Biodiesel Basics #18: 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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