Biodiesel 101

June 7, 2019
Biodiesel 101

Biodiesel 101

Biodiesel is a renewable, biodegradable fuel manufactured domestically from vegetable oils, animal fats or recycled restaurant grease. This fuel meets both the biomass-based diesel and overall advanced biofuel requirement of the Renewable Fuel Standard.

Biodiesel is a liquid fuel often referred to as B100 or neat biodiesel in its pure, unblended form. Like petroleum diesel, biodiesel is used to fuel compression-ignition engines. Typically, biodiesel is blended into petroleum diesel in low level blends ranging from B5- 5% biodiesel, 95% petroleum diesel, to B20-20% biodiesel, 80% petroleum diesel. However, vehicles, with proper conversion kits can run on up to 100 percent biodiesel, although it is recommended to check with the vehicle’s Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) as use of high blends of biodiesel may void the vehicles warranty. All major OEMs support biodiesel blends up to B5, and nearly 90 percent of medium- and heavy-duty truck OEM’s support B20.

Biodiesel has many benefits, the first being reduced cost. Not only is a biodiesel blend cheaper than petroleum diesel, it will require no vehicle modification or infrastructure upgrades when using B20 and lower. Biodiesel is what’s known as a drop-in fuel because it requires no vehicle modification or infrastructure changes. Anyone interested can start using it in their vehicles the next time they fuel. There is a nationwide supply, biodiesel is a mature industry and domestic producers can provide product regardless of location.

Since it’s a domestically produced fuel, biodiesel reduces dependence upon foreign fuels, therefore improving security. Biodiesel also reduces emissions and has a lower carbon intensity than petroleum diesel, which is important to fleets with sustainability goals or those that haul for customers with sustainability goals.

To learn more about biodiesel, please see the Iowa Renewable Fuel’s Association’s FAQ sheet. Find the nearest retail biodiesel location.

*While some fleets use B20 year-round, it is most commonly available at retail locations in the summer months.

Join the B20 Club

B20 Club

Does your fleet use B20 fuel (20 percent biodiesel and 80 percent petroleum diesel) in its vehicles at least six months out of the year? Your fleet may be eligible to join the Iowa B20 Club.

The Iowa B20 Club, sponsored by the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, is a diverse group of Iowa diesel fleets who have shown leadership through its use of environmentally friendly B20 in most fleet vehicles. The Iowa B20 Club is designed to recognize these fleets for choosing a sustainable fuel that reduces tailpipe emissions and reduces human exposure to toxic chemicals.

As a member of the Iowa B20 Club, fleets receive many benefits. They work to publicize your business’ membership through press releases, testimonial videos, social media and more to garner public recognition of your fleet as a sustainable and environmentally friendly leader. Other benefits include complimentary vehicle stickers or mud flaps with the club logo to further publicly recognize fleets as leaders and users of biodiesel, as well as educational and travel opportunities for fleet managers. Benefits come at no cost; however, participating companies are asked in return to remain committed to the use of B20 and to promote the benefits of B20 when interacting with others in the diesel fleet industry.

Interested in joining the Iowa B20 Club or learning more about why your fleet should consider B20, please contact Cassidy Walter at or at 515.252.6249.