Advanced Biofuels – A renewable fuel other than ethanol derived from cornstarch.  Biodiesel is the only advanced biofuel that has reached nationwide commercial production across the United States. The advanced biofuel category can apply to a variety of fuels, including biomass-based diesel, biogas, butanol or other alcohols and fuels derived from cellulosic biomass. Advanced biofuels reduce lifecycle emissions by more than 50 percent compared to petroleum and are the optimal alternative fuel as defined by federal law.

Alternative Fuel – Any fuel not derived from the conventional crude oil refining process, including biodiesel or ethanol.  

ASTM Standards All engines are designed and manufactured for a fuel that has certain characteristics. In the US, the global standards development organization that defines the specifications and test methods for fuels is the ASTM International.  ASTM fuel standards are the minimum accepted values for properties of the fuel to provide adequate engine performance.


Technical: a fuel comprised of mono-alkyl esters of long chain fatty acids derived from vegetable oils or animal fats, designated B100, and meeting the requirements of ASTM D 6751.

Standard: a clean burning alternative fuel produced from domestic, renewable resources. Biodiesel contains no petroleum but can be blended at any level with petroleum diesel to create a biodiesel blend. Biodiesel is the first fuel commercially produced nationwide that meets US EPA’s definition of an advanced biofuel.  Synonyms include methyl esters and fatty acid methyl esters (FAME).

Biodiesel Blends – A blend of biodiesel fuel, meeting ASTM D 6751, with diesel fuel oils, designated BXX, where XX represents the volume percentage of biodiesel fuel in the blend. Examples include: B5, B20, and B100

Biofuel – Broad term that encompasses any liquid fuel made from renewable biomass. The most common types of biofuels in use today are ethanol, biodiesel, and renewable hydrocarbon diesel.

Bioheat® fuel - A traditional home heating oil blended with biodiesel. Blends range from 2-5% biodiesel.

Bioheat Plus® - A traditional home heating oil blended with biodiesel. Blends range from 6-20% biodiesel.

Bioheat Super Plus® - A traditional home heating oil blended with biodiesel. Blends range with >20% biodiesel.

Biomass-Based Diesel – A category of diesel fuel derived from biological feedstocks, including soybean oil, rendered animal fats and used cooking oils, that can be used to comply with the federal Renewable Fuel Standard program.

Biogas – Gas produced by organic matter and byproducts including agricultural waste, plant material, or food waste.

BQ-9000 - The National Biodiesel Accreditation Program is a cooperative and voluntary program for the accreditation of producers and marketers of biodiesel fuel called BQ-9000®. The program is a unique combination of the ASTM standard for biodiesel, ASTM D6751, and a quality systems program that includes storage, sampling, testing, blending, shipping, distribution, and fuel management practices. BQ-9000® is open to any biodiesel manufacturer, marketer or distributor of biodiesel and biodiesel blends in the United States and Canada.

Butanol – A four carbon alcohol produced from fermentable sugars, synthesis gas, and glycerol.

Byproducts – A secondary product made in the manufacture or synthesis of something else. Biodiesel is a renewable fuel made from agricultural byproducts such as soybean oil, animal fats, and recycled cooking oil. In addition, glycerin is a co-product of biodiesel production and is often used as an animal food ingredient.

Clean Fleet – A group of vehicles of a municipality, organization, or community that use cleaner than traditional technologies to power their engines. Many clean fleets are powered with biodiesel to produce healthier, cleaner air.

Clean Fuels Alliance Foundation - The Foundation’s mission is to accomplish outreach, education, research and demonstration activities for the advancement of biodiesel. The Foundation is a 501(c) 3 not for profit organization who works closely with Clean Fuels Alliance America.

Ethanol – A renewable, domestically produced fuel made from corn, sugar cane, or grasses. Ethanol is a fuel alternative to conventional gasoline that is most commonly sold to consumers as a 10-15 percent blend in gasoline but can be used in higher blends in flex-fuel vehicles. Ethanol is not biodiesel, but it is considered another renewable fuel or biofuel.

Feedstocks – A common industry term to describe the raw materials used to supply biodiesel production. Biodiesel producers are utilizing a wide-ranging mix of feedstocks, such as recycled cooking oil, agricultural oils such as soybean and canola oil, animal fats, and other byproducts such as distillers corn oil. Soybean oil remains the most used feedstock with nearly 50 percent market share.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG) – The release of any gaseous compound that traps heat in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide (CO2) makes up the majority of GHG emissions. Biodiesel reduces greenhouse gases by over 80 percent compared to petroleum-based diesel.

Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC) – A now disproven theory from the late 2000’s that tried to tie indirect effects of US agriculture to changes in land use around the world – specifically in the rainforests of South America. No crops are grown for exclusively for biodiesel production, so it doesn’t lead to the clearing of the land in other parts of the world. Biodiesel is the first commercially available fuel to meet the EPA’s definition of an advanced biofuel. The environmental requirements of the RFS protect forests and native grasslands and ensure renewable fuels have multiple environmental benefits over fossil fuels. More on the science of ILUC theory and biodiesel’s sustainability story can be found here.  

National Biodiesel Accreditation Commission (NBAC) - The NBAC is a 12-member Commission that oversees the voluntary biodiesel quality assurance program known as BQ-9000®. The program is a unique combination of the ASTM standard for biodiesel (D6751), and a quality systems program that includes storage, sampling, testing, blending, shipping, distribution, and fuel management practices.

Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) - A company that produces parts or equipment used in the production of engines or vehicles.

Particulate Matter - Particulate matter, an emission linked to asthma and other diseases, is reduced by about 47 percent, and carbon monoxide, a poisonous gas, is reduced by about 48 percent when using biodiesel.

Petroleum Diesel – Conventional fuel used to power compression ignition (diesel) engines, that is traditionally a middle distillate derived from petroleum refining.

Refinery – Industrial process plant where crude oil is refined into a variety of products including gasoline, diesel, and propane.

Renewable Diesel (Renewable Hydrocarbon Diesel) - Defined in the Internal Revenue Code as liquid fuel produced from renewable biomass meeting the same fuel specifications as diesel fuel (ASTM D975) and/or heating oil (ASTM D396). Is similar to biodiesel in it’s feedstock and end use in diesel engines but goes through a different refining process.

Renewable Fuel – Fuels produced from renewable resources including plant material, agricultural byproducts, and others. Biodiesel is an example of a renewable fuel, but not all renewable fuels are biodiesel.

Renewable Fuel Standard A U.S. government policy enacted in 2005 and expanded in 2007 that requires minimum amounts of renewable fuels to be blended into the nation’s transportation fuel supply. The RFS is working to create American jobs, reduce pollution and carbon emissions, and reduce U.S. reliance on foreign oil imports. Under the RFS, Congress directed the Environmental Protection Agency to maintain renewable fuel success with continued, sustainable growth to support the biodiesel industry and job creation. The RFS requires a minimum of 1 billion gallons of advanced biofuels be blended annually beginning in 2010, rising to 21 billion gallons by 2022.

Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) – RINs are the mechanism used by the Environmental Protection Agency to track compliance with the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). A RIN is a serial number assigned to each gallon of biofuel produced in the U.S. and used for tracking purposes and trading.

Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) – Volumes established every year based on projections of gasoline and diesel usage for the coming year under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

Sustainability Meeting today’s needs for environmental stewardship, economic prosperity, and quality of life without compromising future generations’ ability to meet these needs for themselves.

Transesterification – A chemical process to produce methyl esters (biodiesel), whereby the crude glycerin is separated from the fat or vegetable oil. The process leaves behind two products – methyl esters (biodiesel) and glycerin (valuable byproduct usually sold to be used in soaps and other products). By definition, a fuel is not biodiesel unless it is produced by the transesterification process.


Common Industry Acronyms

CARB – California Air Resources Board
EMA – Engine Manufacturers Association
DOE – US Department of Energy
EERE – Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (DOE)
NREL – National Renewable Energy Laboratory (DOE)
USDA – US Department of Agriculture
DOT – US Department of Transportation
EPA – US Environmental Protection Agency
EIA – Energy Information Administration
ASA – American Soybean Association
USB – United Soybean Board
QSSB – Qualified State Soybean Board
NAFA – National Association of Fleet Administrators
NATSO – National Association of Truck Stop Operators
FPRF – Fats and Proteins Research Foundation
NEFI – National Energy & Fuels Institute
NRA – National Renderers Association
RFA – Renewable Fuels Association


Clean Fuels Alliance America
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605 Clark Ave.
PO Box 104898
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Clean Fuels Alliance America
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Clean Fuels Alliance America
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1415 L Street
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Wilmington, MA 01887

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