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What is biodiesel?

Biodiesel is a renewable, biodegradable fuel manufactured domestically from vegetable oils, animal fats, or recycled restaurant grease that is commonly blended with conventional diesel in varying quantities. The fuel is produced through transesterification, which is converts fats and oils into biodiesel and byproducts. Biodiesel burns more cleanly and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.


There are two private biodiesel fueling stations located in the Tampa Bay Clean Cities region. Florida also leads in technology development for biofuels, including ethanol, biodiesel, and green hydrocarbons. The Patel College of Global Sustainability at the University of South Florida is developing cutting-edge research on renewable energy R&D studying algae technology, biofuels and bioproduct development from biomass, production of renewable jet fuel, diesel, biodiesel, and bioproducts.

University of South Florida Experiments with Biofuels

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Low level blends

Low level blends such as B5 contain up to 5% biodiesel mixed with conventional diesel. This blend is often referred to as diesel fuel with no labeling at the pump. B5 is able to be used for any compression-ignition engine designed to operate off of conventional diesel.


This is the most common blend and can be used on traditional diesel vehicles without modifications. Engines that use B20 have similar operational characteristics compared to those that run on petroleum diesel. Most biodiesel end users purchase B20 or lower level blends from fuel distributors. Regulated fleets that use B20 or higher are eligible for tax credits under the Energy Policy Act of 1992.

B20 must meet quality standards are prescribed by ASTM D7467. The Department of Energy's Vehicle Technologies Office supported efforts to test and enhance biodiesel quality to ensure more fuel met ASTM standards.

B100 and high-level blends

B100 and other high-level biodiesel blends are less common than B20 and lower blends due to lack of regulatory incentives. B100 can be used in certain engines with biodiesel-compatible material. B100 functions like a solvent, which cleans a vehicle's fuel systems and releases deposits from petroleum-based diesel, which may clog filters and require more frequent filter replacements. To avoid operational issues, B100 must meet the requirements of ASTA D6751, Standard Specification for Biodiesel Fuel (B100) Blend Stock for Distillate Fuels

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  • University of South Florida Parking & Transportation Services (B20)

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