Biodiesel Vehicles for Sale, New and Used
Biodiesel Blends -You may see the terms B20 or B100. That simply shows the percentage of Biodiesel in the fuel mix. B20 is 20% Biodiesel and 80% diesel produced from petroleum, while B100 is 100% Biodiesel. Blends that are 20% or less of Biodiesel (B2-B20 ) are considered safe for use in most diesel engines, but you should first check with your manufacturer to see if they will honor their warranty if you use biodiesel.
What is Biodiesel?Biodiesel is a renewable fuel source that can be made from vegetable oil or animal fat (even used oil or old french fry grease). Biodiesel contains about 1% more energy than a gallon of gasoline, but only about 92% the energy found in #2 diesel fuel. Biodiesel is a little more complicated to produce than simply filtering and burning used oil (grease) in your diesel engine.
Biodiesel AdvantagesThe main advantage of biodiesel, is the fact that it is made from a renewable resource. It is even more attractive when you consider the fact that it can be made from waste oils and fats Waste oils that would otherwise be sent to the land fill or that are costly to remove when treating waste water. Also, since the new requirements for low Sulfur diesel have gone into effect, additives are need to insure proper engine lubrication. But by adding even low amounts of Biodiesel (B2), further lubrication may not be needed.
Biodiesel DisadvantagesBiodiesel (in high concentrations) has a tendency to slowly destroy rubber gaskets, so engine modifications (including non-rubber gaskets) are needed to run concentrations greater than B20. Also, it is recommended that fuel filters be changed often. Another disadvantage is due the fact that the demand for biodiesel is growing so fast, that new, food grade oils are being converted into fuel and will lead to higher food costs.
Biodiesel StationsThere are currently at least 612 stations in the U.S. that sell B20 biodiesel. North Carolina has the most stations (142), Tennessee has 46 and California has 38 stations. There are 16 states with at least 10 stations and 35 states (and Wash DC) with less than 10 stations. Three states do not have any Biodiesel stations; Minnesota, Wisconsin and Vermont.
Carls Jr & McDonalds go BiodieselSo if the base resource to produce biodiesel is used fry oil, are any of the big producers of used oil envolved with making biodiesel? Short answer - Yes. The Carl's Jr. restaurants (CKE Restaurants, Inc. owned by MJKL LLC) began using used fry oil from their restaurants in May, 2007, with the goal of fueling all their vehicles in Arizona by 2010. Seems that they have established a national foundation; The Golden Door Foundation to enhance the "visability of biofuels". I tried checking with the Golden Door Foundation website to see how they were doing with their goal. How many vehicles were actually using biodiesel? and were they including other states in addition to Arizona? Were they using B20, B85 or B100?...but alas... the website is still under construction. So stay tuned...
Also, McDonalds (of UK) in July of 2007 also announced they were going to fuel their entire UK fleet (over 150 trucks) with biodiesel made from their waste oil. They even seemed to think they would be able to make more biodiesel than they could use, so they would also begin selling biodiesel. To start, the biodiesel was comprised of 15% from used oil and 85% from new canola oil, with the goal of transitioning to 100% used fryer oil. Since then, they have also begun the programs in other European countries (Austria and Malta) and were looking into the feasibility of also starting a biodiesel program in the U.S. If they can do it anywhere, why not in the U.S.?
Kudos to both Carls Jr and McDonalds for being the first. So what about some of the other restaurants with large amounts of waste oil. Seems like a better idea to reuse the waste oil for fuel instead of sending it to the land fill.
Other Biodiesel CompaniesThere are also stories about new companies like Philadelphia Fry-O-Diesel and Green Grease Monkey that collect waste grease from restaurants to make biodiesel. This is also good for the restaurants, since many of them still pay someone to take the grease to the dump. One man's trash is another mans treasure. A better option than paying to have it removed may simply be to leave outside where people can see it. Restaurants have begun reporting that their used oil is being stolen. Seems to me that if you own a restaurant and are paying someone to truck away your used oil, you are being abused.
National Biodiesel Board