Renewable Diesel Basics

Renewable Diesel Production

Renewable diesel is made from the same renewable resources as biodiesel but uses a different production process. The result is a renewable fuel that is more like petroleum diesel and meets the same ASTM D975 specification.

Renewable diesel is a newer alternative fuel on the market but has quickly become popular because it effectively reduces carbon emissions, delivers strong performance and has up to 85% less sulfur than ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD). As lower carbon air regulations and targets become more common, this fuel will likely continue to grow in popularity.

Renewable Diesel vs. Biodiesel

Renewable diesel and biodiesel have similarities. The fuels are made from the same feedstocks and offer lower carbon emissions than petroleum diesel. In addition, it can be used in virtually any existing diesel equipment.

One factor that makes renewable diesel different from biodiesel is in the production process and specifications. In biodiesel production, the feedstock is reacted with methanol to produce fatty acid methyl esters (FAME). With renewable diesel, the feedstock is reacted with hydrogen during a process called hydrotreating. Renewable diesel is a two-step process, compared with just one step for biodiesel. 

Benefits of Renewable Diesel

  • Exceptional Cetane number which is an indication of combustion quality.

Cetane is greater than 65 compared to the Federal diesel specification limit of 40

  • Reduced engine emissions, including NOx, carbon monoxide and particulate matter, plus virtually no sulfur
  • Desirable Cloud Point

Cloud Point is typically less than -10°C, while winter pipeline spec limits for diesel are around 10°C

  • Renewable diesel can be blended at various levels with either petroleum diesel or biodiesel

Renewable diesel blends well with high-quality biodiesel and blending the two fuels capture the best properties of each: high Cetane for better combustion, increased lubricity, lower emissions and an excellent cloud point. Chevron Renewable Energy Group calls our combination of renewable diesel and biodiesel product called UltraClean BlenD™.