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Biodiesel & Black Diesel Dictionary

Below, you’ll discover commonly used definitions and terms within the oil burner and biodiesel community. Familiarizing yourself with these terms is important when processing and producing waste oil. The provided definitions cover various aspects of the biodiesel process, including acronyms and chemicals utilized in biodiesel production. In addition, it covers terms and acronyms used when processing Waste Oils or Black Diesel. 

ASTM: The organization that sets international standards for a variety of materials. The specification for biodiesel is ASTM D6751. Renewable diesel falls under ASTM D975, the diesel specification.

Autoignition: Autoignition is the spontaneous ignition of a substance, such as biodiesel, without an external ignition source. Understanding the autoignition temperature is crucial for safe handling and storage.

B20: B20 refers to a blend of 20% biodiesel and 80% diesel fuel. It is a common biodiesel blend used in various diesel engines.

B5, B10, B20: A fuel that is a blend of biodiesel and petroleum diesel is commonly abbreviated to a “B” and then the percentage of biodiesel in that fuel. B20, for example, is 20 percent biodiesel and 80 percent petroleum.

Biodiesel: A cleaner-burning alternative to petroleum diesel that is made from renewable resources that would otherwise have no further use, including recycled cooking oil, waste animal fats, and vegetable oils.

Biodiesel: Biodiesel is a renewable fuel derived from organic materials such as waste vegetable oil or animal fats through a process called transesterification.

Brake Fluid: Brake fluid, specifically Dot 3 fluid, is cautioned against in backyard biodiesel production due to its harmful nature. It should not be used as a feedstock.

BTUs: BTUs (British Thermal Units) measure the energy content of fuels. Understanding the BTU value helps assess the efficiency of a fuel source.

Cetane number: A measure of a fuel’s combustion speed and a common indicator of fuel quality. The higher the Cetane number, the shorter the ignition time. Biodiesel and renewable diesel have a higher Cetane number than petroleum diesel.

Cloud Point: The temperature at which wax crystals cause fuel to appear cloudy. The higher the Cloud Point, the sooner the fuel starts to gel. It is one way to measure cold weather performance.

Distillation: The process of purifying a liquid using evaporation and condensation. Distillation is one of the ways biodiesel is purified, and distilled biodiesel has several benefits, including superior cold-weather performance.

Emulsification: Emulsification is the process of mixing two immiscible liquids, like water and oil. In biodiesel production, avoiding emulsification is crucial to prevent water contamination

Emulsified Oil: Emulsified oil results from the mixing of oil and water, which can complicate the biodiesel production process. Proper separation is necessary for quality fuel.

Ethanol: Ethanol is an alcohol that can be used in biodiesel production. It reacts with triglycerides in the transesterification process.

Ethylene Glycol: Ethylene glycol is a substance to be avoided in biodiesel production as it can be harmful. It is commonly found in antifreeze.

Fatty acid methyl esters: The chemical name for biodiesel, often abbreviated as FAME. A FAME molecule is comprised of a fatty acid and an alcohol.

Feedstock: The raw material used to create fuel. For biodiesel and renewable diesel, these are renewable resources such as recycled cooking oil, vegetable oils, and waste animal fats.

Flash Point: The flash point is the lowest temperature at which a substance vaporizes to form an ignitable mixture. It’s a safety consideration in handling biodiesel.

FPHE: FPHE stands for flat plate heat exchanger, a device used to transfer heat efficiently in biodiesel production processes.

Glycerin: Glycerin, or glycerol, is a byproduct of the transesterification process in biodiesel production. Proper disposal or utilization is essential.

Gravity Fed Centrifuge: A gravity-fed centrifuge is a direct-drive centrifuge with the motor directly coupled to the rotor. It facilitates the separation of impurities from biodiesel.

Greenhouse gases: Gases, such as carbon dioxide, that trap heat in the atmosphere, contributing to global warming.

Hydrocarbons: An organic compound containing carbon and hydrogen. In the presence of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sunlight, unburned hydrocarbons create ground-level ozone, which harms lungs and creates urban smog.

Lubricity The ability of a lubricant to reduce friction and prevent wear in an engine. Ultra-low sulfur diesel has very little lubricity, whereas biodiesel has great lubricating characteristics.

Methanol: Methanol is a key component in the transesterification process of biodiesel production. It reacts with triglycerides to form biodiesel.

Neat biodiesel: Biodiesel that has not been blended with another fuel. It is 100 percent biodiesel and is also called B100.

Particulate matter: Particulates — including solids and liquid droplets— from exhaust systems harm the climate and human health. Fine particles can penetrate deep into a person’s lungs and even enter the bloodstream.

pH Testing: pH testing involves measuring the acidity or alkalinity of biodiesel. It ensures the fuel falls within acceptable ranges for engine compatibility.

Pressure Centrifuge: A pressure centrifuge is a centrifuge that spins from oil pressure escaping the rotor, aiding in the separation of impurities from biodiesel.

Regular Unleaded Gasoline (RUG): RUG refers to regular unleaded gasoline, a type of fuel that should be avoided in the production of biodiesel due to its different chemical composition.

Renewable diesel: A renewable fuel that is chemically similar to petroleum diesel but with much lower emissions. It is made from the same feedstocks as biodiesel but has a different production process and meets a different specification.

Settling: Settling involves allowing oil to sit so that water and oil separate, and debris drops out of the oil. It is a crucial step in biodiesel production.

SVO: SVO stands for Straight Vegetable Oil, which can be used as a feedstock in biodiesel production.

Transesterification: A chemical process in which feedstock is reacted with an alcohol (typically methanol) to make biodiesel.

ULSD: ULSD stands for ultra low sulfur diesel, a type of diesel fuel with reduced sulfur content.

W80: W80 is a fuel blend consisting of 80% waste oil and 20% regular unleaded gasoline.

W90: W90 is a fuel blend consisting of 90% waste oil and 10% regular unleaded gasoline.

Wash Process: The wash process is a step in biodiesel production that involves removing impurities, catalyst residues, and glycerol from the biodiesel.

Waste Motor Oil (WMO): WMO is used lubricating oil that can be recycled and potentially used in the production of black diesel.

Waste Vegetable Oil (WVO): WVO is a discarded cooking oil, often used as a feedstock in biodiesel production.

WATF: WATF stands for Waste Automatic Transmission Fluid, which can be considered as a feedstock in biodiesel production. WATF is one of the best oil sources that can be used as a fuel because of its viscosity and detergent properties.