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A Closer Look at Biodiesel

Biodiesel process

Biodiesel is a renewable, oxygenated fuel made from a variety of agricultural resources such as soybeans or rapeseeds.

One of the primary advantages of biodiesel is its renewability. As a renewable, domestic energy source, biodiesel can help reduce dependence on petroleum imports. Biodiesel is also nontoxic, biodegradable, and suitable for sensitive environments.

Biodiesel contains no petroleum but can be blended at any level with petroleum diesel to create a biodiesel blend. Biodiesel refers to the pure alternative fuel before blending with petroleum-based diesel fuel. Biodiesel blends are denoted as "BXX," with "XX" representing the percentage of biodiesel contained in the blend. For example, B20 fuel is a blend of 20 percent biodiesel with 80 percent conventional diesel. B100 is pure biodiesel.

Leading the way
John Deere approved B5 biodiesel for use in our engines in 2001. We were also one of the first off-highway equipment manufacturers to factory fill biodiesel blend in North America. Since then, John Deere has continued to conduct biodiesel research and perform lab and field tests using biodiesel fuel. We have also developed a fuel conditioner for use with biodiesel fuels.

Ensuring quality
As a major manufacturer of diesel engines, we have a vested interest in a consistent, high-quality supply of diesel fuel.

To ensure the quality of biodiesel, the National Biodiesel Board awards the BQ-9000 certification to those marketers and producers who meet strict quality criteria in the areas of storage, sampling, testing, blending, shipping, distribution, and fuel management. Biodiesel users in the U.S. are strongly encouraged to purchase biodiesel blends from a BQ-9000 Certified Marketer and sourced from a BQ-9000 Accredited Producer (as certified by the National Biodiesel Board). Certified Marketers and Accredited Producers can be found at www.bq-9000.org.

Biodiesel benefits
Besides its environmental and energy-security benefits, quality biodiesel results in improved lubricity, minimal sulfur emissions, and reduced aromatics. Biodiesel has a high cetane content for faster ignition. It also produces less visible smoke and lowers the amount of particulate matter, hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and life-cycle carbon dioxide emissions produced by an engine.

At 3.2 to 1, biodiesel has an energy balance ratio higher than most alternative fuels. This means a gallon of biodiesel provides users with 3.2 times the energy it takes to produce it.

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