Potential of Vegetable Oil as a Transportation Fuel

by Charles L. Peterson, Univ of Idaho, Moscow, United States,
Daryl Reece, Univ of Idaho, Moscow, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Pacific Rim TransTech Conference—Volume II: International Ties, Management Systems, Propulsion Technology, Strategic Highway Research Program


The esters of vegetable oils (Biodiesel) have potential as direct replacements for diesel fuel in compression ignition engines. This paper discusses fuel properties, short and long term engine tests, production, processing and economics of these renewable, alternative fuels. Most tractor manufacturers in Europe now extend their warranties to cover Biodiesel. Biodiesel is produced through a simple process that can be carried out in large industrial plants, in small rural cooperative size plants, or on the farm. University of Idaho scientists have developed improved rape varieties, processing systems and have experimented with the fuel in many engine tests. Additional work is needed before the fuel can be commercially acceptable. Major limitations are total production (which, in the U.S., is limited to about 10 percent of diesel fuel use or about the amount of diesel we use in agriculture) and the increased cost compared to petroleum based fuels.

Subject Headings: Fuels | Petroleum | Energy consumption | Engines | Industrial facilities | Compression | Agriculture | Benefit cost ratios | Europe

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