Biodiesel Basics #29 – Understanding the Biodiesel Production Process

Categories: General Info

Most people know what biodiesel is – a renewable fuel made right here in Wisconsin from a variety of feedstocks.  But not as many people know how it is made.  Here are some facts:

  • Biodiesel is made from a process called transesterification – which separates fat or vegetable oil into methyl esters glycerin.
  • Methyl esters is the chemical name for biodiesel, which can be used in diesel engines, while glycerin is sold and used in soap, as a food preservative, or as a thickening agent, amongst other uses.
  • While people frequently refer to vegetable oil used for fuel as “biodiesel,” it is not.  While straight vegetable oil (SVO) can be burned in specially modified diesel engines, biodiesel is a much more refined product that can be used in any diesel engine.
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