Biodiesel: What it is. How it Can Help Engine Performance

This video is part of a series of webcasts that focuses on providing information on the role that biomass-based fuels have in helping companies work toward their lower carbon targets.

Kelsey Erickson (KE), Chevron Team Lead, Quality, provides insights on biodiesel and how it can be used to help lower lifecycle carbon intensity today.

If your company is exploring lower carbon fuel solutions, did you know that biodiesel is one of the easiest and most effective fuel options you can incorporate into your fleet operations?

As Chevron continues to provide lower carbon fuel solutions for our customers, one of the most readily available options is biodiesel.

Q: What is biodiesel?

KE: Biodiesel is a renewable, biodegradable fuel manufactured from vegetable oils, animal fats or recycled restaurant grease, commonly referred to as used cooking oil. 

What makes biodiesel different than petroleum diesel is that biodiesel is made from a variety of feedstocks including renewable resources that are largely plant-based, with their energy coming from the sun instead of fossil fuels.

These feedstocks are often diverted waste or byproducts from other industries, providing a new use rather than going to a landfill. In fact, biodiesel’s lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions are estimated to be up to 86% lower than those of petroleum diesel due to the recycling of carbon already in the atmosphere versus releasing additional carbon during traditional petroleum refining.

Q: What makes biodiesel easy for fleets to incorporate?

KE: Fleets in many segments are running millions of miles a year using biodiesel. One of the reasons all of these fleets use biodiesel is because it’s considered a convenient, drop-in fuel. That means it can be used in most existing diesel vehicles and fueling infrastructure, giving diesel fleets a solution for lowering lifecycle carbon emissions quickly using their existing equipment.

Q: How does biodiesel affect engine performance?

KE: Compared with petroleum diesel, biodiesel fuel can help engine performance through higher Cetane, added lubricity and more complete combustion, resulting in a lower carbon burn that puts less material in diesel particulate filters.

The process of creating Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD) involves the removal of the sulfur in diesel fuel, resulting in a reduction in the lubricity of the fuel. Blending as little as 2% biodiesel replaces that lubricity which can help performance. Proper lubricity management can also help engines run smoother, cooler and more quietly. Modern diesel engines, when using ULSD, rely on a fuel additive to aid in the lubricating process and provide protection against wear and damage. Increased lubricity can help lower maintenance costs by reducing wear on moving parts such as pumps and injectors.

Watch the full webcast to learn more about biodiesel.