Renewable Diesel Vs Biodiesel

renewable diesel vs biodiesel

The debate between renewable diesel and biodiesel is raging, as the two fuels are gaining popularity among drivers and industry experts. Among the main questions that a driver should ask is: "What's better for our planet?" The answer is largely a matter of personal preference, but some important considerations include Carbon footprint, Energy density, and Pipeline fungibility. Let's take a look.

Carbon footprint

While the production of renewable diesel and biodiesel is similar, they differ in terms of their carbon footprint. While biodiesel is produced from used cooking oil, its emissions are high due to its production, transport, and consumption. In contrast, electricity produced in biorefineries is low in carbon intensity - 83 gCO2e/MJ in 2020, assuming that the grid is predominantly renewable.

Renewable diesel fuel is made from a mixture of natural hydrocarbons, such as plant and animal fats, and is less carbon intensive than diesel. Studies by the California Air Resources Board have shown that biodiesel is a better choice for reducing carbon than diesel fuel. Researchers at Michigan Engineering's W.E. Lay Automotive Laboratory, which is dedicated to developing new energy solutions, have provided videos to educate the public on this issue.

Unlike diesel, which travels on highways, trains are better for the environment. They are 3-4 times more efficient than trucks and can reduce GHG emissions by as much as 75%. Renewable diesel is transported by rail in tank cars, which are the equivalent of three trucks. Because it is shipped by rail, biofuels can be transported to locations without track infrastructure. It is even more efficient financially to ship biodiesel via rail.

Despite their similarities, both renewable diesel and biodiesel can be used in automobiles. Biodiesel is a renewable fuel that has a low carbon footprint and does not gel in cold weather. While biodiesel may be cheaper, renewable diesel is made from the same feedstocks. Renewable diesel, on the other hand, does not require blending. Instead, it is chemically identical to petroleum diesel, so its benefits are more than justified.


The question of cost of renewable diesel vs biodieseL is becoming increasingly important as we look for ways to reduce global climate emissions and use more sustainable fuels. Biodiesel, also known as R99, is a product made from organic waste streams, such as seed fats and animal fats. It is more like a blend than a pure product, and it reduces the amount of fossil fuel it contains, while reducing carbon emissions.

Biodiesel is produced through transesterification of vegetable oil, whereas renewable diesel is created by hydrotreating vegetable oils. Hydrotreating removes compounds and metals from the feedstocks and produces a more pure and more refined product than biodiesel. It is often cheaper than petroleum diesel, and biodiesel has a higher quality. This is one of the primary differences between renewable diesel and petroleum diesel.

The cost of producing renewable diesel depends on the source of the feedstock. Biodiesel produced from sustainable sources typically costs more than biodiesel produced from virgin oil crop feedstocks. The former captures more value ($400-600/MT) and is therefore better priced than biodiesel produced from virgin oil crops. Similarly, biodiesel produced from used cooking oil, sourced from sustainable sources, has much lower costs.

In the oil and gas industry, renewable diesel has numerous advantages over petroleum diesel fuel. It is cleaner-burning than petroleum diesel, and is better for the environment. Furthermore, because it contains no oxygen, it is suitable for cold-weather drilling operations. It also powers the lighting and air conditioning equipment of construction crews. Ultimately, renewable diesel will save the planet. This is a key benefit for a drilling company, and a reason to make the switch to renewable diesel.

Energy density

The two types of fuel have a number of key differences. Biodiesel is a petroleum-based product, and renewable diesel is derived from biomass feedstocks. While both fuels have similar properties, renewable diesel has several distinct advantages over biodiesel. It has higher energy density, improved cold flow properties, and no special logistics or blending limitations. For consumers, these are significant advantages.

The production of biofuels is not possible without sufficient arable land. The US DOE estimates that biodiesel production requires a replacement area of one-fifth that of conventional food crops. However, in the case of biodiesel, the yield per acre of land is far less than that of traditional food crops. Biodiesel production requires more land than food crops, and its production requires exponentially more energy. In addition, the waste products from biodiesel production are far greater than those from petrodiesel.

Biodiesel is produced from plant materials, like soybean oil. It requires a process called transesterification. Alcohol replaces ester atoms, which creates fatty acid methyl esters. The end product is a hydrocarbon called FAMES. Biodiesel is the cleanest fossil fuel, releasing less carbon dioxide than conventional diesel. Biodiesel and petrodiesel both emit less sulfur and nitrogen oxides, which are harmful to the environment.

While both diesels are clean-burning, biodiesel is more expensive to store than petroleum-based diesel. However, it is highly reliable and high-quality fuel. Its calorific value varies depending on the blend and type of fuel used. Biodiesel is generally lower in energy density than petroleum diesel, although it has higher Cetane and lubricity properties. Those properties compensate for the lower energy density.

Pipeline fungibility

Despite recent developments, pipeline fungibility of renewable diesel vs. biodiesel has been a controversial issue. While renewable diesel is fungible into the existing diesel distribution system, this feature has prevented it from becoming a viable alternative fuel in some places. The main reason for this difference is that renewable diesel requires fewer transportation expenses than biodiesel, making it an attractive alternative fuel for the growing economy.

To succeed, biodiesel must meet certain distribution and storage requirements. Pipeline transportation would also provide a more reliable, low-cost supply to the market. While some companies are actively exploring pipeline transportation, Nazzaro cautions them against marketing their fuel solely on price. This could lead to unsustainable marketing practices. Biodiesel is a renewable fuel, so it should be produced according to its merits.

In fact, the pipeline fungibility of biodiesel and renewable diesel is similar to that of gasoline. They are compatible with each other because both contain hydrogen and carbon, and their molecules are similar in structure. If they are fungible in the pipeline, they will blend in a pipeline. On the other hand, pipeline fungibility of biodiesel is low, meaning that it is less flammable than renewable diesel.

However, this feature may not be a good option for all vehicles. Renewable diesel is still not a viable alternative to biodiesel. It is difficult to convert renewable diesel into ULSD in many places, and some companies have not yet perfected the technology. However, as the technology continues to improve, it will become more affordable for everyone. And, once it is ready for commercial use, it may even replace traditional biodiesel in some areas.

Environmental impact

Using the same fuel as a car can reduce emissions of many pollutants, including particulate matter, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and greenhouse gases (GHGs). However, the impact of renewable diesel on these pollutants is still largely unknown, so the question remains, is renewable diesel better for the environment? Here's a look at how renewable diesel compares to other fuels.

Both biodiesel and renewable diesel are cleaner-burning, reducing emissions of harmful pollutants and greenhouse gases. Biodiesel can be used in diesel engines without requiring modifications. It also significantly reduces hydrocarbon emissions and reduces smog. In fact, production of renewable diesel can reduce waste from landfills by 96%, and its use can reduce wastewater by more than seventy percent.

Unlike fossil fuels, renewable diesel is created using sustainable feedstocks, such as animal fats and vegetable oil. Because it is produced from these feedstocks, biodiesel is clean and releases less carbon into the atmosphere. Using renewable diesel in your car will reduce emissions by up to 100 percent. However, the price of renewable diesel is less affordable than biodiesel, so it's more attractive to drivers.

In addition, increasing biodiesel production will require large expansions of domestic feedstock, increasing canola imports, and dislodging other feedstock. Furthermore, domestic biodiesel production is likely to be significantly affected, and waste oils and fats will be diverted to renewable diesel production. This can have serious implications on the environment. The environment is already facing many challenges in the process of changing fuels.

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