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By Robert Rapier on Jul 14, 2007 with no responses

Requesting Feedback on Renewable Diesel Essay

As some of you may know, I am writing the renewable diesel chapter for a book on renewable energy. My submission is due at the end of July. The chapter is well underway, but I have a nagging feeling that I am forgetting to address something. So, I wanted to share the outline I have, and see if anyone has any comments. If you know of a substantial feedstock that I have missed, or can think of some things you think should be covered in a specific section, let me know.

For instance, in the section on environmental considerations, I am going to point out that tropical forest is being cut down to produce palm plantations for palm oil. On the other hand, biodiesel, unlike petroleum diesel, is non-toxic. What else? Are there specific, little known facts about rapeseed oil that I should include? Just things like that. Basically, if you were reading a comprehensive story about renewable diesel, what specifically would you hope to see covered? To my knowledge, what I am writing has not been comprehensively covered before. I don’t know of any other work that has an extensive compare/contrast between biodiesel, SVO, green diesel, etc. I think many people hear “biodiesel”, and think it’s all the same.

The intent here is to provide a completely objective view of renewable diesel as an option in the future. I will cover pros and cons. As I said, the chapter is well underway, and I have portions of all sections done. But I just want to make sure I haven’t overlooked anything major. I can’t share any of the actual writing, as one stipulation is that this material may not have been published elsewhere. But here is the outline I have at the moment:

Renewable Diesel

Straight Vegetable Oil (SVO)


  • Definition/Production Process
  • Fuel Characteristics
  • Energy Return
  • Glycerin Byproduct

Green Diesel

  • Definition/Production
  • Hydroprocessing
  • Gasification/Fischer-Tropsch


  • Soybean Oil
  • Palm Oil
  • Rapeseed Oil
  • Jatropha
  • Algae
  • Animal Fats

Environmental Considerations