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Biodiesel is the name of a clean-burning alternative fuel, produced from domestic, renewable resources. Biodiesel contains no petroleum, but it can be blended at any level with petroleum diesel to create a biodiesel blend. It can be used in compression-ignition (diesel) engines with little or no modifications. Biodiesel is simple to use, biodegradable, nontoxic, and essentially free of sulfur and aromatics.
TECHNICAL DEFINITIONS-Biodiesel, n - a fuel composed of mono-alkyl esters of long chain fatty acids derived from vegatable oils or animal fats, designated B100, and meeting the requirements of ASTM (American Society for Testing & Materials) D 6751.

Biodiesel can be operated in any diesel engine with little or no modification to the engine or the fuel system. Biodiesel has a solvent effect that may release deposits accumulated on tank walls and pipes from previous diesel fuel storage. The release of deposits may clog filters initially and precautions should be taken. Ensure that only fuel meeting the biodiesel specification (D 6751) is used.

Biodiesel has the highest "energy balance" of any current
transportation fuel. The DOE/USDA lifecycle analysis shows for every unit of fossil energy it takes to make biodiesel, 3.2 units of energy are gained. This takes into account the planting, harvesting, fuel production and fuel transportation to the end user.

by W. J. Gombar December 15, 2007
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