Purdue University

·         Bio-engineering of Crops for Biofuel & Bio-energy (PDF)



Mustard Oil


Specially bred mustard varieties can produce reasonably high oil yields, and have the added benefit that the meal leftover after the oil has been pressed out can act as an effective and biodegradable pesticide.


·         Bio-diesel from Yellow Mustard Oil – University of Idaho

·         Mustard Hybrids for Low-cost Biodiesel (PDF)

·         Biodiesel Cost Issues – from Oregon Biofuels

·         Industrial Mustard Crops for Biodiesel & Biopesticides (PDF)

·         Experiments with Biodiesel from Yellow Mustard




Did you know? Palm oil is a prominent biodiesel feedstock in Malaysia




Neem Oil as Biodiesel


While it has not yet been produced on a commercial scale, neem oil is being considered for biodiesel, and more research is being done in this area.


·         Biodiesel – Fuel for Future



Biodiesel from Olive Oil


It has been proven that Olive Oil can produce biodiesel, however, it is unlikely that this crop will be a sustainable

candidate for biodiesel, given the opportunity costs of the use of its oil in other segments, and the cost. One interesting area has been the use of waste olive oil for biodiesel production.


·         Simulating Biodiesel Production from Waste Olive Oil

·         Chancellor College Biodiesel Research & Biodiesel Production



Palm Oil as Bio-diesel


Malaysia and Indonesia are starting pilot-scale production from palm oil. Palm oil so far proved to be efficient as biodiesel.


·         Palm Oil Biodiesel from

·         Consultant Says Palm Oil Biodiesel has More Potential – from New Energy Report

·         Malaysia to Switch to Palm Oil Bio-diesel – from Happy News

·         Palm Oil Biodiesel has More Potential for Longevity?




Did you know? Rudolf Diesel ran his first IC engines on peanut oil




Peanut Oil as Biodiesel


History tells us that Rudolf Diesel ran his first diesel engine on peanut oil. Even later, during times of fuel shortages, cars and trucks were successfully run on preheated peanut oil. Currently however, peanut oil is used relatively less (when compared to sunflower oil, palm oil or soybean oil) for biodiesel production. One major reason could be the cost.


·         History of Biofuels – from Yokayo Biofuels



Radish Oil as Bio-diesel


Wild radish can contain up to 48% oil and its oil is unsuitable for human consumption. This could hence make an interesting biodiesel candidate. Wild radish has adapted itself to be a very resilient weed and possesses a hardy nature with good drought tolerance. However, it is unlikely to become a mainstream biodiesel feedstock.


·         Biodiesel – Farming for the Future




Did you know? Rapeseed oil is a prominent biodiesel feedstock in Europe




Rapeseed Oil as Bio-diesel


Rapeseed oil is one of the more prominent oils used for biodiesel preparation. In Europe, rapeseed is the most common base oil used in biodiesel production.


·         Rapeseed Bio-diesel from

·         The Power of Rapeseed – from Deutsche Welle, Germany

·         Rapeseed Methyl Ester – from BioMatNet

·         Development of Rapeseed Bio-diesel for Use in High-speed Diesel Engines – from (PDF)

·         Biodiesel Experiences in Yugoslavia – from (PDF)

·         Biodiesel Production Potential from Industrial Rapeseed (PDF)

·         Economic Evaluation of Biodiesel Production from Oilseed Rape (PDF)



Rice Bran Oil as Bio-diesel


Rice bran oil is a non-conventional, inexpensive and low-grade vegetable oil. Crude rice bran oil is also source of high value added by-products. Thus, if the by-products are derived from the crude rice bran oil and the resultant oil is used as a feedstock for biodiesel, the resulting biodiesel could be quite economical and affordable.


·         Fatty Acid Ethyl Esters from Rice Bran Oil (PDF)

·         Acid Catalyzed Trans-esterification of Rice Bran Oil for Bio-diesel Production (PDF)



Safflower Oil as Bio-diesel


Quite a number of entities in the United States are experimenting with Safflower oil as biodiesel stock, and there is a opinion among some that safflower oil will make a better candidate than canola oil, which is a relatively more popular feedstock for biodiesel. However, the fact that it is a useful edible oil ( as is canola oil) throws serious doubts about its potential for large scale biodiesel production


·         Safflower Oil in your Tank – from Clean City News



Soybean Oil as Bio-diesel


Soybeans are not a very efficient crop solely for the production of biodiesel, but their common use in the United States for food products has led to soybean biodiesel becoming the primary source for biodiesel in that country. Soybean producers have lobbied to increase awareness of soybean biodiesel, expanding the market for their product.


·         Fuelling Diesel Engines with Blends of Methyl Ester Soybean Oil & Diesel Fuel – University of Missouri (PDF)

·         Soybean Oil in Jet Fuels – from USDA

·         Transesterification of Soybean Oil with Zeolite & Metal Catalysts (PDF)

·         Oxidative Stability of Biodiesel from Soybean Oil



Sunflower Oil as Bio-diesel


Sunflower oil is being tested in quite a few places worldwide for its biodiesel capability. While the chemical properties of the oil lend themselves well for biodiesel manufacture, the high cost of sunflower oil casts doubts on whether it can ever be a significant feedstock for biodiesel production.


·         Sunflower Crop Feasibility for Bio-diesel Production in Spain – from



Tung Oil as Biodiesel


Research on the use of tung oil for biodiesel is in its initial stages, and more research results and inputs are awaited.


·         Details of Fuels – Greenhouse, Australia (PDF)



Waste Vegetable Oil as Biodiesel


·         On-farm Biodiesel Production from Waste Vegetable Oil (PDF)





·         Local & Innovative Biodiesel – New Feedstock Blending Recipes (PDF) ( see also this (pdf))





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Section 11. Ethanol as Fuel




Did you know? Ethanol is primarily used as fuel in gasoline engines



Ethanol is not plant oil, but is an alcohol that is primarily derived from sugarcane molasses, as well as from corn (primarily in the US), but is included here for completeness.


In theory, ethanol can be produced from a range of plants, such as barley, wheat, rice, sorghum, sunflower, potatoes, sugar cane, sugar beet, and corn. Currently however, a large share of ethanol is produced from corn (US) & sugar cane/sugar beet (rest of the world).


As a transportation fuel, ethanol can be used as a total or partial replacement for gasoline. Gasoline containing ten percent ethanol - E10 - is used in many urban areas of the US. Some states promote more widespread use of E10. All vehicles that run on gasoline can use E10 without making changes to their engines.


E85 is an alternative fuel that is 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. In order to run on E85, vehicles are specially manufactured as flexible fuel vehicles (FFV). Flexible Fuel Vehicles (Flexible Fuel Vehicle Info from Fuel Economy, from Wikipedia) can use any mixture of ethanol and gasoline up to E85. FFV's have been designed for versatility.  They will operate on unleaded gasoline or any mixture of gasoline and ethanol up to an 85 percent blend.


Ethanol, when used as a gasoline component, improves combustion and reduces carbon monoxide emissions.


Brazil (The Brazilian Ethanol Program – University of Rio de Janeiro – PDF, Ethanol in Brazil - Wikipedia) and Sweden (Why is Ethanol Given Importance over Methanol in Sweden – A Research Paper – PDF) use significant quantities of ethanol as a fuel.  Some Canadian provinces promote ethanol (Ethanol – from Canadian Renewable Fuels Association) use as a fuel by offering subsidies.  India is in the beginning stages of initiating the use of ethanol as an automotive fuel (Ethanol India). In France, ethanol is produced from grapes that are of insufficient quality for wine production.


Brazil has been one of the pioneering countries in the context of using ethanol in gasoline engines. Brazilian ethanol is made mainly from sugar cane (Sugarcane for Energy – PDF).  Prompted by the increase in oil prices in the 1970's, Brazil introduced a program to produce ethanol for use in automobiles. A significant percentage of automobiles in Brazil used pure ethanol (100% ethanol). The remaining vehicles use blends of about 20% ethanol with 80% gasoline.


Ethanol Diesel - E-diesel


While the main use of ethanol is in gasoline engines, in a few cases ethanol is also used in diesel engines. More research is underway on this concept of Ethanol Diesel – E-diesel. E-diesel is usually a a blend of up 15% ethanol, 5% blending additive, and at least 80% petro-diesel. Testing to date has proven that E-diesel can lower particulate emissions by 20% to 30%, reduce sulfur content, and out-perform No. 2 diesel fuel in winter conditions, all without mechanical changes or problems. Additional research is under way to move E-diesel toward commercialization (About E-diesel Fuel – from E-diesel Fuel Consortium)


More Ethanol Links & Resources


·         Ethanol Marketplace

·         Ethanol in India

·         Ethanol Boosted Gasoline Engines – from MIT, Boston (PDF)

·         Simple Introduction to Ethanol as Bio-fuel – from EIA Energy Kids Page

·         Resources for Ethanol as Fuel – Free Energy News

·         Ethanol Resources Online – from Journey to Forever

·         Ethanol Page – from Canadian Agricultural Energy End-use

·         Biofuel & Ethanol Article from the Economist

·         Ethanol & Bio-fuel Facts – from Cecarf

·         Ethanol Production Using Corn, Switchgrass & Wood (PDF)

·         Eucalyptus Biomass Fuels – Price Competitive or Way off the Money? (PDF)

·         Ethanol Info from Canadian Renewable Fuels Association

·         Ethanol Facts – from Iowa Corn

·         Ethanol Research Breakthrough – Wood Feedstock

·         Sustainability of the Corn-Ethanol Biofuel Cycle (PDF)

·         Ethanol & Methanol as Bio-fuels for ICEs – Envocare, UK (see their Alternative Energy & Renewable Energy Sources Page for more resources)

·         Ethanol for Fuel Fundamentally Uneconomic, Says Study


Ethanol & Biodiesel – Compare & Contrast


·         Ethanol & Biodiesel – North Dakota Renewable Energy Summit (PDF)

·         Ethanol & Biodiesel – Questions & Answers – Office of Research, State of Tennessee (PDF)

·         IEA Bioenergy Task – Final Summary Report – Liquid Biofuels

·         Ethanol Vs Biodiesel – from Renewable Energy Generation

·         Ethanol vs Biodiesel vs Gasoline – the Environment Forum




Fun Facts – The Gasoline-ethanol blend is also called gasohol






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Section 12. The Economics & Sustainability of Bio-diesel


Biodiesel is, without doubt, a good idea. The real topic that is debated hotly today is whether biodiesel is an economically sustainable idea, given the costs of production, fossil and non-fossil energy spent for producing energy from biodiesel, opportunity costs for the respective plant oils, and the competing fuels (mainly fossil fuels) already available.




Did you know? Biodiesel currently costs (most times) more than petro-diesel




The following web resources focus on the economics, cost-benefits & sustainability of bio-fuels in general and biodiesel in particular.


·         Academic Study Discredits Ethanol, Biodiesel – from Renewable Energy Access (see the original study document here)

·         International Resource Costs of Biodiesel & Bioethanol, Dept of Transport, Govt of UK (PDF)

·         Energy Balance – from Piedmont Biofuels

·         Biofuel, some Numbers – from Grist

·         Interesting Blog Comments on Energy Efficiencies of Biofuel and Bio-diesel – Future Pundit (skip the article and see the comments!)

·         Biodiesel Experiment (PDF)

·         Feasibility of Biodiesel from Waste/Recycled Greases & Animal Fats (PDF)

·         The Economic Efficiency of Production & Use of Biodiesel – Report from Estonia (PDF)

·         Biodiesel – European Overview (PDF)

·         On-farm Biodiesel Production from Waste Vegetable Oil (PDF)

·         The Economics of Engine Replacement/Repair for Biodiesel Fuels (PDF)

·         Energy Use & Emissions from Bio-fuels – University of California, Davis (PDF)

·         Biofuels – Is it Worth Considering? (PDF)

·         Growing Biodiesel in North Dakota (PDF)

·         Basic Biodiesel Economics – from Entropy Production

·         Biodiesel Economics in Brazil (PDF)

·         Biofuels around the World – Canadian Renewable Fuels Association

·         Biodiesel Education – Economic Considerations – from Iowa State University

·         Biodiesel Economics – from University of Alberta, Canada (PDF)

·         Biodiesel Production, Costs & Use – Department of Energy, Govt of USA (PDF)

·         Biofuel Info from the Government of New Zealand (PDF)

·         Cost Implications of Feedstock Combinations for Community Sized Bio-diesel Production (PDF)

·         A Study on the Feasibility of Biodiesel Production in Georgia (PDF)

·         Biodiesel in British Columbia – a Feasibility Study

·         Biodiesel – the Sustainability Dimension – from ATTRA (PDF)

·         The Uncertain Future of Bio-diesel – from the Dominion, Canada

·         Department of Agricultural Economics – Kansas State University

·         Biodiesel – An Industry Poised for Growth? Choices Magazine

·         Research Activities on Bio-diesel @ Indian Institute of Petroleum (PPT format)

·         Cost Benefit Analysis of Adoption of Biodiesel in Diesel Fuel (PDF)

·         Costs of Biodiesel Production – from Govt of New Zealand (PDF)

·         Potential Niche Fuel Markets for Biodiesel (PDF)

·         Biodiesel – Fuel for Thought, Fuel for Connecticut’s Future (PDF)

·         Testing the Biodiesel Bandwagon

·         Feasibility of Biodiesel from Waste Recycled Grease and Animal Fats (PDF)

·         Ethanol vs Biodiesel vs Gasoline – the Environment Forum

·         Industry Argues that Ethanol Delivers – from A Journey to Forever

·         Biodiesel Basics – from Utah Biodiesel

·         Opportunities in Community-Scale Biodiesel (PDF)

·         The Case for Biodiesel – Washington University (PDF)

·         Cost of Biodiesel vs Regular Diesel – from Oregon Biofuels

·         An Economic Analysis of Small-scale Biodiesel Production (PDF)

·         Economics of Jatropha Biodiesel

·         Biodiesel – The Sustainability Dimensions (PDF)

·         Biodiesel Economics – University of Alberta, Canada (PDF)

·         Comparison of LCA & External Cost Analysis for Biodiesel & Diesel (PDF)

·         Comparison of the Externalities of the Biodiesel Fuel Chains & Other Fuel Chains (PDF)

·         International Resource Costs of Bioethanol & Biodiesel

·         Costs of Biodiesel Production – Govt of New Zealand (PDF)

·         WA Sustainability Case Studies – Biodiesel

·         Problems in Biofuel Utilisation – A Swedish Perspective (PDF)

·         Biodiesel – The Sustainability Dimension

·         The Real Biofuel Cycles – University of California, Berkeley (PDF)

·         Biodiesel Begins to Make Economic Sense – University of Arkansas

·         Brazil’s Biofuel Plan is not Sustainable

·         Amount of Biodiesel That Could be Produced from Available Land in the UK – An Estimate

·         Biodiesel – Bad Idea –



Biodiesel & Environment


·         How Green is the New Biodiesel Movement?

·         Green Technology isn’t Always Green – from USA Today

·         Biodiesel & Deforestation


Reducing the Cost of Biodiesel


·         Economic Feasibility for Community-scale Farmer Cooperatives for Biodiesel

·         Production of Cost-competitive Biodiesel Fuel




Fun Facts – Oil-bearing plants need fertilizers. The most widely used fertilizers are compounds of ammonia, made from natural gas. Thus using oils from plants as biodiesel does not automatically mean less dependence on oil!





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Section 13 – Problems with and Disadvantages of Biodiesel


While biodiesel has its myriad advantages and benefits, there is a flip side as well. This section provides inputs on the various (perceived) disadvantages of biodiesel, as well as problems that have been reported while using biodiesel.




Did you know? The worldwide vegetable oil production is only a tiny fraction of the total petroleum used today




Some of the disadvantages of and problems with biodiesel are:


·         It is currently more expensive (see also: Biodiesel – Performance, Costs & Use – from the Dept of Energy, Govt of USA)

·         Disadvantages of using biodiesel produced from agricultural crops involve additional land use, as land area is taken up and various agricultural inputs with their environmental effects are inevitable. Switching to biodiesel on a large scale requires considerable use of our arable area. Even modest usages of biodiesel would consume almost all cropland in some countries in Europe! If the same thing is to happen all over the world, the impact on global food supply could be a major concern, and could make some countries being net importers of food products, from their current status of net exporters! It Could so happen that most lands on the planet are deployed to produce food for cars, not people! ( see also: Biodiesel & Deforestation, Amount of Biodiesel That Could be Produced from Available Land in the UK – An Estimate)

·         It gives out more nitrogen oxide emissions (Nitrogen oxide emissions from biodiesel blends could possibly be reduced by blending with kerosene or Fischer-Tropsch diesel) (NOx & Biodiesel – Journey to Forever, Study Shows NOx Emissions Reduction in Biodiesel with Additives – PDF)

·         Transportation & storage of biodiesel require special management. Some properties of biodiesel make it undesirable for use at high concentrations. For example, pure biodiesel doesn't flow well at low temperatures, which can cause problems for customers with outdoor storage tanks in colder climates. A related disadvantage is that biodiesel, because of its nature, can’t be transported in pipelines. It has to be transported by truck or rail, which increases the cost.

·         Biodiesel is less suitable for use in low temperatures, than petrodiesel. The “cloud point” is the temperature at which a sample of the fuel starts to appear cloudy, indicating that wax crystals have begun to form. At even lower temperatures, the fuel becomes a gel that cannot be pumped. The “pour point” is the temperature below which the fuel will not flow. As the cloud and pour points for biodiesel are higher than those for petroleum diesel, the performance of biodiesel in cold conditions is markedly worse than that of petroleum diesel. At low temperatures, diesel fuel forms wax crystals, which can clog fuel lines and filters in a vehicle’s fuel system. Vehicles running on biodiesel blends may therefore exhibit more drivability problems at less severe winter temperatures than do vehicles running on petroleum diesel.

·         Another disadvantage of biodiesel is that it tends to reduce fuel economy. Energy efficiency is the percentage of the fuel’s thermal energy that is delivered as engine output, and biodiesel has shown no significant effect on the energy efficiency of any test engine. The energy content per gallon of biodiesel is approximately 11 percent lower than that of petroleum diesel. Vehicles running on biodiesel are therefore expected to achieve about 10% fewer miles per gallon of fuel than petrodiesel.

·         There have been a few concerns regarding biodiesel’s impact on engine durability

·         Biodiesel has excellent solvent properties. Hence, any deposits in the filters and in the delivery systems may be dissolved by biodiesel and result in need for replacement of the filters. Petroleum diesel forms deposits in vehicular fuel systems, and because biodiesel can loosen those deposits, they can migrate and clog fuel lines and filters.

·         The solvent property of biodiesel could also cause other fuel-system problems. Biodiesel may be incompatible with the seals used in the fuel systems of older vehicles and machinery, necessitating the replacement of those parts if biodiesel blends are used.




Did you know? Biodiesel solidifies at a higher temperature than that for petrodiesel




More Links on Biodiesel Disadvantages


·         Biodiesel Suffers an Image Setback

·         Colorado Region has Problems with Biodiesel

·         Truckers Report Problems with Biodiesel

·         Biodiesel Fuels between Acceptance & Quality (PDF)

·         Environmental Evaluation of Biofuels – Takes a Life Cycle Analysis Approach (PDF)

Feeding Cars, not People – George Monibot




Fun Facts - Biodiesel is a good solvent, and can dissolve rubber and certain plastics, remove paint, as well as oxidize some metals. Biodiesel has also been reported to destroy asphalt and concrete if these are exposed long enough to biodiesel!







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      Section 14. Biodiesel Case Studies


·         Evaluating Biodiesel as a Value-added Opportunity (PDF)

·         Biodiesel Fuel in John Deere Tractors

·         Cold Weather Issues for Biodiesel – from Planet Biodiesel

·         Comparison of Transport Fuels – from Govt of Australia (PDF)

·         SMILE Project – Biodiesel from Waste Oil

·         Heat your Homes with Biodiesel – from Biofuels for Oregon

·         Biodiesel Benz – Converting a Mercedes Benz to Run on Biodiesel

·         Case Studies for Altrenative Fuels – US Dept of Energy

·         The Development of Biodiesel (PDF)

·         Study of Energy Crops for Heat & Power – from

·         Sustainable Energy Development – Brazil’s Case Study

·         Biodiesel Fleet Use & Benefits (PDF)

·         From Vegetable Oil to Motor Vehicle Fuel – AIUS, Australia

·         Case Study from Biogreen Energy Products Ltd (PDF)

·         Homebrew Biodiesel – A Case Study (PDF)

·         Study of Biodiesel from Tallow (PDF)

·         Lifecycle Inventory of Biodiesel & Petroleum Diesel (PDF)

·         Biodiesel Production & Economics Case Study

·         Biodiesel from Canola Oil, University of Ballarat, Australia

·         Use of Biodiesels in Vehicles – US Department of Energy

·         Tier 1 Biodiesel Pilot Project – from Biofleet of British Columbia, Canada (PDF)

·         Environmental Performance & Eco-efficiency of Using Biodiesel (PDF)

·         Voyageurs National Park Biodiesel Program (PDF)

·         Study to Evaluate the Feasibility of Biodiesel Production (PDF)

·         Lifecycle Assessment of Biodiesel (PDF)

·         Contribution from Bio-energy to Local Economic Development (PDF)

·         Biofuels for CHP in Buildings (PDF)

·         Biodiesel in the Pacific Northwest – A Feasibility Study (PDF)

·         Economic Analysis of Small-scale Biodiesel Production (PDF)

·         Assessing Biodiesel for the Sandby Generators in the Olympic Peninsula (PDF)

·         UC David Biodiesel Study – A Summary

·         Comparsion of Transportation Fuels (PDF)

·         The Use of Biofuels with Cummins Automotive Engines (PDF)

·         Biodiesel Usage Info from Volkswagen (PDF)





Did you know? In North America, soybean oil is a popular feedstock for making biodiesel




Biodiesel in North America


·         Pennsylvania’s First Commercial Biodiesel Plant

·         Biodiesel in the Pacific Northwest – a Feasibility Study (PDF)

·         Markets for Canola Biodiesel in Canada

·         Biodiesel for Arkansas (PDF)

·         Study for a Potential New York State Biodiesel Industry (PDF)

·         Biodiesel Production Begins in Minnesota

·         Biodiesel Task-force – State of Minnesota

·         Biodiesel Research Update 2004 – from Dept of Energy, Govt of USA (PDF)

·         Tennessee Soybean Producers Views on Biodiesel Marketing (PDF)

·         Biodiesel – Is it Oregon’s Next Cutting Edge Crop?

·         Seattle Biodiesel Set to Expand (PDF)

·         Producing Biodiesel from Canola in Inland Northwest (PDF)

·         Critical Review of Biodiesel as a Transportation Fuel in Canada (PDF)

·         Biobus Project, Canada (PDF)

·         Biodiesel – US Overview – from Bosch (PDF)

·         On-road Testing of Biodiesel – University of Idaho

·         Biodiesel Fuel Standards & Specifications USA


·         Cargill to Build Biodiesel Plant at Iowa Falls Facility (PDF)

·         Biodiesel Plant for North Dakota

·         Biofuel Use in Underground Mines

·         Large Biodiesel Plant Construction in Indiana

·         Biodiesel Users List @ National Biodiesel Board (USA)

·         Virginia Biodiesel

·         Biodiesel – Made in Manitoba (PDF)

·         Harvard Makes Smart Moves to Biodiesel (PDF)

·         Hydrogen, Wind, Biodiesel & Ethanol – the Montana Experience (PDF)

A Critical Review of Biodiesel as a Transportation Fuel in Canada (PDF)

The Case for Biodiesel (in the US) (PDF)



Biodiesel in Europe




Did you know? Rapeseed oil is a popular feedstock for biodiesel in Europe




·         Creating a Successful Biodiesel Market in the UK (PDF)

·         Standardisation of Biofuel – Government of Austria (PDF)

·         Towards a UK Strategy for Biofuels

·         Biodiesel Development & Outlook in Germany & Europe (PDF)

·         Palm Oil Biodiesel in Netherlands (PDF)

·         European Biodiesel Board (and Euro Biodiesel Stats )

·         Biodiesel Production in Europe

·         Biodiesel Boom in Europe

·         Biodiesel in Europe – from Render Magazine

·         France Plans to Triple Biofuel Output

·         France to Accelerate Green Diesel Output

·         EU – Biodiesel Industry Expanding Use of Oilseeds (PDF)

·         Liquid Biofuels – Competitiveness of EU Manufacturers

·         The Facts on Biodiesel & Bioethanol

·         Biodiesel, UK

·         Clean Air Initiative – Biodiesel in Germany

·         Biodiesel Production & Marketing in Germany – Project BioBus (PDF)

·         Rapeseed Production for Biodiesel in Germany

·         Germany “Growing” Biodiesel

·         Lurgi to Build Biodiesel Plant in Germany

·         Bioenergy – New Growth for Germany (PDF)

·         Evolution of Rape in Belgium & Its Utilisation as Biofuel

·         Biodiesel Chains

·         Biopetrol to Build Large Biodiesel Plant in Rotterdam

·         Promotion of the Use of Biofuels for Transport in Greece (PDF)

Biodiesel Initiatives in Germany (PDF)

European Union Biofuels Policy & Agriculture (PDF)



 Biodiesel in South America




Did you know? Brazil is considered a pioneer in the use of ethanol & biodiesel






Biodiesel Case Studies in Other Geographies


·         Comparison of Transport Fuels – from Govt of Australia (PDF)

·         Thai Biodiesel

·         Biofuels in the Developing World

·         India’s Unique Sources of Fuel for Electricity & Transportation (PDF)

·         Indian State to Plant 150 Million Jatropha Plants – Green Car Congress

·         Biodiesel in India – SV


France, Italy, Japan, Korea, Australia, India, China, Russia, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, South Africa, Middle East, Spain, UK, Germany, Scandinavia, Benelux, Mexico, Indonesia, Thailand, Turkey, Philippines




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Section 15. Biodiesel Forums, Discussion Boards & Blogs


·         Biodiesel Now Forums

·         Biodiesel & SVO Forums – by Groupee Community

·         Boulder Biodiesel Forums

·         Biodiesel America Forums

·         Biodiesel Forums from TDI Club

·         Bio Diesel

·         Diesel Technology Forum

·         Biofuels Forum

·         Biodiesel Community

·         Edmonton Biofuels Forum

·         Planet Biodiesel Forums

·         PHS Biodiesel Forum

·         Frybrid – Biofuel Forum

·         The Diesel Stop Forums

·         Bio-Trucker Talk

·         Biodiesel Forums @ TDI Club

·         The Oil Drum – Discussions about Energy & Our Future

·         Green Trust Forums

·         Biofuels for a Better World –

·         Peak Oil News & Message Boards

·         Boulder Biodiesel Forum

·         Biodiesel Forum – from Biodys – in German

·         Biodisel Association of Australia Forum

·         Bio Fuels Forums

·         Biodiesel

·         Biodiesel Blog Resources @ Technorati (see also their Biofuel Blog)

·         The Future is Green Blog @ BlogSpot

·         Green Trust Sustainability & Renewable Energy Blog

·         Green Car Congress Blog

·         Hybrid Blog

·         Hybrid Blogs

·         Alternative Energy – Renewable Energy Blog @ TypePad

·         B100 Fuel – Biodiesel Blog

·         The Propel Project Biodiesel Blog

·         Biodiesel Conference Blog

·         Tree Hugger

·         Alternative Energy Blog @ BlogSpot

·         The Rabid Biodiesel Nut

·         Veggie Van

·         Seattle Biodiesel

·         Biofuels Watch

·         Biodiesel Community @ Live Journal

·         Biofuel Forum from The Environment Site

·         Frybrid SVO/WVO Forum

·         Biofuel UK Discussion Forum

·         Vegetable Oil Diesel Discussion Forum

·         Discussion Forum for SVO (in German) (see also another popular German SVO Forum)

·         SVO & Biodiesel Forums – from DR1 Forums

·         Biofuel Mailing List from JourneytoForever

·         Bio-conversion Blog

·         The Energy Blog

·         Brevard Biodiesel Blog

·         Biodiesel in the News @ BlogSpot

·         The DieselStop Forums (Use the Biofuels Forum Link)

·         Veg

·         Waste Vegetable Oil Fuels

·         Renewables Forum

·         Mississippi Biofuels Group - Forums

·         Biofuel UK Discussion Forum

·         Environmental Issues Forum @ VeggieBoards

·         The Biodiesel Plant Forum from the Binder Bulletin

·         Green Car Club Forums

·         Clean Break

Hybrid Blog


The Energy Blog

Alternative Energy Blog

Watthead @ BlogSpot

MPG Digest





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Section 16. Bio-diesel – Research & Future Trends


The following web resources provide inputs on the various research activities happening in the biodiesel front:


·        Biodiesel Second Generation Technology – IFP, France (PDF)

·        Clean Energy Trends – from Clean Edge (PDF)

·        Regional (US) Trends in Biofuels – Maryland Biofuels Workshop (PDF)

·        European Biodiesel Board

·        UNH Biodiesel Group

·        Biodiesel Homepage @ Iowa State University

·        Utah Co-operative Biodiesel Links

·        New Markets for Biodiesel Blends & Trends in California (PDF)

·        The Modern & Profitable Biodiesel Production Plant (PDF)

·        Biofuels for Transport – an International Perspective – from IEA (PDF)

·        Biodiesel – Fuel for the Future – Sustainability Strategy, Government of Australia

·        How Biodiesel Works – from How Stuff Works

·        University of Idaho Biodiesel Homepage

·        Biodiesel Research from University of Missouri

·        Alternative Fuels Data Center – from Dept of Energy, Govt of USA

·        Biodiesel Blog

·        Current Research on Biodiesel Fuel in Japan (PDF)

·         Research into Biodiesel Kinetics & Catalyst Development (PDF)

Biodiesel Fuel Education Program – from University of Idaho

Biodiesel vs. Hydrogen – from the UNH Biodiesel Group

The CETC SuperCetane Technology

Toxicity of Biodiesel & Marine Diesel to Aquatic Species (PDF)

A Review of the Engineering Aspects of the Biodiesel Industry (PDF)

Biodiesel Research Progress – 1992-97, NREL, USA (PDF)





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Section 17. Bio-diesel Links & Directory Pages


These page provide (similar to ours) links to a large number of biodiesel resources on the web. We hope you find these useful


·         Biodiesel Links from Utah Biodiesel

·         Biodiesel Related Links from Distribution Drive

·         Biodiesel Links Page from A42

·         Biodiesel & Renewable Energy Links page from Boulder Biodiesel

·         Bio-diesel Links from Biodiesel Now

·         A Short List of Bio-diesel Sites – from Diesel Net

·         Links – from

·         A Short List of Biodiesel Links from Houston Biodiesel

·         Biodiesel Links Page from Utah Biodiesel





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Section 18. Articles & Opinions




Did you know? Most crude oil was formed from one-celled organisms called planktons!




·         Strategies for Bio-diesel, from Good News India

·         Biodiesel – Diesel without the Dinosaurs

·         Biodiesel in Bellingham

·         Biodiesel Roundup





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Section 19. Biodiesel - Questions & More Questions



Can animal fat be used as biodiesel?


·         KMB Tests Biodiesel from Pork Fat – Joruney to Forever

·         Biodiesel Produced from Animal Fat in Styria (PDF)

·         Any Downside to Using Animal Fat for Biodiesel? – Biodiesel Now Forums

·         Animal Fats Perform Well in Biodiesel – Render Magazine (PDF)

·         Safety of Animal Fats for Biodiesel Production – Critical Review of Literature (PDF)

·         Feasibility of Biodiesel from Waste Recycled Grease and Animal Fats (PDF)

Turkey Guts & Waste into Oil



How long would petro-diesel/gasoline last?


·         Long Term World Oil Supply – Dept of Energy, Govt of USA ( see also here)

·         How long will the World’s Oil Last ? – Energy Bulletin



What are the other alternatives to biodiesel?


·         Alternative Fuels Data Center – Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, Govt of USA

·         Alternative Fuels Portal – from Petroleum Equipment Institute

·         Alternative Fuel Station Locator (US)

·         Alternative Fuel Vehicle Directory



What are the key disadvantages of biodiesel?


·         Biodiesel Fuel – from CPast

·         Advantages & Disadvantages of Biodiesel – Fuel Economy



What is the cost of biodiesel vis a vis petro diesel?


·         Projected Production Cost for Diesel Fuel by Feedstock – Dept of Energy, Govt of USA

·         Cost of Biodiesel – from Biodiesel Now Forums

·         Biodiesel Performance, Costs & Use – Dept of Energy, Govt of USA



Can I make biodiesel at home?


·         Make your Own Biodiesel – from Journey to Forever

·         Making Biodiesel Fuel @ Home – Bagel Hole

·         Making Biodiesel at Home – A Resource Guide (PDF)



What is the experience of biodiesel made from waste oil?


·         Fuel from Waste

·         Urban Waste to Biodiesel Initiative (PDF)

·         On Farm Biodiesel Production from Waste Vegetable Oil (PDF)



How much biodiesel would be required to completely replace petro-diesel? What % of this is available currently?


The current world consumption of petro-fuels is about 12 Million Tons per day = about 5 billion T per annum. Since the energy provided by biodiesel is slightly (about 10%) lower than that of petro-fuels, the world would require about 5.5 billion T of bio-diesel to completely replace petro-diesel, at the current levels of consumption. The total world production of vegetable oils was only about 0.06 billion T in 2005. That is, the total production of vegetable oil in the world is just one-hundredth of what will be required for complete replacement. It is easy to see that it very early days for biodiesel. (see also: What is Biodiesel – from Becon, Iowa State University)



What are the likely scenarios with regard to biodiesel usage in future?


·         Biofuels & the Future – Possible Scenarios –

·         Managing Future Fuels Complexity (PDF)

·         Future Energy Development - Wikipedia



What is the chemical structure of biodiesel?


·         Biodiesel Transesterification – Iowa State University (PDF)

·         The Chemistry & Efficiency of Producing Biodiesel (PDF)



Can biodiesel be produced at lower costs at much higher capacities – economies of scale?


·         Feasibility Study for a Michigan Biodiesel Plant (PDF)

·         Vegetable Oils Fuels – form Govt of Alberta, Canada



What are the various forms of bio-energy?


·         Bio-energy – from BioPortal, Canada

·         Hot Links to Bioenergy – from Discover Solar Energy



Are there any changes I should make to my diesel engine in order to use biodiesel?


Biodiesel can be used without any changes to a diesel engine.



Are there more biodiesel FAQs on the web?


·         Biodiesel FAQ – from

·         Biodiesel FAQ – from Ecology Center

·         Biodiesel FAQ from Argent Energy

·         Biodiesel FAQ from SeaPort Biofuels

·         Biodiesel FAQ – from Vermont Biofuels



Are there alternative methods of biodiesel processing/manufacture currently being contemplated?


Transesterification is the main process that is used to make biodiesel from plant and vegetable oils. The alternative methods (to transesterification) are:


·         dilution of 25 parts of vegetable oil with 75 parts of diesel fuel

·         microemulsions with short chain alcohols (e.g. ethanol or methanol)

·         thermal decomposition, which produces alkanes, alkenes, carboxylic acids and aromatic compounds

·         catalytic cracking, which produces alkanes, cycloalkanes and alkylbenzenes



Tell me more about Biodiesel blends with petro-diesel/gasoline?


·         Blends – from Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, Govt of USA

·         Biodiesel Blends in Microturbines (PDF)

·         Biodiesel Info from CICCA



Are there biodiesel glossaries online?


·         Biodiesel Glossary – from DFW Biodiesel

·         Biodiesel Glossary – from Spinninglobe

·         Glossary of Biodiesel Production – from Planet Fuels

·         Biodiesel Glossary – from Boulder Biodiesel

·         Glossary of Biodiesel Terms – form Biodiesel Homekit



What are the legacy petro companies response to biodiesel?


·         Oilheat Dealers Consider Offering Bioheat

·         Setting a National Standard for Biodiesel – Australian Institute of Petroleum (PDF)

·         Biodiesel Boosted by Big Oil? – from Tree Hugger



Which are the major companies foraying into biodiesel?


·         2005 Biodiesel Industry Directory

·         Biodiesel Oil Distributors – United States



What are the market segments for biodiesel?


Market Segment - Electricity Generation


·         Biodiesel for Electricity Generation – from

·         Alternative Fuels for Transport & Electricity Generation (PDF)

·         The Use of Palm Oil for Electricity Generation in the Amazon Region (PDF)


Market Segment - Farming


·         Biodiesel in the Farm Market Segment – form

·         Biodiesel Farming Forum – from Biodiesel Now

·         Biodiesel for All Farm Equipment – Long Meadow Ranch News


Market Segment - Fleets


·         Biodiesel for Fleets – from

·         Biodiesel Offers Fleets a Better Alternative to Petroleum Diesel – World (PDF)

·         San Francisco Tour Company Switches to Biodiesel


Market Segment - Heating Oil


·         Biodiesel as Home Heating Oil –

·         Bioheating Oil – from Journey to Forever

·         Heat your Home with Biodiesel – Mother Earth News

·         Biodiesel for Home Heating – form Green Car Congress


Market Segment - Marine


·         Biodiesel in the Marine Industry –

·         Biodiesel for Marine Operations – SEA 02

·         Biodiesel for Marine Use – from Sport Fishing



Are there Biodiesel publications & magazines online?


·         Biodiesel Fuels Publications – from National Renewable Energy Laboratories

·         Render Magazine



Can Biodiesel help mitigate global warming?


·         Fight Global Warming from Home

·         Evaluation of the Comparable Energy, Global Warming & Socio-economic Costs & Benefits of Biodiesel (PDF)

·         Global Warming Solutions – Blue Water Network (PDF)





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Section 20. Biodiesel Breakthroughs


The following links provide inputs on the recent breakthroughs in the field of biodiesel





Fun Facts – A recent breakthrough could mean diesel fuel could be produced from coal economically. This could provide a breather of about 50 years during which alternative technologies such as biodiesel could be perfected.






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Section 21. Biodiesel Links A-Z





























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Section 22. Biodiesel Data & Stats




Did you know? Algae are expected to yield 200 times the oil than most other field crops




Biodiesel‘s has physical properties very similar to conventional diesel (source: Alternative Fuels Data Center, Department of Energy, Govt of USA)


Biodiesel's Physical Characteristics

Specific gravity

0.87 to 0.89

Kinematic viscosity @ 40°C

3.7 to 5.8

Cetane number

46 to 70

Higher heating value (btu/lb)

16,928 to 17,996

Sulfur, wt%

0.0 to 0.0024

Cloud point °C

-11 to 16

Pour point °C

-15 to 13

Iodine number

60 to 135

Lower heating value (btu/lb)

15,700 to 16,735



Typical Extraction Yields of Oil from Oilseeds


(Kg of oil from 100 Kg of oilseed)


Oilseed           Extraction


Castor            36
Palm               36

Rapeseed       37

Soybean         14

Sunflower       32



Yield of Various Plant Oils


Crop             Oil in Liters per hectare


Castor            1413

Sunflower       952

Safflower        779

Palm               5950   

Soy                446

Coconut          2689



Some Gasoline/Petrol & Diesel Facts:


Sulfur Content: 0.05 percent maximum allowed for diesel


Density: 7.076 lb/gal (diesel)  6.15 lb/gal (gasoline)


Heating Values: Diesel: 19300 Btu/lb (136,567 Btu/gal); Gasoline: 20300 Btu/lb (124,845 Btu/gal) - Approximately 45-47 GJ/T



American standard testing methods (ASTM) tests and limits for Diesel fuels


Test ASTM                                Test No.                  ASTM limits for no. 2 Diesel fuel


Carbon residue (wt.%)               D 524                      0.35 % max.

Cetane no.                                 D 613                       40 min.

Distillation range (K)                  D 86                         555–611

Flash point (K)                           D 93                        325 min.

Higher heating value (MJ kg_1)  D 2015                     45.2 min.

Viscosity (mm2 s_1)                  D 445                       1.9–4.1



Kinematic Viscosity Specs & Standards


Specifications: (viscosities in mm2/s)


Europe Petrodiesel: 2.0–4.5

Europe Biodiesel : 3.5–5.0

US specification of viscosity for low-sulfur No.2 diesel fuel: 1.9-4.1 mm2/s  (this is the fuel that is biodiesel is most often compared to)

US Specification for No. 1 diesel fuel is 1.3–2.4 mm2/s.

Most alkyl esters of vegetable oils have kinematic viscosities less than 5.0 mm2/s.




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Section 23. Biofuel Reference


Classes of Biofuels


Solid Biofuels


There are many forms of solid biomass that are combustible as a fuel such as:


·         Wood

·         Straw and other dried plants

·         Animal waste such as poultry droppings or cattle dung

·         Crops such as maize, rice, soybean, peanut and cotton (usually just the husks or shells) & sugarcane- or agave-derived bagasse.


      Liquid Biofuels


There are also a number of liquid forms of biomass that can be used as a fuel:


·         Bioalcohols

·         Ethanol – usually produced from sugarcane, also from corn

·         Methanol, which is currently produced from natural gas, can also be produced from biomass. The methanol economy is an interesting alternative to the hydrogen economy

·         Butanol, formed by A.B.E. fermentation (Acetone, Butanol Ethanol) and experimental modifications of the ABE process show potentially high net energy gains. Butanol can be burned "straight" in existing gasoline engines (without modification to the engine or car), produces more energy and is less corrosive and less water soluble than ethanol, and can be distributed via existing infrastructures.


·         Biologically produced oils (bio-oils) can be used in diesel engines

·         Straight vegetable oil (SVO)

·         Waste vegetable oil (WVO)

·         Biodiesel obtained from transesterification of animal fats and vegetable oil, directly usable in petroleum diesel engines


·         Oils produced from various wastes

·         Thermal depolymerization from waste materials can extract methane and oil similar to petroleum

·         Methane and oils are being extracted from landfill wells and leachate in test sites



Gaseous Biofuels


·         Bio-methane produced by the natural decay of garbage or agricultural manure can be collected for use as fuel

    • It is also possible to estimate the number of animals needed for desirable size of biogas driven engine with Biogas Calculator

·         Wood gas can be extracted from wood and used in petrol engines.

·         Hydrogen can be produced in water electrolysis or, less ecologically, by cracking any hydrocarbon fuel in a reformer, some fermentation processes also produce hydrogen, such as A.B.E. fermentation

·         Gasification, that produces carbon monoxide.




Energy Content of Biofuels


The specific energy densities ( in MJ/kg) of various fuels


Solid Fuels


·        Wood  Fuel – 16-21


Liquid Fuels


·        Methanol – 20-23

·        Ethanol – 24-27

·        Butanol - 36

·        Biodiesel - 38


Gaseous Fuels


·        Methane – 55-56

·        Hydrogen – 120-140


Fossil Fuels (for comparison)


·        Coal – 29-34





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Section 24. Fossil Fuel Energy – Limitations & Crises




Did you know? Oil stocks will get depleted by about 2150 AD at current consumption rates







Fun Facts – Petroleum literally means “rock oil”, derived from the Latin words petra (rock) and oleum (oil).





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The Biodiesel WWW Encyclopedia Web Co-ordinator: Narasimhan Santhanam ( [email protected] )


© 2005 – 06, – Castor Oil, Castor Chemicals & Castor Oil Derivatives Resource