Biodiesel offers a great way to cut car emissions

Biodiesel is a fuel that can be used in any diesel powered vehicle. It is biodegradable and non-toxic. Biodiesel is a fantastic way of reducing your carbon footprint as it only releases the carbon dioxide that the plants absorbed whilst growing, therefore there is no negative impact on the carbon cycle.



Biodiesel can be made from waste vegetable oil. This can be collected from chip shops and restaurants and processed to make biodiesel that can be used to run any diesel motor.

What many people don't realise is that biodiesel is actually good for your car too. Unlike conventional diesel, biodiesel replenishes the lubricity, reducing engine problems and enhancing the life and efficiency of your motor. Biodiesel 's natural cleaning properties will also help to clean injectors, fuel lines, pumps and tanks, meaning that the overall maintenance costs are reduced.

Virtually anybody can make biodiesel, as it is so easy you can even make it in your own kitchen.


There are however a few words of caution to bear in mind.

  • You may need to pay a small amount of duty on the fuel depending on the source and quantity used.
  • If using cooking oils, check to make sure it does not contain animal fat. The use of animal fats as a fuel is illegal as it falls under a specific waste legislation.
  • Check your car manufacturer’s warranty for their advice on fuel use- some manufacturers will not honour the warranty should you use a fuel different to that advised.

In summary, once you’ve done your homework and are happy to make the change, your diesel motor will run better and last longer on biodiesel fuel, which is much cleaner, better for the environment and better for health. If you make it from used oil it's not only extremely cheap but you'll be recycling a troublesome waste product.



Frequently asked questions


The mass production of biofuel has been reported to cause negative economic, social and environmental impacts in some of the economically less developed countries growing them. Should we really be encouraging a swap to biofuel if this is the case?

There have been issues recently with some farmers cutting down areas of natural rainforest or converting agricultural land for the production of oil producing crops. Although they offer an increased income this can result in damage to natural ecosystems or a local food shortage. If carefully managed however, there are many advantages to oil crop production.

With their resistant nature, plants such as Jatropha can be grown in areas of desertification, where no other crops can grow, creating an income for landowners.

Jatropha also possesses pest resistant qualities and can be planted in field margins around other crops, reducing the need for chemical pesticides.

And finally, in addition to oil, the leaves can be used to make dyes and the stems sold as a wood product.

Whilst the crops offer huge potential for reducing CO2, the mass production of any crop can create negative knock on impacts which must be taken into account.


Are there any alternative sources of biofuel?

Research is currently underway into the use of algae in biofuel production. Algae has the potential to yield much higher quantities of oil and can be grown on sewerage plants and other alternative areas, taking the pressure off conventional farm land.

Secondary biofuel, sourcing oil from waste products, as described above requires no additional farming and reuses an unwanted resource. Quantities available would not be able to meet a countrywide demand, however there is plenty to meet current demands and used in part with diesel makes a significant difference to CO2 emissions.


So is Biofuel the answer to lowering vehicle emissions?

Biofuel has the potential to significantly reduce worldwide vehicle emissions; however the impacts of mass production must not be ignored in the process. Biodiesel as produced above, used either as your sole fuel or used in part with diesel will lower your emissions, however the best answer is to reduce your driving altogether! The less we all drive and the more we walk, bike and use public transport the better!