Soybean growers are proud to help produce a renewable fuels solution: Biodiesel.
Biodiesel’s success benefits rural communities and urban areas alike, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions and powering vehicles and equipment. Soybean farmers have played a major role in the development and sustained success of the U.S. biodiesel industry, including supportive policy to secure and grow the biodiesel industry. Transportation is now our nation’s largest source of Greenhouse Gases (GHGs), so biodiesel can be part of a smart plan to dramatically reduce GHGs.
Biodiesel is a clean-burning alternative fuel produced from domestic, renewable resources–primarily recycled cooking oil, soybean oil, and animal fats. It is simple to use, biodegradable, nontoxic, and essentially free of sulfur and aromatics. Biodiesel contains no petroleum, but it can be blended at any level with petroleum diesel to create a biodiesel blend. Biodiesel blends can then be used in compression-ignition (diesel) engines with little or no modifications. It is simply a renewable, cleaner-burning diesel fuel replacement for any diesel engine.
Biodiesel is an environmentally beneficial fuel when measuring its carbon footprint, life cycle and energy balance. Every gallon of biodiesel produced in the U.S. displaces an equivalent amount of petroleum diesel fuel with a clean-burning, efficient fuel that, according to EPA, reduces lifecycle carbon dioxide emissions by as much as 86% compared to petroleum diesel fuel and creates 5.4 units of energy for every unit of energy that is required to produce the fuel.
Soybeans consist of 80% meal and 20% oil. As a vital protein source used for livestock feed, global demand for soybean meal continues to increase, while domestic demand for soybean oil in food uses has declined in recent years due to trans-fat related concerns. During this time, biodiesel production has provided an important market outlet for soybean oil. Over the past few years, 50% or more U.S. biodiesel has been produced from soybean oil, including repurposed cooking oil from the foodservice industry – the perfect way to use the whole bean and reuse rather that discard existing resources.
An increasing number of U.S. cities are switching their diesel fleets to biodiesel, including Washington, D.C., New Orleans, and New York.