Biodiesel in the United States
Biodiesel is generally composed of a chemically reacting lipid, such as a vegetable oil or an animal fat, and an alcohol that produces fatty acid esters. It is meant to be used in normal diesel engines and can be used alone or as a blend with petrodiesel. Some blends of biodiesel can also be used for heating purposes. Using biodiesel can reduce emissions of carbon monoxide, particulates, hydrocarbons, and sulfates. If the fuel is blended, its emissions’ reduction depends on the blend’s composition. Biodiesel is also able to degrade at a much faster rate than normal diesel fuel.
The United States and Brazil were among the largest biodiesel producers in the world, totaling some 5.5 and 3.8 billion liters, respectively, in 2016. The United States is projected to reach production levels of over 1 billion gallons of biodiesel by 2025. After the implementation of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 which provided tax incentives for certain types of energy, biodiesel production in the U.S. began to increase. The Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit is currently one of the main sources of financial support for biofuels in the United States. In 2010, the U.S. exported about 85 million gallons of their biodiesel products. Comparatively, Argentina accounted for over half of the world’s total exports. The United States has one of the highest bioenergy capacities in the world, totaling 13,764 megawatts in 2015.