Iowa Biodiesel Board
Skip to main content Main Content

Biodiesel Basics

Employee performing tests in a lab.What is biodiesel?

Biodiesel is a renewable, cleaner burning diesel replacement that can be used in existing diesel engines without modification. Made from an increasingly diverse mix of resources such as recycled cooking oil, soybean oil and animal fats, it is categorized as an advanced biofuel.  

Blends up to 20 percent (B20) can be used in diesel engines with no modifications, with higher blends also possible, all the way up to B100 in some cases. Fuel must meet the national standard ASTM D-6751 to be called biodiesel.


Biodiesel has an energy content (BTUs) similar to that of No. 1 of diesel and offers the following performance benefits:

  • Significantly improved lubricity, which can reduce premature engine wear and tear
  • Higher average cetane than diesel
  • Similar fuel economy, horsepower, and torque


Biodiesel is the first commercially available fuel to meet the EPA’s definition of an advanced biofuel. Based largely on greenhouse gas reductions, these requirements protect forests and native grasslands and ensure renewable fuels have multiple environmental benefits over fossil fuels.

Farmer on combine.

Benefits when compared to petroleum-based diesel fuel include the following:

  • Reduces lifecycle greenhouse gases by up to 86 percent
  • Lowers particulate matter by 47 percent in older diesel engines, reduces smog and makes our air healthier to breathe
  • Reduces hydrocarbon emissions by 67 percent in older diesel engines

Visit to learn how America’s Advanced Biofuel reduces carbon, recycles byproducts from protein demand, and saves lives.


Biodiesel for Municipalities (National Biodiesel Board)

© 2023 Iowa Biodiesel Board. All rights reserved.