Did you know that you can power your car on soy beans? Yes! Bio fuels are fuels made from plant oils derived from plants such as corn, soybeans, rapeseed, canola, palm, cottonseed, peanut and even from recycled cooking grease. Typically bio fuel such as ethanol is made from corn whilst bio diesel is made from soy beans.

Bio diesel can be used as an alternative or as an additive to standard diesel fuel. It is non toxic (it is 10 times less toxic than table salt) and biodegradable. It is safe and can be used in diesel engines with little or no modification needed.

So why aren’t bio diesel widely used? The diesel engine was developed in the 1890s by the inventor Rudolf Diesel. Dr Diesel himself envisioned that pure vegetable oil would power his diesel engines and conducted experiments. Due to low oil prices however in 1990’s the petroleum fuels quickly took hold of the market.

This is now changing however with the concerns over energy security, over reliance on crude oil and global warming. Biodiesel production in now on the rise. You may even find yourself filling up your vehicle with biodiesel next time you are at the pumps. Commonly sold blends are B5 and B20. The names indicate the percentage of biodiesel fuel contained in the fuel with B5 containing 5% and B20 containing 20%. You may even find yourself using biodiesel without your knowledge as up to5% biodiesel can be included in any diesel sold without additional labelling in Australia.

Next time you are filling up your diesel powered car, have a look to see if your petrol station supplies biodiesel. You could be powering up your vehicle on soy beans.