Biofuel Facts

BIODIESEL IS NOT SVO - But they are both biofuels!

People who are unfamiliar with the biofuels industry often call us with questions about whether they have to convert their diesel vehicle if they want to run biodiesel in it. The answer is always no! Any diesel engine can be fueled with biodiesel. The thing to remember is that biodiesel has been modified to run in any diesel engine without modifying the vehicle. In contrast, with SVO systems we modify diesel vehicles so that you can burn unmodified straight vegetable oil.


Biodiesel is a clean burning alternative fuel which is generally made from vegetable oil but can also be produced from rendered animal fats and other feedstocks. Unlike vegetable oil, which requires that you modify your vehicle to use it as fuel, biodiesel requires no modification to your diesel. Biodiesel is chemically modified vegetable oil, modified in a reaction called transesterification. This chemical process lowers the viscosity and ignition temperature of the vegetable oil, making it very similar to petroleum diesel. Biodiesel contains no petroleum, but it can be blended at any level with petroleum diesel to create a biodiesel blend. Typically it is sold as a B(number) in which the number is the percentage biodiesel and the rest is petroleum diesel. For instance, B20 is 20% biodiesel and 80% petroleum diesel. Biodiesel is simple to use, biodegradable, and nontoxic. Biodiesel emissions have lower particulate levels than diesel emissions and are essentially free of sulfur and aromatics. Furthermore, compared with petroleum diesel, biodiesel releases 78% fewer lifecycle carbon dioxide emissions and 70% fewer unburned hydrocarbons; the only increase in emissions is a 5-10% increase in nitrous oxide levels. Another benefit of biodiesel is that it can be produced from renewable domestic products and help reduce our dependence on foreign oil imports.

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Straight Vegetable Oil

Any liquid cooled diesel engine can be modified to burn Straight vegetable oil (SVO). It is typically collected as a waste product from restaurants and then filtered to remove any water or suspended solids that may have contaminated the oil during use. Once the filtering is done, the oil is ready to be used as fuel in any vehicle that has been converted! Fuel economy and horsepower remain the same when fueled with SVO, but the emissions are a drastic improvement over petroleum diesel emissions. While the emissions profile of SVO has not been thoroughly studied, SVO is a renewable fuel and the carbon that is released in the emissions is sequestered by the plants that are grown to make more fuel. This cycle of absorption and release is in sharp contrast to the linear release of carbon from fossil fuels. Additionally using unmodified oil as fuel eliminates the environmental impacts and energy requirements necessary to process it into biodiesel. Since most people with SVO converted vehicles collect their own oil from local sources, reducing the need to transport fuel over the roadways to fueling stations has a positive impact on SVO's comprehensive environmental profile as well. Therefore, by not only being a carbon-neutral fuel but by also eliminating the energy requirements to process and transport it as biodiesel, SVO is one of the most eco-friendly choices in alternative fueling that a consumer can make. In addition SVO is a domestic resource that is not only readily available, but often free! Our customers not only are decreasing their environmental impact, but are also saving money. With minimal work you can establish a relationship with a restaurant and safely filter your own oil at home. Even if you buy oil from us you are still saving money compared to petroleum diesel fuel.