What is ‘Black Market’ Biodiesel?

We’ve all heard of biodiesel, but what does it mean if someone said that biodiesel is also available on the black market? We all know what the ‘black market’ is. But what role does biodiesel have to play in the ever-growing, black market industry? In this article, we’ll be explaining what biodiesel is, what ‘black market’ biofuel is and how it threatens the green fuel market. Let’s delve deeper into the world of black market biodiesel.


What is biodiesel?

The University of Strathclyde defines biodiesel as being “an alternative fuel similar to conventional or ‘fossil’ diesel. Biodiesel can be produced from straight vegetable oil, animal oil/fats, tallow and waste cooking oil”. Those things are combined together and converted under a method called transesterification. Once the biofuel has been created, it can be used in the same way as diesel – to power vehicles. Biofuel can also be used to power generators and other things, not just to fuel transportation methods.


The definition of ‘black market’ biodiesel

Black market biodiesel refers to the act of mixing regular diesel with biodiesel. It will then subsequently be passed off as “green” fuel, despite it being otherwise. However, it can also refer to the stealing of used cooking oil from restaurants and other establishments . Those stolen supplies will then be used to create biofuel illegally and without following the correct rules and regulations. Although, the mixing together of regular diesel and biodiesel is seeing more harm being done across the world. So how does it threaten the green fuel market in Europe? Let’s take a closer look.


Black market biodiesel: how does it threaten the green fuel market?

There’s a growing concern that black market biofuel is starting to threaten efforts made by the green fuel market. This is down to the cheap imports of biofuel from countries such as Poland, according to the BBC News. However, there are claims that the biofuel coming from Poland is blended with other fluids. But they will still try to pass it off as regular biodiesel. This is done despite it not being up to scratch, states the same source. 

However, in order to battle the issue of black market biodiesel coming from countries such as Poland, the EU’s climate change and energy strategy has specific regulations that mandate the growing amount of fuel from renewable sources, including waste cooking oil, claims the BBC News. This is going to help them with an aim to reduce carbon emissions given off by cars and other vehicles. Despite their best efforts, however, the black market biofuel trade is threatening all of this.

According to the EBB, Poland supplies around 30 million litres of biofuel a month to the European market, making it one of their biggest suppliers. As such, Europe’s biggest biodiesel supplier is providing them with watered-down biofuel that isn’t nearly as effective as pure biodiesel. Essentially, it’s sold at a price which is the cost of the raw material alone. This is instead of charging for the cost of transformation into biodiesel in addition to that. 

It’s not just Poland that is selling black market biofuel

Although, despite all of that, Poland isn’t the only country that dabbles in the black market biofuel trade. Other countries, such as Russia, Belarus and the Baltic states are doing the same thing – mixing regular diesel with biodiesel. Therefore, the biofuel being used isn’t as green as it’s being made out to be. 

As a result, unscrupulous dealers have the opportunity to launder black market diesel. They will then sell this diesel and biodiesel mix to unsuspecting countries, such as France, Belgium and Italy, claims BBC News. The black market biodiesel trade is difficult to combat and it’s unlikely that it will ever be completely eradicated. Despite that, there is still every effort being made to battle the problem. Although it may be a long, up-hill struggle.


How prevalent is the black market biodiesel trade right now?

According to a study, the black market biodiesel trade has begun to develop a more trusted and reputable stance. Whilst we’re still facing an energy crisis, all over the world, biomass energy, including biodiesel, makes up 77.4% of global renewable energy supplies, states the same study. 

However, the reduction in the black market biofuel trade is being put down to the biodiesel prices plummeting at the end of 2023 and into early 2024, according to S&P Global. The issue with that, however, is that not only is it causing black marketing trading to stop, but it’s also putting stress on legitimate biofuel markets, mostly within the European Union, claims the same source.

It’s different in the UK. Not only are there huge biofuel producers in Britain who are experiencing continued success, but there are even bigger household names who are using biodiesel as a way of powering their vehicles, such as McDonalds. The very fact that there are still large companies within the community who are using biofuel shows that the market shows no signs of slowing down. 


Cater Oils is pleased to offer fresh cooking oil supplies to restaurants and other establishments, as well as collected used cooking oil that you no longer want. We’ll do all of thi in exchange for cash or a credit note against a fresh supply of cooking oil, as and when needed. If you would like further information about our cooking oil supplies, or to learn more about our waste cooking oil collection service, get in touch with a member of our friendly, knowledgeable team – we’re always pleased to hear from you.

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