Biodiesel is a renewable fuel made from vegetable oils (such as soybeans or waste cooking oils) and animal fats. It can be used in most unmodified diesel engines. B20 (20% biodiesel, 80% diesel) is the most common biodiesel blend for fleet use.
Biodiesel is nontoxic and biodegradable. The production and use of biodiesel results in a 78.5% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions compared with petroleum diesel (US DOE). Biodiesel has a positive energy balance; for every unit of energy needed to produce one gallon of biodiesel, 3.24 units of energy or more are gained. Biodiesel has positive performance attributes such as increased cetane, high fuel lubricity, and high oxygen content.
Locally, biodiesel is produced commercially by Pacific Biodiesel at its refinery on Hawaii Island. With a nameplate production capacity of 5.5 million gallons annually, Pacific Biodiesel’s Big Island refinery utilizes state-of-the art distillation technology to produce the nation’s highest quality biodiesel and on Earth Day 2016 became the first facility in the world to be certified by the Sustainable Biodiesel Alliance for its sustainable production and distribution practices.