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See also: Diesel engine

Biodiesel, also known as biofuel,[1]is a renewable, natural, vegetable based fuel alternative produced exclusively for diesel engines and comprised primarily of soy, corn oil, or hemp oil. It is sometimes produced from animal fats through a process called transesterification.[2]

As a fuel source, it contains no petroleum and is completely environmentally friendly compared to diesel in that it is nontoxic and biodegradable. Biodiesel also burns clean producing significantly fewer harmful pollutants and emissions over regular diesel fuel.[3]

The fuel is produced using an alcohol such as methanol and a chemical process that separates glycerine and methyl esters (biodiesel) from fats or vegetables. One drawback of biodiesel is that growing the crops to produce the fuel is time consuming and requires a substantial investment. As a result, biodiesel is more expensive than petroleum.[4]

Aside from the environmental advantages of biodiesel, as a fuel source is can be used in any diesel engine with little or no modifications. Biodiesel has been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency as an alternative fuel.[5]

The idea of using vegetable oil as an engine fuel was first though of by Rudolph Diesel when he invented the world’s first working diesel engine, which was designed to run on peanut oil.[6]

[edit] References

  1. Biodiesel. Cyberlipid. 2008-09-28.
  2. Biodiesel. Cyberlipid. 2008-09-28.
  3. What is Biodiesel. Wisegeek.com. 2008-09-28.
  4. What is Biodiesel. Wisegeek.com. 2008-09-28.
  5. What is Biodiesel. Wisegeek.com. 2009-09-28.
  6. Biodiesel. Cyberlipid. 2008-09-28.