Biodiesel can be made from vegetable oil through a chemical reaction called transesterification.
This chemical reaction utilizes a base catalyst (potassium hydroxide, KOH) and methyl alcohol (methanol) to remove hydrocarbon chains from the vegetable oil molecule. The isolated hydrocarbon chains combined with methyl alcohol form fatty acid methyl esters (BIODIESEL!). The reaction also produces glycerol as a by-product. From collecting vegetable oil through to using the finished biodiesel, individual components need to be cleaned/refined, measured, tested, and handled carefully (especially the methanol and KOH).
Our Biodiesel Processors Through the Years