The simplest biodiesel definition would be a form of diesel fuel that does less damage to our environment compared to standard diesel fuel. Biodiesel is usually manufactured from vegetable oils through a chemical process called transesterification.
All newer vehicles are able to use biodiesel. In most cases biodiesel is not used in its pure form (B100) but rather blended with standard diesel. This is mostly because standard diesel outperforms pure biodiesel in dealing with low temperatures and is also thought to have better impact on engine durability.
There are several different methods that enable blending standard diesel fuel with biodiesel though the most common is mixing it in tanks at manufacturing point prior to delivery to tanker truck.
Why use biodiesel instead of standard diesel fuel? As already said before biodiesel is more environmentally friendly compared to standard diesel, and not only that, biodiesel is also biodegradable and nontoxic.
In terms of comparing the level of CO2 emissions of biodiesel and standard diesel, biodiesel emerges as a clean winner by creating up to 75% less CO2 emissions compared to standard diesel. What this means is that by using more biodiesel instead of standard diesel we could reduce the impact of climate change.
Using biodiesel instead of standard diesel would not only help our environment but would also help improve our energy independence and our energy security. The downside of using more biodiesel is the fact that biodiesel is still mostly produced from food crops which could in the worst case scenario lead to increased food prices and even more hunger in the world. This is the main reason why scientists are looking at various other potential biodiesel feedstocks such as for instance algae.