Environmental Benefits of Biodiesel

Creating a cleaner world with lower-carbon fuel.

Biodiesel is a renewable, cleaner-burning diesel fuel replacement for any diesel engine. Made from abundant, diverse resources, biodiesel is America’s only commercially available advanced biofuel. By nature, biofuel is kinder to our environment than petroleum diesel — making it one of the most practical and cost-effective ways to immediately address climate change.

Biodiesel is a breath of fresh air.
Biodiesel contains virtually no sulfur or aromatic compounds that are unsafe to breathe. In 2000, biodiesel became the only alternative fuel in the country to have successfully completed the EPA-required Tier I and Tier II health-effects testing under the Clean Air Act. These independent tests conclusively showed biodiesel does not pose a threat to human health — and demonstrated biodiesel’s significant reduction of virtually all regulated emissions:

  • Reduces lifecycle greenhouse gases by up to 86%.1
  • Lowers particulate matter by 47%,1 reducing smog and making our air healthier to breathe.
  • Reduces hydrocarbon emissions by 67%.1

Biodiesel helps with water conservation.
Biodiesel itself is nontoxic and biodegradable, so it poses no risk to our nation’s water supply. In fact, biodiesel production reduces wastewater by 79 percent and hazardous waste by 96 percent.1

A to-go latte takes 26 times more water to produce than a gallon of biodiesel

arm out car window

Biodiesel plays a role in land stewardship.
No crops are grown specifically for biodiesel production — so no land must be cleared. In fact, the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program ensures sustainable resources are used in meeting U.S. renewable fuel usage goals. The EPA only approves renewable fuels for the RFS program if the following criteria are met:

  • Greenhouse gas emissions are significantly reduced, compared to petroleum fuels.
  • It is certified that no land was converted to produce the renewable fuel — protecting forests and native grasslands. 2 “Environmental Benefits of Biodiesel,” National Biodiesel Board.

Biodiesel preserves and protects natural resources.
Biodiesel has a high energy balance. This means for every one unit of energy needed to produce biodiesel, 5.5 units of energy are gained2 — the best balance of any U.S. fuel. In addition, biodiesel can be made from consumer food waste and other agricultural and animal fats — making the most of these resources instead of disposing of them.

Biodiesel is nontoxic and biodegradable.
Tests sponsored by the United States Department of Agriculture confirm that biodiesel is 10 times less toxic than table salt and biodegrades as fast as dextrose — a test sugar.2

 

1 Compared to petroleum diesel. Source: “Biodiesel: Fueling Sustainability,” biodieselsustainability.org.
2 “Environmental Benefits of Biodiesel,” National Biodiesel Board.