What is Biodiesel?
Biodiesel is the name of a clean burning alternative fuel, produced from domestic, renewable resources. It contains no petroleum, but can be blended at any level with petroleum diesel to create a biodiesel blend. Biodiesel can be used in compression-ignition (diesel) engines with little or no modifications. It's simple to use, biodegradable, nontoxic, and essentially free of sulfur and aromatics.
The original biodiesel engine was designed by Rudolf Diesel of Augsburg, Germany in the year 1900. He debuted his prototype engine at the World's Exhibition in Paris, France where he used peanut oil, the first biodiesel. Vegetable oils were used until the 1920's when an alteration to the original engine allowed it to use petroleum diesel. The diesel engine during this time had gained acceptance in the marketplace, however biodiesel never did. The first biodiesel engine was originally intended for use with vegetable oils and animal fats, however because of the low cost of fossil fuels back in those days, Rudolph Diesel's engine never really came to fruition.
Alternative fuels such as biodiesel have been around for years but seem to gain more acceptance during times of fuel shortages such as in the 1970's and even today with high gasoline pump prices.
Biodiesel is a viable alternative to gasoline because it provides better fuel efficiency and burns cleaner, making it good for the environment. It also has a greater lubricity than traditional gasoline making engines last longer. Biodiesel's unit value or it's energy per unit is actually greater than gasoline which allows you to go further on a gallon of diesel fuel.
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