Biodiesel is an alternative fuel that is clean burning and produced from domestic, renewable materials and can be used in diesel engines.
How it's Made...
Biodiesel is through a chemical process called transeterification, where the glycerine is separated from the vegetable oil leaving behind two products. Biodiesel and glycerine. Biodiesel does not contain mineral diesel but can be mixed with mineral diesel to produce a biodiesel blend.
We believe that the biggest feature about biodiesel fuel is that is it environmentally-friendly, which is not found in many traditional fuels. Biodiesel is made from renewable resources which mean it is safe for the environment. It does not produce the high emissions like traditional fuels. Biodiesel does not cause harmful effects to the environment that will produce lasting effects on our future generations
An example of a simple production flow chart is proved below with a brief explanation of each step.
Biodiesel in your car
Biodiesel, in theory, can go into all diesel engines as the diesel engine itself was designed to run on plant oil. However it is the parts attached to the diesel engine which could potentially cause problems – although the vast majority of diesels on the road are fine running on 100% biodiesel. In reality, the rule of thumb is you can use 100% biodiesel in any diesel built between 1990-2004, but be aware that a one-off fuel filter change will be needed after you first make the transition (and any mix of biodiesel and fossil diesel is OK too).
We would recommend that cars built after 2004 should run on a 50% blend not 100%. Be aware too that biodiesel made from waste cooking oil will freeze in winter and so from November to April one should blend that kind of Biodiesel at 50% as well. However, Biodiesel made from a Rapeseed crop (RME) will not freeze and can be used at 100% all year round in the UK. Please note that it is advisable to purchase biodiesel with EN14214 specification that gives you some guarantee of quality. In short – to be safe, use RME Biodiesel at EN14214 in a car built between 1990 and 2004 and then you can be carbon neutral all year without problems!
In terms of official compatibility, despite the majority of diesel vehicles on the road being fine on 100%, only a handful of companies will officially approve their vehicles for 100% use.