What is Biodiesel & How is it Made?

You may have heard of the term “biodiesel” before, but have you ever wondered what it is and how it’s made? Biodiesel can be produced through the use of cooking oil, whether it be pure, uncontaminated cooking oil or waste cooking oil. Companies like us here at Cater Oils will provide a waste cooking oil collection service, whereby the used oil will be sent for biodiesel production. If you’re not sure where to begin when it comes to learning about biodiesel, then you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll be discussing what it is, how it’s made and how it’s used within the local community. So let’s get started:
Bio-Diesel Waste Oil Collection Tanker

What is biodiesel?

Biodiesel is a fuel type that is considered to be a more sustainable and eco-friendly alternative to traditional fossil fuels. It can be produced through the use of pure vegetable oil, animal fats, tallow and waste vegetable oil. The process used to convert these oils and/or fats into biodiesel is known as transesterification.

Once the materials needed to make biodiesel have gone through this process, you’re left with a renewable fuel that is non-petroleum based and isn’t remotely as harmful to the environment as conventional diesel fuel. Currently, there are two different types of biofuel used in vehicles: bioethanol and biodiesel, although biodiesel is far more common in today’s society at present.

What are the benefits of biodiesel?

Now that you’ve learnt a bit more about biodiesel, you might have already identified one way in which its use is beneficial to society – it’s eco-friendly when compared to other fuel types on the market. However, the idea that it doesn’t give off emissions that are anywhere near as harmful as those given off by conventional diesel fuel provides a few other advantages, other than being safe for the planet. With that in mind, here are some more benefits that biodiesel has to offer:

  • It’s better all round for Public Health
  • It helps to protect the environment and the planet
  • Engine operation and longevity is enhanced as biodiesel improves fuel lubricity, causing less wear and tear on engine parts and components
  • Engine performance is very-much enhanced as biodiesel is high performing
  • It reduces greenhouse gases effectively
  • It’s generally safe to use and causes less damage than petroleum or diesel
  • It’s more energy efficient than conventional fuel types
  • It reduces dependence on foreign oil supplies
  • It’s renewable and sustainable
  • It prevents waste oil from being disposed of incorrectly, therefore protecting drains and sewage works
  • It’s cheaper than conventional fuel types

How is biodiesel used in the community?

Biodiesel is used for a variety of different things within the community. From powering lorries to bringing restaurant supplies to lowering carbon footprints throughout the local vicinity, there are a variety of ways in which biodiesel can help the community, no matter where you live. Just some of those ways include the following:

  • It’s an eco-friendly energy source that can be used by everyone
  • It helps to create jobs for local people
  • It supports local economies
  • It can be used in a variety of industries, such as: agriculture, transportation and heating
  • It reduces the carbon footprint of countless businesses in the area
  • It protects drains and pipework as oil isn’t being wrongly disposed of

How is biodiesel made?

Here at Cater Oils, our biodiesel is made from waste cooking oil. For every litre of waste cooking oil that’s processed, a litre of biodiesel is produced as a result. When it comes to using cooking oil to fuel vehicles, there are mainly two different types of cooking oil that can be used to create biodiesel: waste vegetable oil (WVO) and straight vegetable oil (SVO). SVO is pure vegetable oil that hasn’t been modified in any way, whereas WVO, as the name would suggest, involves using waste vegetable oil to create biodiesel.

When it comes to producing biodiesel, it’s done by chemically reacting pure vegetable oil, or animal fats in some cases, with methanol, although sodium hydroxide is used as a catalyst. The equation that’s used to produce biodiesel is highly-complex and, in its entirety, it only really applies to pure vegetable oil or animal fats.

When it comes to waste cooking oil, things become a little more complicated. This is because there are a few contaminants involved, including the presence of water. Luckily for those creating biodiesel from waste cooking oil, the water will fall out, in a way, of the oil when heat is applied. If, however, any water is left behind in the oil after heating, it’s likely to be washed out of the solution later on in the process.

Cater Oils is pleased to collect used cooking oil from domestic and commercial properties, turning it into biodiesel for use throughout the community. In addition to collecting waste cooking oil, we can also provide customers with fresh cooking oil supplies, ensuring you always have fresh cooking oil on hand whenever you need it. If you would like further information about the used cooking oil collection services we have available, get in touch with a member of our friendly, knowledgeable team today – we’re always pleased to hear from you.

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