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The Uses of Biodiesel

Biodiesel can be used as a replacement for #2 petrodiesel. It can be used at a 100% concentration (B100), or or it can be blended with petrodiesel at any percentage by volume. B100 means 100% biodiesel, while B20 means a blend of 20% biodiesel and 80% petrodiesel.

Biodiesel for transportation

  • Biodiesel can be used in all vehicles that use diesel #2 fuel. This includes cars, trucks, heavy machinery, boats, farm equipment, trains, and even aircraft!
  • B100 (100% biodiesel) can be used in diesel vehicles, but B100 may cause failure of car components such as hoses and gaskets made of natural rubber. This is usually not a problem since most manufacturers switched to synthetic materials in the 1990s. B20 minimizes any such risks.

Biodiesel for building and home heating

  • Biodiesel can be used in standard oil-fired furnace or boilers in homes and buildings for heating.
  • B100 is a possible fuel source, but again care must be taken to ensure that rubber seals and other components are not affected. A blend of B20 is much safer.
  • Storage of biodiesel is important in this case since the pour point (the temperature at which biodiesel will not pour) is higher than petrodiesel. Thus biodiesel must be stored in a warm area.

Biodiesel for Combined Heat and Power facilities (CHP)

  • CHP facilities are plants designed to produce both heat and electricity from a single heat source. The electricity produced can be sold to the local power grid. Straight vegetable oil and biodiesel can both be used as the fuel source for CHP plants.