In 2000, biodiesel became the only alternative fuel in the country to have successfully completed the EPA-required Tier I and Tier II health effects testing under the Clean Air
Act. These independent tests conclusively demonstrated biodiesel’s significant
reduction of virtually all regulated emissions, and showed biodiesel does not pose a
threat to human health.
Biodiesel contains virtually no sulfur or aromatics, and the use of biodiesel in a conventional
diesel engine results in substantial reduction of unburned hydrocarbons, carbon
monoxide and particulate matter. A U.S. Department of Energy study showed that the
production and use of biodiesel, compared to petroleum diesel, resulted in a 78.5%
reduction in carbon dioxide emissions. Moreover, biodiesel has a positive energy
balance. For every unit of energy needed to produce a gallon of biodiesel, at least 4.5
units of energy are gained.
With agricultural commodity prices approaching record lows, and petroleum prices
approaching record highs, it is clear that more can be done to utilize domestic
surpluses of vegetable oils while enhancing our energy security. Because biodiesel can
be manufactured using existing industrial production capacity, and used with
conventional equipment, it provides substantial opportunity for
our energy security issues.
If the true cost of using foreign oil were imposed on the price of imported fuel,
renewable fuels, such as biodiesel, probably would be the most viable option. For
instance, in 1996, it was estimated that the military costs of securing foreign oil was $57
billion annually. Foreign tax credits accounted for another estimated $4 billion annually
and environmental costs were estimated at $45 per barrel. For every billion dollars
spent on foreign oil, America lost 10,000 – 25,000 jobs.
The biodiesel industry has contributed significantly to the domestic economy. The
51,893 jobs that are currently supported by the US biodiesel industry reflect the
beginning of the industry’s potential to create jobs and economic growth in the U.S.
economy. Biodiesel has added $4.287 billion to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Biodiesel has the potential to support more than 78,000 jobs by 2012. A stable, thriving
biodiesel industry is necessary if the U.S. is to eventually benefit from the commercial
scale production of algal-based biofuels. The NBB estimates that for every 100 million
gallons of biodiesel that is produced from algae, 16.455 jobs will be created and $1.461
billion will be added to the GDP.
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. Moreover, in December 2001, the American
Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) approved a specification (D675) for biodiesel
fuel. This development was crucial in standardizing fuel quality for biodiesel in the U.S.
market. As of 2008, there is a specification for B6-B20, and up to B5 is included in the
diesel fuel specification (D 975).
The biodiesel industry also utilizes a voluntary quality management certification
program for biodiesel producers, marketers, and laboratories called the BQ-9000
Program. The BQ-9000 Program combines internationally accepted quality
management principles with the ASTM biodiesel fuel specification to help ensure that
customers and end users get the highest quality fuel possible. The National Biodiesel
Accreditation Commissions issues ‘BQ-9000 Marketer,’‘BQ-9000 Producer’ and 'BQ-9000
lab' certifications for biodiesel marketers and/or producers and biodiesel testing
laboratories that have met all requirements of quality management system certification
program. BQ-9000 companies are subject to annual third-party audits to verify their
continued compliance with the program requirements. The BQ-9000 program provides
added assurance to customers, as well as engine manufacturers, that the biodiesel
marketed by these companies meets the ASTM standards for biodiesel and that the fuel
supplier will stand behind its products.
Effective November 1998, Congress approved the use of biodiesel as an Energy Policy
Act (EPAct) compliance strategy. The legislation allows EPAct-covered fleets (federal,
state and public utility fleets) to meet their alternative fuel vehicle purchase
requirements simply by buying 450 gallons of pure biodiesel and burning it in new or
existing diesel vehicles in at least a 20% blend with diesel fuel. The Congressional
Budget Office and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have confirmed that the
biodiesel option is the least-cost alternative fuel option for meeting the Federal
government’s EPAct compliance requirements. Because it works with existing diesel
engines, biodiesel offers an immediate and seamless way to transition existing diesel
vehicles into a cleaner burning fleet.
A New Reason to Go Green.
Biodiesel is so important that U.S. Congress passed a federal tax incentive to make it even more affordable. So next time you fuel your boat, make it biodiesel. You can be sure that your engine, the environment, and the economy are all better off.
Ask your marine fuel supplier to carry biodiesel and use it in all of your diesel-powered boats and ships.