Go Blue Sun Trade Exclusives

Blue Sun Biodiesel vs. Diesel

The U. S. economy relies heavily on diesel-powered vehicles for transportation and industry.

• Diesel represents 20% of all US transportation fuel consumption, or 56 billion gallons per year.
• Diesel engines provide the power to move 94% of all freight in the U.S
• 95% of all transit buses and heavy construction machinery use diesel.
• Every day, diesel power transports 14 million children to school, moves 18 million tons of
freight and moves 14 million US commuters via bus.
• The diesel engine is 30% to 200% more efficient and more durable by 50% to 300% than the gasoline engine.
back to top

Engine Performance with Biodiesel
Please see data chart for detailed performance specifications.

Biodiesel offers similar power to diesel fuel
One of the major advantages of biodiesel is the fact that it can be used in existing engines and fuel injection equipment with little impact on operating performance. Biodiesel has a higher cetane number than U.S. diesel fuel, which makes it ignite faster, with less engine noise. In over 15 million miles of in-field testing, biodiesel showed similar fuel consumption, horsepower, torque, and haulage rates as conventional diesel fuel.

Biodiesel provides more lubricity than petroleum diesel
Lubricity - or the ability to reduce friction -- reduces wear and tear on the engine, and ultimately the cost of maintaining diesel fleets. Even biodiesel levels below 1% can provide up to a 65 percent increase in lubricity in distillate fuels. Mandated EPA reductions of sulfur by the year 2006 will reduce the lubricity of petroleum diesel fuels and require an additive; biodiesel can fill that role, even at very low percentages, such as B2, or 2% biodiesel.

Biodiesel in cold weather.
Cold weather can cloud and even gel any diesel fuel, including biodiesel. Users of a 20 percent biodiesel blend will experience an increase of the cold flow properties (cold filter plugging point, cloud point, pour point) of approximately 3 to 5° Fahrenheit. Users implement the same solutions as they would with Number 2 diesel fuel: blend with Number 1 diesel (kerosene), use cold flow enhancing additives, turn on fuel filter or fuel line heaters, or store vehicles in or near a building.

Fuel Economy
Blue Sun fleet and retail customers have reported fuel economy increases using Blue Sun B20 compare with petroleum diesel.

Engine Warranties
Most major engine companies have stated formally that use of blends up to B20 will not void their parts and workmanship warranties.

Energy Independence
Energy balance is a measure of lifecycle efficiency; improving our energy balance increases energy independence. Biodiesel is far more efficient in its lifetime use of fossil fuels than petroleum diesel, taking into account cradle to grave production, transportation and distribution. This factor is referred to as "energy balance," and indicates that biodiesel is one solution to global warming, since it displaces fossil fuels. According to a report by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Department of Agriculture, the "energy yield of biodiesel is (3.2/0.83) 280 percent greater than petroleum diesel fuel. Biodiesel yields 3.2 units of fuel product energy for every unit of fossil energy consumed in its life cycle...By contrast, petroleum diesel's life cycle yields only 0.83 units of fuel energy per unit of fossil energy consumed."

Biodiesel potential to reduce foreign oil consumption
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory, which studies the technology and market potential of alternative fuels, estimates the total market potential of biodiesel -- using current technology and agricultural capacity -- to be 1.5 billion gallons. A biodiesel market at this level could replace 10% of current on-road U.S. diesel consumption.

It is estimated that 53% of US dollars spent on crude oil leave the country, contributing to huge trade deficits and jeopardizing our national security through the vulnerability of critical energy supplies.

back to top

The National Biodiesel Board has published the following rationale for biodiesel:

"With agricultural commodity prices approaching record lows, and petroleum prices approaching record highs, it is clear that more can be done to utilize domestic surpluses of vegetable oils while enhancing our energy security. Because biodiesel can be manufactured using existing industrial production capacity, and used with conventional equipment, it provides substantial opportunity for immediately addressing our energy security issues.

If the true cost of using foreign oil were imposed on the price of imported fuel, renewable fuels, such as biodiesel, probably would be the most viable option. For instance, in 1996, it was estimated that the military costs of securing foreign oil was $57 billion annually. Foreign tax credits accounted for another estimated $4 billion annually and environmental costs were estimated at $45 per barrel. For every billion dollars spent on foreign oil, America lost 10,000 - 25,000 jobs."


(NBB, 2003)

back to top