Biofuels are the future. However, biofuel, biodiesel, and all of the related terms and ideas can seem unclear without explanation. So what we’ve done is compiled a simple, straightforward glossary of the biofuel world.
Biofuels: The broad category of fuels made from plants. This includes biodiesel, ethanol, and other products made from secondary plant sources like discarded nutshells and waste, or even from algae.
Biodiesel: A biofuel made from plants that can be used as a petroleum diesel substitute. When burned as a fuel, biodiesel produces 80% less carbon emissions than petroleum diesel. It is usually distributed in a blended mix with petroleum diesel.
Fossil Fuels: Fuels that have been geologically sourced, meaning that they have been extracted from below the earth’s surface. They include crude oils, natural gasses, and coal. They are a finite resource and emit harmful gasses into the environment when burned as fuel.
Petroleum Diesel: The crude oil-based fuel for diesel engines. Many cars still run off of diesel, though it is most commonly used to fuel large trucks. It is thicker than gasoline and has a higher energy density.
Ethanol: One of the most common biofuels, used as a substitute and often in blends with gasoline.
Blends: A combination of crude oil-based fuels and biofuels. The most common blends for biodiesel are B5, which is up to 5% biodiesel, and B20, which is up to 20% biodiesel. This is how biodiesel and biofuels are largely consumed, as using 100% biofuels is still not common practice.
Feedstock: The term for the plants and organic material that are used to produce biofuel and biodiesel.
Used Cooking Oil: The vegetable oil collected from restaurant fryolators, which is one of the primary feedstocks for biodiesel production. New Leaf Biofuel uses used cooking oil to produce our biodiesel. Cooking oil collection is a service New Leaf Biofuel offers to restaurants in the area.
Transesterification: The chemical process of converting used cooking oil, animal fats, or other vegetable oil into biodiesel.