More renewable diesel fuel plants are emerging in the United States, and the trend is set to see further increase in renewable fuel refining as the demand for renewable diesel increases. Renewable diesel is an alternative fuel providing instant impact to ESG and more specifically, carbon footprint reduction for businesses looking for a cleaner fuel to reduce their carbon footprint.
There are additional benefits of renewable diesel that make it worthwhile to make the switch to standard petroleum diesel. Below, you’ll learn more about the renewable diesel production process and its benefits so you can make an informed decision before making the switch.
What Is Renewable Diesel Made From?
Renewable diesel is a synthetic diesel fuel made from biomass, such as vegetable oil, agricultural waste and trash. Renewable diesel works like low-sulfur gasoline or crude oil that you can use anywhere that those fuels can be used without requiring special modifications to pipelines or engines. Since this fuel is made from biomass, it burns cleaner and releases fewer carbon emissions, making it an excellent choice for businesses concerned with their environmental footprint.
While some believe that biodiesel and renewable diesel are the same, there are some significant differences. Renewable diesel is a direct replacement fuel and doesn’t require any blending. This fuel is compatible with all diesel engines, whereas biodiesel requires specific engines. Businesses that want to switch to cleaner energy can make the process easier by switching to renewable diesel since they won’t have to change any existing equipment.
The first step of making renewable diesel starts with hydrogenation or hydrotreating. Hydrotreating is a process that utilizes high-pressure hydrogen to remove oxygen from the fuel, which is then converted into water. The double bonds in the fuel are saturated, removing the oxygen from fatty acid chains as either carbon dioxide or water, depending on the availability of hydrogen. What’s left is a clean, high-performance hydrocarbon molecule that goes through the remaining production process to become a pure diesel fuel.
Since the hydrogenation process eliminates oxygen from the fuel, it doesn’t face as many challenges as biodiesel, such as freezing in specific temperatures during storage. Renewable diesel is an ideal solution for businesses in cold environments that need reliable fuel to continue their operations.
This stage of the renewable diesel production process takes the leftover hydrocarbon molecule and changes its structure without changing the number of atoms. Isomerization is the process that allows the fuel to be efficient in cold weather by preventing freezing. The process works by changing the long-chain n-paraffins into iso-paraffins of the same length, which can also be referred to as branching. While this process helps improve cold flow, it only makes minor changes to the boiling point, reducing the risk of yield loss to lower boiling fractions.
Isomerization is an essential part of the renewable diesel production process because it helps it create one of its main benefits. Many businesses choose renewable diesel because they can use it in cold weather, which is essential in many parts of the world.
At the next stage of the renewable diesel process, the product goes through a chemical process to separate it into liquid, allowing it to become a finished product ready for distribution. Fractionation helps create a product that can be stored until businesses purchase it. Renewable diesel can be stored in different temperatures, even extreme cold if done correctly.
The final step of the production process is distributing renewable diesel to businesses and consumers. The petroleum logistics system can help distributors deliver renewable diesel to their customers. This system is a process that ensures the smooth transportation of petroleum and petroleum-related products. Renewable diesel may sometimes be blended with other fuels for distribution.
There are multiple stages in the distribution process, including storage and the point of sale. Renewable diesel can be delivered through different methods, including pipelines, ships, trucks or trains. Your specific renewable diesel supplier can help you find more information about how they distribute their renewable diesel since it differs between suppliers.
Why Choose Renewable Diesel
Renewable diesel is chemically the same as petroleum diesel, but the refinery process makes it a cleaner fuel. You can use renewable diesel as a stand-alone fuel or a drop-in fuel mixed with standard petroleum, making it an excellent choice for businesses that want to use renewable diesel as a supplemental fuel. While renewable diesel may carry a premium price tag, its benefits make it a worthwhile investment. Some of the benefits of renewable diesel include:
- Improved vehicle performance: Since renewable diesel is refined to be a cleaner fuel, it usually burns more cleanly in engines, which helps reduce the impact it has on your vehicles. Since your vehicles sustain less wear and tear over time than they would if they were fueled with only petroleum diesel, vehicle performance is improved, reducing the need for costly repairs.
- Reduced maintenance: Renewable diesel can improve the performance of various engines, reducing wear and tear and increasing efficiency. As a result, you won’t have to perform maintenance as often on your engines that run on renewable diesel. Reducing your required maintenance helps you save money, allowing you to invest further into renewable diesel or other business ventures.
- Cleaner burns: Many businesses are turning to renewable diesel because it burns cleaner than standard petroleum diesel. Some mixtures have the potential to reduce emissions entirely, while other mixtures can be used to reduce carbon emissions significantly. Businesses are attracted to renewable diesel because of the increasing demand from consumers for companies to become more eco-friendly.
- Improved storage: Renewable diesel can be stored in cold temperatures since the refinery process improves cold flow and makes it more challenging to freeze, even in harsh winter conditions. This benefit makes renewable diesel more reliable for businesses that consistently operate in cold weather conditions and need fuel that can be stored and operated at low temperatures.
- Limited odor: Petroleum diesel is often associated with a strong smell, making some people feel sick or lightheaded from the pungent scent. While it’s not a significant benefit, renewable diesel has no odor after its refinement process, making it easier to withstand being in the same room when it’s burning in an engine.
Renewable Diesel With Foster Fuels: Mission Critical
Renewable diesel is a great way to reduce your carbon emissions, improve your engine performance and increase your efficiency during the winter. Foster Fuels’ Mission Critical division can help you switch to renewable fuel as part of our routine fuel delivery service. We can deliver fuel to where you’re at, helping you reduce downtime and preparing your systems for emergencies.
We also offer emergency fuel services if you need a delivery in an emergency situation. Our emergency services are available 24/7, every day of the year. Make the switch to renewable diesel today, and contact us to learn more about how we can help you facilitate the transition.