Biodiesel Facts

Biodiesel Facts

  • Biodiesel is a clean-burning, biodegradable, alternative fuel produced from vegetable oils or animal fats. To be called biodiesel, it must meet American Society for Testing & Materials (ASTM D-6751) quality specifications.
  • Blends of biodiesel can range from one percent to 99 percent. Common blends used in Iowa are B5, B11 and B20. Many farmers use even higher blend levels in their on-farm equipment.
  • Biodiesel is the most energy efficient alternative fuel produced today with an energy balance of 5.5:1.BuyAmericanlogo
  • Biodiesel provides engine lubricity which helps extend engine life and reduce maintenance costs. Even biodiesel levels as low as one percent can provide up to a 65 percent increase in lubricity. 
  • B100 reduces ozone (smog) formation by 50 percent.
  • Biodiesel is a biodegradable, renewable fuel with positive performance benefits. Increased cetane, high fuel lubricity and increased oxygen content make it a preferred blending agent for ultra-clean diesel.
  • As a domestically-produced fuel, biodiesel can reduce the need for fossil fuel and improve the nation’s energy security.
  • Biodiesel is registered as a fuel and fuel additive with the EPA and meets clean diesel standards established by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). B100 (100 percent biodiesel) has been designated as an alternative fuel by the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of Transportation.
  • Using biodiesel in diesel engines does not void parts and materials workmanship warranties of any major U.S. engine manufacturer. For a list of engine manufacturers and their biodiesel warranty statements, go to:
  • Biodiesel blended up to 20 percent (B20) exhibits cold flow properties similar to #2 diesel and can be used year-round.
  • Biodiesel has the highest BTU content of any alternative fuel (ranging between #1 and #2 diesel fuel).
  • B100 reduces exhaust emissions of carbon monoxide by 48 percent and hydrocarbons by 67 percent. Sulfur emissions are essentially eliminated with B100.
  • A voluntary accreditation program has been established for biodiesel producers and marketers to ensure the highest quality standards are being met. BQ 9000 is a program that ensures biodiesel quality and integrity.
  • The long-term savings in reduced wear, repairs, maintenance and lost down time make biodiesel the best choice for America’s trucking industry.

Biodiesel Boosts Revenue for Iowa’s Farmers

A study conducted by Cardno ENTRIX economist John Urbanchuk shows that biodiesel production has a positive economic impact on farmers in Iowa by boosting net profits for Iowa’s crop and livestock producers.

Biodiesel’s Impact on Commodity Prices

The increased demand in soybean oil also reduces the cost of some feed ingredients, benefitting Iowa’s livestock producers. Due to the biodiesel industry, soybean meal costs are reduced by more than 13 percent and distillers grains costs are reduced by 5 percent. Nearly 72 percent of all biodiesel produced in Iowa in 2012 was produced from soybean oil. This demand for soybean oil benefits Iowa’s farmers by raising the price of soybeans by more than 8 percent, and increasing the price of corn by more than 5 percent. For an Iowa farmer with 400 acres each of corn and soybeans, this would equate to a more than 9 percent increase in net profits.

Biodiesel Boosts Revenue for Iowa’s Livestock Producers

In addition to soybean oil, the biodiesel industry also used roughly 250 million pounds of animal fats in 2012.

Taking into account both production costs and revenues, biodiesel production boosts the net income for an Iowa farmer finishing cattle by nearly $16 per head.

The biodiesel industry also decreases production costs for hogs while increasing revenue. As a result, the net income for Iowa’s hog producers is improved by more than $4 per head.

“The bottom line is that biodiesel has a net positive impact on finishing hogs and cattle in Iowa,” Urbanchuk stated.

Biodiesel Boosts Revenue for Iowa’s Crop and Livestock Farmers Even Further

When crop and livestock production are combined, the benefits are even greater for Iowa farmers. Taking into account both production costs and revenue:

  • An Iowa farmer raising crops and cattle would see nearly a 17 percent increase in net income.
  • An Iowa farmer raising crops and hogs would see almost a 20 percent increase in net income.

For the entire study, please visit: