Renewable Diesel

Renewable diesel is a synthetic diesel fuel, known for its lower CO2 characteristics, typically seeing purity and real world performance response superior to petroleum diesel fuel.

Every Question we have been asked about Renewable Diesel
Every Question We Have Been Asked About Renewable Diesel 700 700 Star Oilco

Every Question We Have Been Asked About Renewable Diesel

Renewable Diesel Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Every Question we have been asked about Renewable Diesel

What is renewable diesel?

Renewable diesel is a synthetic diesel fuel, known for it’s lower CO2 characteristics, typically seeing purity and real world performance response superior to petroleum diesel fuel.  Renewable diesel is a next generation hydrocarbon diesel biofuel made by either the Fischer-Tropsch or Hydrogenation processes.

Hydrogenated renewable diesel is made by taking fats, oils, and greases by use of a hydro-treater.  The biomass based oil or fat is cracked and reformed in the presence of hydrogen and  catalyst forming a hydrocarbon diesel molecule.

Fischer-Tropsch renewable diesel is used by converting any btu dense feedstock (wood waste, woody biomass, municipal garbage, coal, and an endless list of low value waste products into syngas, then converting this into a wax that is reformed into hydrocarbon diesel.

Can Renewable Diesel be used as Heating Oil?

Yes.  Renewable Diesel is a synthetic hydrocarbon diesel fuel.  It can be used interchangeably with petroleum diesel products of similar grade. Heating Oil is typically number 2 diesel which is the same specification as Dyed R99 Renewable Diesel (or blends of Renewable Diesel with petroleum diesel).   Star Oilco now offers R99 Heating Oil delivered in the Portland metro region area of Oregon.

Most modern oil heat appliances use a Becket Burner.  For more on heating fuel compatibility with oil furnaces and oil burning appliance please see “Alternative Fuels and Becket Burners” for more information.

Why do people use renewable diesel over petroleum diesel?

Fleet managers operating R99 Renewable Diesel report a lower mechanical cost of operation using the fuel.  Beyond the immediate benefit of R99 cutting CO2 emissions by half or more, fleets experience performance benefits from the fuel.  Anecdotally the big savings are seen the the performance of Tier 4 Emission systems on modern diesel seeing far less wear of the Diesel Particulate Filter system as well as far fewer regenerations of the system.  Additionally Renewable Diesel is a very clean and dry diesel fuel improving the storage stability, field operation, and general predictability of the fuel’s performance.

What is renewable diesel made of?

Renewable diesel can be made from a host of things, usually a low value waste product. The most common feedstock used currently is waste vegetable oil, wastes from animal rendering, and other biologically derived oils. Processes using bio-oils are following a Hydrogenation process to turn low value waste oils into high value diesel and jet fuel.

Chevron Renewable Energy Group and Diamond Green Diesel (Diamond Green is in a joint venture with Valero) are the largest producer of renewable diesel with their REG Ultra Clean Diesel product in the United States. Neste is the largest producer of renewable diesel internationally, with its “Neste My” product.  being the two largest producers of low CO2 bio-oil derived renewable diesel fuels.

Major petroleum refiners have also turned around existing petroleum refineries into Renewable Diesel Refineries to produce this in demand low CO2 fuel. HF Sinclair , Marathon, Phillips 66, and Montana Renewables. There are quite a few newer Renewable Diesel projects planned and in progress around the United States as well as in the Pacific Northwest.

Other refiners of renewable diesel (on a much smaller scale of production) are using a Fischer-Tropsch process with wood waste, sorted higher grade municipal garbage, and other high btu value carbon based waste products.  Many expect this to technology to be the future of all diesel and jet fuel refining turning refuse into fungible low carbon fuel.

What is renewable hydrocarbon diesel?

Renewable hydrocarbon diesel is a synthetic diesel fuel made from non-petroleum feedstocks like vegetable oil, animal fats, municipal waste, agricultural biomass, and woody biomass. It is characterized by having a low CO2 and renewable resource for its feedstock and is made without crude petroleum, coal, or natural gas as a direct feedstock input in the refining process.

How do they make renewable diesel?

Renewable diesel is made by several processes. If you are buying renewable diesel, it is probably from a Hydrogenation process used by Renewable Energy Group and Neste for their products. Other smaller volume producers are using a Fischer-Tropsch process or Fast Pyrolysis. Both processes involve taking energy dense molecules, cracking those molecules under heat and pressure, then reforming them in the presence of a catalyst and added hydrogen, which forms a renewable diesel molecule.

Is renewable diesel a lower carbon fuel compared to petroleum diesel?

Yes, to this point all renewable diesel made from renewable feedstocks have appeared to be a lower CO2 fuel compared to petroleum diesels. The California Air Research Board in particular has done research on this in depth.

The low CO2 lifecycle emissions of Renewable Diesel also is tracked closely and supervised by California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard, Washington’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard, and Oregon’s Clean Fuels Program. The highest value markets for low CO2 fuels in the United States are California and Oregon, which both have mechanisms that track and price the CO2 intensity of diesel fuels as well as the sustainable lower CO2 substitutes and blend-stocks that can go in those diesels. They track, rate, and determine the carbon intensity of the fuels providing a neutral and scientifically defensible number for CO2 reduction.

Is renewable diesel available in Oregon?

Renewable diesel is readily available for delivery from Star Oilco throughout the Pacific Northwest via 10,000 gallon volumes of bulk delivery.   Star Oilco is also offering bulk delivery of any size and mobile onsite fueling service within 100 miles of the Portland, Oregon market.

Star Oilco has R99 Renewable Diesel available with a Star Oilco CFN Cardlock card in Portland, Oregon.

What is the difference between biodiesel and renewable diesel?

Biodiesel and renewable diesel are very different fuels made with very different processes. In a nutshell, biodiesel is made with a simple chemical reaction that turns vegetable and animal fats into fuel. Renewable diesel is made from far more complicated process where vegetable and animal fats (as well as other feedstocks) are cracked on a molecular level and built back into synthetic diesel fuel.

What is the difference between renewable diesel and Sustainable Aviation Fuel?

The difference between the fuels is the specific gravity and general specification for what the fuel is used for. Jet fuel, or Sustainable Aviation Fuel, and on-road diesel fuel are different fuels and therefore have different specifications. Renewable diesel is typically referring to a #2 diesel specification for on road diesel use.

Sustainable Aviation Fuel or “SAF” is typically referring to “Jet A” or “JP8” jet fuel specification for fuel. This is a #1 diesel range fuel with use and handling requirements that are far more stringent than for on-road or off-road diesel fuels. Renewable jet fuel can be used as a kerosene or #1 diesel fuel but renewable diesel cannot be used as a jet fuel.

Where do I buy renewable diesel in Oregon or Washington?

Renewable Diesel is currently available for bulk delivery and mobile onsite fueling. It will soon be offered at commercial cardlock in the Portland area. It is being sold as R99 and as Ultra Clean Diesel, which is a mixture of biodiesel, renewable diesel, and petroleum diesel.

What is R99?

R99 stands for 99% renewable diesel and 1% petroleum diesel.  Federal rules over alternative diesel fuels made fuels requires that manufacturers of non-petroleum derived diesel fuels must blend a minimum 1% petroleum with the fuel to generate a Renewable Industry Number or “RIN” under the US Federal Renewable Fuel Standard. Additionally there are other incentives that require a “blender of record” to receive these tax credits.

Is renewable diesel being made in Oregon?

As of Spring 2022, renewable diesel is not being manufactured in Oregon. There is a major projects underway, Next Renewable Fuels in Port Westward, Oregon.

What is renewable diesel made from?

Renewable diesel can be made from many energy dense carbon based material.  By volume of produced product sold in the United States, vegetable oils and animal fat-based wastes are the most common feedstock. Woody biomass, agricultural wastes, and sorted municipal wastes are also sources for renewable diesel production.

Is renewable diesel made from palm oil?

Palm oil can be used as a feedstock for renewable diesel. There are producers who use palm oil as a feedstock. In the United States, feedstocks and carbon intensity are tracked closely under both Oregon and California’s fuel programs.  You can determine if a supplier is using palm oil as a feedstock through these regulated pathways.

How much does renewable diesel cost?

This is a tough question to answer given there are several markets intersecting.  From the feedstocks to the market demand for the finished product as well as both California and Oregon’s Clean Fuel Standards which place a price on the CO2 intensity of the fuel which reduces the cost of the fuel if consumed in Oregon and California.

It has consistently been trending between the same cost and over $1 a gallon higher than petroleum diesel depending on the state, you buy renewable diesel in. In California, renewable diesel is very close to petroleum diesel depending on the value of CO2 credits for lower-carbon fuels. In Oregon, it has consistently been between $.05 to $.80 a gallon higher than diesel also depending on the value of CO2 abatement associated with the fuel and what these carbon credits are trading for.

When petroleum diesel costs are high Renewable Diesel tends to be more competitive with petroleum diesel.  When petroleum diesel is below $3 a gallon the cost of Renewable Diesel by comparison is usually higher unless CO2 credits are in higher than normal demand for Clean Fuels Program demands.

Can you mix petroleum diesel and renewable diesel?

Yes. Renewable diesel and petroleum diesel can be blended in any mixture without worry. They are drop-in substitutes for each other in your fleet’s use.  Renewable Diesel is a drop-in fuel. It is a hydrocarbon diesel that will work mixed with diesel or biodiesel blends of petroleum diesel.

More questions coming… or if you would like to learn more contact us.

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What Are Our Options for Alternative Fuels? 150 150 Star Oilco

What Are Our Options for Alternative Fuels?

What are our options for alternative fuel?

Biofuels are eco-friendly fuel choices because they are made from renewable resources and produce fewer emissions than fossil fuels. Biofuels and biodiesel can also be used to improve air quality. They also allow us to reduce the dependence we have on using fossil fuels. 

Biofuels are liquid fuels produced from biomass, which is organic matter such as plants, algae, and agricultural waste. Biofuels can be used to power vehicles, generate electricity, and heat homes and businessesBiofuels are renewable and can reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. They provide an alternative to fossil fuels and help to conserve natural resources. Reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases is an important factor in helping to combat climate change. Biofuels have the potential to be a significant part of the solution. Biofuels can reduce emissions of greenhouse gases by replacing fossil fuels, which are made from non-renewable sources. Using biofuels instead of fossil fuels can also help to reduce air pollution. 

Some common types of biofuels include: 


Ethanol is a type of alcohol that is made from fermented corn, sugarcane, and other crops. It is blended with gasoline to create E85, a fuel that can be used in flexible-fuel vehiclesThis type of fuel is cheaper than regular gasoline, and it is more environmentally friendly. It is also safer to store and transport than other types of fuel. The benefits of using ethanol fuel include reduced emissions of carbon dioxide, improved air quality, and increased energy security. It is also renewable and biodegradable, making it a more sustainable fuel choice. Additionally, the production and use of ethanol fuel can create jobs and support local economies. 



Biodiesel is a type of diesel fuel that is made from vegetable oils, animal fats, and waste grease. It can be used in unmodified diesel engines as a drop-in solution. It is a renewable fuel and emits less carbon dioxide than petroleum-based diesel. Biodiesel is also less toxic and it’s biodegradable. The benefits of biodiesel include reduced emissions of carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, and unburned hydrocarbons; improved combustion efficiency and power output; improved lubricity; and improved fuel economy. Additionally, biodiesel is biodegradable and has a lower energy content than petroleum-based diesel, making it safer to handle and transport in the Portland, Oregon metro area as well as Vancouver, Washington. 

Biodiesel can be used in a variety of applications, including transportation, heating and electricity. Biodiesel is used in transportation to power diesel engines in cars, trucks, buses, and other vehicles. Biodiesel can also be used to heat homes and businesses. Biodiesel also can generate electricity in power plants.  

Biodiesel is a promising alternative to petroleum diesel, and its use is growing around the world. The United States is the world’s largest producer of biodiesel. 

Algae-based biofuels

Algae-based biofuels are a new type of biofuel that is made from algae. Algae are a rapidly renewable resource that can be grown in a variety of environments. Algae is a group of photosynthetic organisms that grow in water. Algae have the potential to produce significantly more oil than traditional biofuel crops, such as corn and soybeans, and they can be grown on non-arable land, such as saltwater or wastewater. This makes algae an attractive potential source of renewable fuel. 

When algae are grown in the right conditions, they can produce up to 77% oil, which can be converted into biodiesel, renewable diesel, or other biofuels such as ethanol, butanol and jet fuel. Algae-based biofuels have the potential to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation, electricity generation, and other industries. However, there are still challenges that need to be overcome before algae-based biofuels can be commercially viable. These challenges include scalable production, costs, efficient harvesting and efficient processing to extract the oil. There is a lot of research and development underway to overcome these challenges and with continued investment, algae-based biofuels have the potential to become a major source of renewable fuel in the future. 



Hydrogen is a versatile energy carrier that has the potential to play a significant role in the transition to a clean energy future. It is the most abundant element in the universe and can be produced from a variety of sources, including natural gas, biomass, and renewable electricity. When used in a fuel cell, hydrogen produces only water and heat, making it a clean and efficient fuel source. 

Using hydrogen as a fuel provides clean burning, a high energy density, efficiency, among many other benefits. Hydrogen doesn’t produce any emissions of harmful pollutants which makes it an attractive option as a fossil fuel alternative. Hydrogen’s high energy density means that a relatively small amount of hydrogen can provide a lot of energy. Using hydrogen fuel cells to generate electricity are 2-3 times more efficient than internal combustion engines. It can also be used in a wide range of applications, including transportation, electricity generation as well as industrial processes.  

Some of the challenges we face with hydrogen as a fuel are its current methods of production. They are not always as clean or sustainable currently. Storing hydrogen, being a gas, requires specialized storage tanks. The infrastructure for transporting and distributing hydrogen is not yet fully developed.  

Overall, there is a growing interest in using hydrogen as a fuel source with very promising results and possibilities in our future. Governments and businesses all over the world have been investing in research and development to figure out solutions to these challenges in order to make hydrogen a more viable energy source.  

Renewable Diesel

Renewable diesel can also be known as hydro-treated vegetable oil (HVO) or green diesel, and is a type of biofuel that is chemically identical to petroleum diesel. It is produced from a variety of feedstocks, including vegetable oils, animal fats, and waste oils. Renewable diesel can be used in any diesel engine without modification, and it offers a number of environmental benefits over petroleum diesel, including: 


Reduced greenhouse gas emissions 

Renewable diesel (R99) reduces greenhouse gas emissions by up to 90% compared to petroleum diesel. R99 being cleaner and more efficient, makes it an attractive option for many transportation companies. 


Improved air quality 

Renewable diesel produces fewer harmful pollutants, such as particulate matter and sulfur oxides, than petroleum diesel. Additionally, renewable diesel is lower in carbon than petroleum diesel, making it a more sustainable option for transportation. Renewable diesel is also more efficient, reducing the amount of energy needed to produce the same amount of fuel. 



Renewable diesel is biodegradable, meaning that it breaks down naturally in the environment.  This helps to reduce the amount of harmful pollutants in the environment. Renewable diesel also reduces emissions of carbon dioxide, a major contributor to climate change. 

Renewable diesel is a promising alternative to petroleum diesel, and its use is growing around the world. The United States is the world’s largest producer of renewable diesel, and the European Union has a mandate to use 10% renewable diesel by 2030.  

Even more of the benefits of using renewable diesel:  

The use of renewable diesel helps reduce our dependence on fossil fuels since it is a renewable fuel.  

The local economy can be supported by renewable diesel, which is often produced from local crops.  

A number of sectors, including agriculture, manufacturing, and transportation, create jobs in the renewable diesel industry.  

Ultimately, renewable diesel is a clean and sustainable fuel that offers environmental and economic benefits. Around the world, its use is growing as an alternative to petroleum diesel. Renewable diesel helps to reduce air pollution, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and reduce dependence on foreign oil. It is also a renewable and sustainable fuel source that can be used to produce electricity. As such, renewable diesel is an important option for reducing carbon emissions and improving sustainability overall. 

When we look at the variety of renewable and biofuel opportunities, there are a variety of ways that we can reduce our carbon footprint today without any modifications to our current engines. However, long term, we have opportunities that we can explore for where we believe that our future is going and the solutions that can allow for an even greater impact to our Pacific Northwest carbon footprint and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Among all of the renewable resources, we can reduce air pollution, increase economic benefits and create a more sustainable future for the Portland, OR and Vancouver, WA metro areas. As technology continues to improve and the production of biofuels and biodiesel becomes more efficient, these fuels are likely to become more affordable and widely available. Feel free to give Star Oilco a call today to discuss your fueling needs today and how we can provide you with renewable sources today as a drop-in solution. 


The Pros and Cons of Renewable Diesel in Your Diesel Truck  150 150 Star Oilco

The Pros and Cons of Renewable Diesel in Your Diesel Truck 


The Pros and Cons of Renewable Diesel in Your Diesel Truck 

 As the world continues to become more aware of sustainable alternatives, renewable biodiesel (otherwise known as R99) has emerged as a promising solution to reduce carbon emissions in the transportation sector. Diesel truck owners, for example, may wonder whether they can switch to renewable diesel and contribute to a greener future as the city of Portland will be enforcing new restrictions and limitations on carbon emissions. Here is more information on the feasibility of using renewable diesel in diesel trucks and looking at the benefits and possible challenges. By understanding the advantages and limitations, you can make an informed decision about integrating this renewable fuel into your trucking operations.


1. Understanding Renewable diesel:

Renewable diesel is a clean-burning alternative fuel derived from natural sources such as vegetable oils, animal fats, and recycled cooking oil. It is produced through a process called transesterification, where the oils or fats are chemically reacted with alcohol to separate the glycerin from the fatty acids, resulting in renewable diesel. This sustainable fuel can be used in diesel engines with little to no modifications, making it a viable option for diesel truck owners. 


2. Environmental Benefits of Renewable Diesel:

Renewable diesel (known as R99) has significant environmental benefits. Renewable diesel reduces greenhouse gas emissions, such as carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and particulates matter, compared to traditional diesel. It has lower levels of harmful pollutants, contributing to improved air quality and reduced smog formation. Additionally, renewable diesel is biodegradable, non-toxic, and significantly minimizes net carbon dioxide emissions over its lifecycle, making it a valuable tool in mitigating climate change. 


3. Compatibility and Performance:

While renewable diesel is compatible for diesel engines as a drop in solution, its essential to consider any factors before switching. Renewable diesel has a slightly lower energy content than regular diesel, which can result in a slight decrease in fuel economy.


4. Availability and Infrastructure:

Is renewable diesel readily available? While renewable diesel is becoming more widespread, its availability may vary depending on your location. Star Oilco offers delivery of renewable diesel (R99) to the Portland, Oregon surrounding area as well as Vancouver, Washington. You can reach out to us to get a quote based on your location and service needs. 

Renewable diesel offers a promising alternative for diesel truck owners who want to reduce their environmental impact. With its environmental benefits, compatibility with diesel engines as a drop-in solution, and ongoing availability improvements, renewable diesel presents a viable solution to achieve sustainable transportation and it contributes to a greener future across the Pacific Northwest.

Call Star Oilco today to discuss using Renewable Diesel as a drop-in solution for your diesel trucks.

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Renewable Diesel vs Biodiesel for Heavy-Duty Trucks 1024 753 Star Oilco

Renewable Diesel vs Biodiesel for Heavy-Duty Trucks

The Fuel Revolution:

Renewable Diesel vs. Biodiesel for Heavy-Duty Trucks 

In the realm of sustainable energy, the race for cleaner and more efficient fuels is a top of mind priority for the majority of the industry. As heavy-duty trucks continue to dominate our highways and play a pivotal role in transporting goods across the country, the choice of fuel is paramount. The two most common fuels used throughout the PNW for greener transportation are: Renewable Diesel and Biodiesel. In this blog, we’ll take a deeper look into the power generation of these fuels, highlighting the key differences between them and citing relevant studies that illuminate their qualities. 


Renewable Diesel: The New Age Wonder Fuel 

Renewable Diesel, often referred to as “green diesel,” or R99 is a high-quality alternative fuel that shares many characteristics with traditional diesel. However, it is derived from renewable feedstocks, such as vegetable oils, animal fats, and waste greases, through a process called hydrotreating. This process not only produces a cleaner-burning fuel but also eliminates impurities and aromatics found in traditional diesel. The result is a fuel with significantly lower emissions and enhanced performance. 

Lower Emissions:

Perhaps the most significant advantage of renewable diesel is its environmental footprint. Studies, like the one conducted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), have shown that renewable diesel can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 80% compared to standard diesel. This drastic reduction in emissions makes it a vital fuel in the efforts to combat climate change. 

Better Fuel Economy:

Renewable diesel boasts a higher energy content than biodiesel, allowing vehicles to travel more miles per gallon. A study by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) demonstrated that renewable diesel can improve fuel efficiency by 5-7% compared to biodiesel. For the trucking industry, this translates to significant cost savings. 


One of the standout features of renewable diesel is its compatibility with existing diesel engines and infrastructure. Heavy-duty trucks can make the switch to renewable diesel seamlessly, without requiring any engine modifications or special storage facilities. 

Reduced Maintenance:

Studies like the one from the University of California, Riverside, have indicated that renewable diesel can lead to reduced engine wear and lower maintenance costs. The fuel’s superior lubricity and cleaner combustion help extend the lifespan of engine components. 

In 2015, NREL ran a study in partnership with the UPS and the Clean Cities Coilation to compare the fuel economy and overall impact of renewable diesel compared to petrelem diesel in 12 USP delivery vehicles operating out of Houston. The results of this study were that renewable diesel reduced carbon emissions by 4.2% comparatively to petroleum diesel. This finding is a result of the properties of renewable diesel given its higher mass-based heating value and lower carbon-hydrogen ratio. 

The UPS is one of the largest user of renewable diesel in the world. In 2015 UPS announced their plans to purchase over 40 million gallons of the sustainable fuel over the next three years (2015-2018). UPS was supplied this renewable diesel by Solazyme (now known as TerraVia).  

Below is a breakdown of the vehicles used in the study.


Biodiesel, often derived from vegetable oils or animal fats through a process called transesterification, has been around for a while and has made significant strides in reducing emissions compared to traditional diesel. However, when pitted against renewable diesel, it falls short in several critical aspects.

The Limitations of Standard Biodiesel


While biodiesel is undoubtedly cleaner than traditional diesel, studies like the one published in the Journal of Environmental Science and Technology show that its greenhouse gas reduction potential is not as remarkable as that of renewable diesel. The production process of biodiesel also consumes substantial energy, offsetting some of its environmental benefits. 


Biodiesel’s energy content is lower than that of renewable diesel, resulting in decreased fuel efficiency. Research from the University of Nevada, Reno, indicates that biodiesel can lead to a 3-10% reduction in fuel economy compared to renewable diesel. 

Cold Weather Performance:

Biodiesel has a higher cloud point and gel point than renewable diesel, making it less suitable for cold-weather operations. Trucks operating in regions with harsh winters may encounter issues with fuel gelling, potentially causing operational disruptions. 

Compatibility Challenges:

Biodiesel’s higher viscosity can lead to filter plugging and injector coking in some older diesel engines. This issue necessitates additional maintenance and potentially costly modifications. 

Alternative Fuels in Portland, OR

The Road Ahead: Renewable Diesel’s Triumph 

In the comparison of Renewable Diesel vs. petroleum diese for heavy-duty trucks, renewable diesel emerges as the clear winner. Its lower emissions, superior fuel economy, compatibility with existing infrastructure, and reduced maintenance requirements make it a game-changer in the transportation industry’s quest for sustainability. 

Studies across the board indicate that renewable diesel outperforms standard biodiesel in terms of environmental benefits and cost savings. For heavy-duty truck operators looking to reduce their carbon footprint and improve their bottom line, renewable diesel is undoubtedly the fuel of the future. 

In the quest for a greener future, renewable diesel has firmly taken the lead. Its remarkable reduction in emissions, better fuel economy, and seamless integration into existing diesel infrastructure make it the go-to choice for heavy-duty truck operators. While standard biodiesel has made commendable progress in reducing emissions, renewable diesel emerges as the winner in the arena of cleaner and more efficient fuels. 

The studies quoted in this blog are just the tip of the iceberg, illustrating the overwhelming evidence in favor of renewable diesel. As we move forward in our pursuit of sustainable transportation, it’s clear that renewable diesel will play a pivotal role in driving us toward a cleaner, more environmentally friendly tomorrow. 

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Renewable Diesel vs Biodiesel 150 150 Star Oilco

Renewable Diesel vs Biodiesel

What’s the difference and how do they compare in price? 

If you are looking for a cleaner and greener alternative to diesel fuel, you might have come across two options: renewable diesel and biodiesel. Both fuels are made from organic sources, such as vegetable oils and animal fats, but they have different production processes and properties. In this blog post, we will compare renewable diesel and biodiesel in terms of their pros and cons, as well as their prices and incentives in Oregon. 

What is Renewable Diesel? 

Renewable diesel is a fuel that is chemically identical to petroleum diesel, but it is made from renewable raw materials through a process called hydrotreating. Hydrotreating removes impurities and oxygen from the feedstock, resulting in a pure and refined fuel that can be used in any diesel engine without modifications or blending. Renewable diesel (R99) has a high cetane number, which means it ignites easily and burns efficiently. It also has a low cloud point, which means it can withstand cold temperatures without gelling or clogging filters. 

What is Biodiesel? 

Biodiesel is a fuel that is made from renewable raw materials through a process called transesterification. Transesterification converts the feedstock into fatty acid methyl esters (FAME), which are then blended with petroleum diesel at various ratios. Biodiesel can be used in most diesel engines, but it may require some modifications or adjustments depending on the blend level and the engine type. Biodiesel has a lower cetane number than renewable diesel, which means it may not ignite or burn as well. It also has a higher cloud point than renewable diesel, which means it may gel or clog filters in cold weather. 

The cost of renewable diesel and biodiesel depends on various factors, such as the type and availability of feedstock, the production process, the market demand, and the government incentives. In general, renewable diesel is more expensive than biodiesel, as it requires more complex processing and higher quality feedstock. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the average wholesale price of renewable diesel in California was $3.06 per gallon in October 2021, while the average wholesale price of biodiesel was $2.76 per gallon in the same month. However, both renewable diesel and biodiesel can benefit from federal RIN’s and state credits such as the low carbon fuel standards, which can lower their effective prices and make them more competitive with petroleum diesel. As of July 10th of 2023 renewable diesel (R99) in Portland Oregon was 60 cents higher than biodiesel (B99). 

 Renewable Diesel vs Biodiesel Carbon Intensity 

According to CARB, the carbon intensity of biodiesel ranges from 14.85 to 67.45 gCO2e/MJ and, renewable diesel ranges from 15.84 to 62.86 gCO2e/MJ, depending on the feedstock and production pathway. The lowest carbon intensity for biodiesel is achieved by using waste cooking oil as the feedstock and renewable methanol as the transesterification agent. The highest carbon intensity is associated with using soybean oil as the feedstock and fossil-based methanol as the transesterification agent. The lowest carbon intensity for renewable diesel is achieved by using waste cooking oil as the feedstock and renewable hydrogen as the hydrotreating agent. The highest carbon intensity is associated with using soybean oil as the feedstock and fossil-based hydrogen as the hydrotreating agent. 


Pros and Cons of Renewable Diesel and Biodiesel 

Both renewable diesel and biodiesel have some advantages and disadvantages compared to petroleum diesel. Here are some of the main pros and cons of each fuel:  

Renewable Diesel Pros: 

– Reduces greenhouse gas emissions by up to 75% compared to petroleum diesel 

– Reduces tailpipe emissions of particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, and hydrocarbons 

– Improves engine performance and efficiency with fewer regeneration cycles of the emissions system 

– Compatible with existing infrastructure and vehicles 

– Biodegradable and nontoxic 

Renewable Diesel Cons: 

– More expensive than petroleum diesel 

– Limited availability and supply 

– May increase emissions of sulfur dioxide 

Biodiesel Pros: 

– Reduces greenhouse gas emissions by up to 78% compared to petroleum diesel 

– Reduces tailpipe emissions of particulate matter, carbon monoxide, and hydrocarbons 

– Biodegradable and nontoxic 

– Supports domestic agriculture and energy security 

 Biodiesel Cons: 

– May increase emissions of nitrogen oxides 

– May cause engine problems such as injector coking, filter plugging, corrosion, and reduced lubricity 

– May degrade over time or when exposed to water or microbes 

Oregon Prices and Incentives for Renewable Diesel and Biodiesel 

Oregon is one of the states that has adopted a Clean Fuels Program (CFP), which aims to reduce the carbon intensity of transportation fuels by 10% by 2025. The CFP creates a market for low-carbon fuels such as renewable diesel and biodiesel by requiring fuel suppliers to either blend them with petroleum diesel or buy credits from low-carbon fuel producers. The CFP also provides incentives for consumers to use low-carbon fuels by reducing their fuel taxes. 

According to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), the average price of diesel in Oregon as of November 2021 was $3.87 per gallon. The average price of biodiesel blends ranged from $3.88 per gallon for B5 (5% biodiesel) to $4.01 per gallon for B20 (20% biodiesel). The average price of renewable diesel was $4.05 per gallon. As of July 2023 the price of renewable diesel (R99) in Oregon was 50 to 60 cents higher than biodiesel (B99). 

The DEQ also provides a Fuel Cost Calculator that allows consumers to compare the costs and benefits of different fuels based on their vehicle type, fuel efficiency, annual mileage, fuel price, carbon intensity, and tax rate. According to the calculator, using renewable diesel instead of petroleum diesel would save an average consumer $34 per year in fuel costs and reduce their carbon emissions by 1.6 metric tons per year. Using biodiesel instead of petroleum diesel would save an average consumer $12 per year in fuel costs and reduce their carbon emissions by 0.8 metric tons per year. 

Renewable diesel and biodiesel are both viable alternatives to petroleum diesel that can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support renewable energy sources. However, they also have some trade-offs in terms of cost, availability, performance, and emissions. Consumers should consider their vehicle type, driving habits, fuel preferences, and environmental goals when choosing between these fuels. Oregon offers some incentives and programs to encourage the use of low-carbon fuels such as renewable diesel and biodiesel, which can help consumers save money and reduce their carbon footprint. 

Renewable Energy
Where is Renewable Diesel Being Produced in The United States? 1024 1024 Star Oilco

Where is Renewable Diesel Being Produced in The United States?

The United States has witnessed a remarkable shift towards renewable energy in recent years, with a growing emphasis on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and achieving a sustainable future. Renewable diesel has emerged as a alternative to conventional petroleum-based diesel, while providing engine performance on par with petroleum diesel. 


Renewable Diesel Producers in the United States:


Neste, a global leader in renewable diesel production, has made significant strides in the United States. The company operates multiple renewable diesel refineries across the world, including its flagship facility in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. To cater to the growing demand in North America, Neste has expanded its production capacity in the United States. The company’s renewable diesel is derived from 100% renewable raw materials, such as waste fats and vegetable oils, resulting in a fuel with significantly lower carbon emissions. Neste has already established a strong presence in the United States, and their production volumes are expected to increase significantly over the next five years. 


Diamond Green Diesel  (Valero and Darling Ingredients):

Diamond Green Diesel (DGD) is a joint venture between Valero Energy Corporation and Darling Ingredients Inc. that focuses on producing renewable diesel in the United States. The DGD facility, located in Norco, Louisiana, is one of the largest renewable diesel refineries in the country. It has the capacity to produce approximately 18,000 barrels per day (bpd) of renewable diesel, equating to over 600 million gallons per year. The joint venture partners are committed to expanding their renewable diesel production capabilities, with future projects expected to increase production volumes even further. 


Renewable Energy Group (REG):

Renewable Energy Group (REG), headquartered in Ames, Iowa, is a leading producer of advanced biofuels, including renewable diesel, in the United States. The company operates multiple bio-refineries across the country, strategically located to maximize feedstock availability and transportation logistics. REG’s renewable diesel production is expected to witness significant growth in the coming years due to increasing demand and favorable regulatory policies promoting renewable fuels. The company has continuously invested in expanding its production capacity, making them a key player in the renewable diesel market. 

Marathon Petroleum Corporation:

Marathon Petroleum Corporation, one of the largest petroleum refining companies in the United States, has also entered the renewable diesel market. The company is repurposing existing refining infrastructure to produce renewable diesel from a variety of feedstocks, including soybean oil, corn oil, and animal fats. Marathon Petroleum aims to capitalize on its extensive refining capabilities and distribution network to expand its renewable diesel production and meet the growing demand for sustainable transportation fuels. 

Estimated Production Volumes and Driving Factors: 

The production of renewable diesel in the United States is expected to experience substantial growth over the next five years. While precise figures can vary due to market dynamics and regulatory changes, industry experts anticipate a significant increase in production capacity and output. Factors driving this growth include: 

Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS) and Low Carbon Fuel Standards (LCFS):

Federal and state-level regulations, such as the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS), have played a pivotal role in incentivizing the production and consumption of renewable fuels, including renewable diesel. These policies impose blending mandates and create markets for renewable fuels, encouraging companies to invest in production infrastructure and increasing overall production volumes. 


Environmental Sustainability Goals:

The commitment to environmental sustainability and reducing carbon emissions has become a top priority for businesses, governments, and consumers alike. Renewable diesel, otherwise referred to as R99, offers a viable solution for achieving these goals, as it significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions compared to traditional diesel. The increasing awareness and demand for cleaner transportation fuels are expected to drive the production of renewable diesel in the United States. 

Investment in Production Infrastructure:

Major players in the energy industry, such as Neste, Valero, and Marathon Petroleum, have made substantial investments in retrofitting existing refineries and constructing new facilities dedicated to renewable diesel production. These investments indicate a long-term commitment to renewable diesel and signal the potential for significant production increases in the coming years. 

Renewable diesel production in the United States is poised for remarkable growth over the next five years, driven by regulatory support, environmental sustainability goals, and significant investments by key industry players. Companies like Neste, Diamond Green Diesel, Renewable Energy Group, and Marathon Petroleum are leading the charge, expanding their production capacities to meet the growing demand for sustainable transportation fuels. With these advancements, the United States is well on its way to achieving a greener and more sustainable future, reducing carbon emissions and promoting a cleaner energy landscape. 

Renewable Energy
Alternative Fuels in Portland, OR
How Renewable Diesel Is Made 940 788 Star Oilco

How Renewable Diesel Is Made

Renewable diesel is a type of biofuel

Renewable diesel is a type of biofuel that is chemically similar to petroleum diesel and can be used in any diesel engine. It can be produced from various feedstocks, such as vegetable oils, animal fats, waste cooking oil, and algae. Renewable diesel can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality compared to petroleum diesel⁵. 

The most common way to produce renewable diesel is by hydroprocessing, which involves reacting the feedstock with hydrogen under high temperature and pressure in the presence of a catalyst. This process removes oxygen, sulfur, nitrogen, and other impurities from the feedstock and converts it into hydrocarbons that are similar to those in petroleum diesel⁴⁵. Hydroprocessing is also used in petroleum refineries to upgrade crude oil into various fuels, such as renewable diesel. 

Other ways to produce renewable diesel include pyrolysis, which involves heating the feedstock in the absence of oxygen to produce a liquid bio-oil that can be further upgraded into renewable diesel; gasificationmar, which involves converting the feedstock into a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen (syngas) that can be synthesized into renewable diesel; and biochemical and thermochemical technologies, which involve using enzymes, microorganisms, or catalysts to convert the feedstock into renewable diesel⁴. 

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), U.S. production capacity for renewable diesel could increase significantly through 2024, based on several announced and developing projects. This growth is driven by higher state and federal targets for renewable fuel, favorable tax credits, and the conversion of existing petroleum refineries into renewable diesel refineries². As of the end of 2020, U.S. renewable diesel production capacity totaled nearly 0.6 billion gallons per year (gal/y), or 38,000 barrels per day (b/d). Several projects currently under construction could increase this capacity by 2.4 billion gal/y; proposed and announced projects would add another 1.8 billion gal/y by 2024. If all projects come online as intended, U.S. renewable diesel production would total 5.1 billion gal/y (330,000 b/d) by the end of 2024². 

Globally, over 1.45 billion gallons of renewable diesel are produced annually and are forecasted to grow up to 3.34 billion gallons in 2024. Neste, a Finland based petroleum refining company, is currently dominating the production of renewable diesel¹. Other major producers include Diamond Green Diesel in the U.S., ENI in Italy, Total in France, and Preem in Sweden¹. 


(1) Renewable Diesel – Alternative Fuels Data Center.

(2) Renewable Diesel – an overview | ScienceDirect Topics. 

(3) U.S. renewable diesel capacity could increase 

(4) Renewable Diesel: The Fuel of the Future – FutureBridge.

(5) Overview of the Production Capacity of U.S. Renewable Diesel Plants

Understanding the Benefits of Renewable Diesel 150 150 Star Oilco

Understanding the Benefits of Renewable Diesel

In an era of environmental consciousness and sustainable alternatives, the need for renewable energy sources has become increasingly evident. One of the notable contenders in this field is renewable diesel —a clean-burning, low-emission fuel that could revolutionize the transportation sector. We will dive into renewable diesel, exploring its production process, environmental benefits, and potential to replace petroleum-based diesel. 

What is renewable diesel? Renewable diesel, also known as green diesel or second-generation biodiesel, is a next-generation alternative fuel derived from sustainable feedstocks such as vegetable oils, animal fats, and waste fats and oils. Unlike traditional biodiesel, which is typically produced through transesterification, renewable diesel is synthesized through hydro-treating. This process removes oxygen from the feedstocks, resulting in a cleaner and more energy-dense fuel that is chemically identical to petroleum-based diesel. 

Environmental Benefits: 

  1. Reduced greenhouse gas emissions: One of the primary advantages of renewable diesel is its significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Studies have shown that renewable diesel can reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by up to 80% compared to petroleum diesel. This reduction is attributed to the use of sustainable feedstocks, which have a lower carbon intensity than fossil fuels.
  2. Improved air quality: Renewable diesel has lower levels of particulate matter, nitrogen oxides (NOx), and sulfur emissions than conventional diesel. Renewable diesel combustion produces fewer harmful pollutants, leading to improved air quality and a decrease in respiratory and cardiovascular health risks for both urban and rural communities.
  3. Sustainable feedstock utilization: Renewable diesel can be produced from a wide range of feedstocks, including used cooking oil, animal fats, and waste oils. By utilizing these feedstocks, the fuel industry can promote the circular economy by reducing waste and repurposing materials that would otherwise end up in landfills. Furthermore, growing dedicated energy crops for renewable diesel production can be done sustainably, without deforestation or compromising food production. 

Advantages Over Traditional Biodiesel:  

  1. Compatibility with existing infrastructure: Unlike traditional biodiesel, renewable diesel can be seamlessly blended with petroleum diesel or used as a drop-in replacement without modifications to existing diesel engines or distribution infrastructure. This characteristic makes it an attractive option for achieving immediate emissions reductions in the transportation sector.
  2. Superior cold-weather performance: Renewable diesel exhibits excellent cold-weather performance compared to conventional biodiesel. It has a lower cloud point and a higher cetane number, which ensures better ignition and combustion even in cooler climates. This attribute makes it a more reliable fuel choice, particularly in regions with frigid winters.
  3. Higher energy density: Renewable diesel has a higher energy density than biodiesel, resulting in increased fuel efficiency and mileage. This benefit translates to longer driving distances per gallon of fuel, making renewable diesel an economically viable choice for vehicle owners and fleet operators. 

Renewable diesel represents a groundbreaking alternative to petroleum-based diesel, offering a host of environmental benefits and paving the way for a greener and more sustainable future. With its significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, improved air quality, and compatibility with existing infrastructure, renewable diesel presents a strong case for a need and desire for a widespread adoption in the transportation sector. As renewable energy technologies continue to evolve, embracing renewable diesel can be a crucial step towards reducing our dependence on fossil fuels.

B99 Biodiesel as a Heavy Duty Fuel 150 150 Star Oilco

B99 Biodiesel as a Heavy Duty Fuel

Using B99 Biodiesel in a Tier 4 Heavy Duty Diesel

B99 Biodiesel reduces CO2 footprint of a 105,500 GVW truck and trailer by more than half at a lower cost than petroleum diesel.

What is B99 Biodiesel?

B99 Biodiesel is as pure of blend of Biodiesel you can get in the United States and still participate in the incentives associated with this alternative fuel.  B99 is the product received by petroleum refiners, terminals, and truckstops to blend with petroleum diesel.  Biodiesel is a renewable, clean-burning diesel replacement.  B99 Biodiesel is a common blendstock with petroleum diesel (being 99% biodiesel).  It can be presumed that nearly every major truckstops throughout the US  is consistently using either a blend of 5%, 10% or 20% of biodiesel   The reason for this is both due to it’s price advantage against petroleum currently as well as Federal/State laws requiring it’s use.

Why Higher Blends of Biodiesel Matter?

Biodiesel is a low CO2, net energy positive fuel.  Depending on the feedstock Biodiesel is made from a CO2 reduction of 30% to 80%+ can be expected compared to petroleum diesel.  As the West Coast (Oregon, Washington and California) ramps up CO2 regulations that charge an additional cost for carbon emissions associated with petroleum diesel the financial case for Biodiesel becomes obvious.  Early adopters will see direct financial benefit.

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Star Oilco has fielded the Optimus Technologies system on our 105,500 GVW truck and trailers.  Star Oilco began with a single Freighliner truck and trailer operating a Cummins ISX as a trial.  This truck’s typical route was approximately 305 miles round trip from Portland, Oregon to Grays Harbor, Washington.  This run is from Star Oilco in Portland, Oregon to the Grays Harbor REG Biodiesel plant and back to the Portland terminals for delivery of this product.    Over the last year and a half this truck has performed amazingly well, the only maintenance concern is swapping the fuel filters more regularly with every oil change.  Mileage and power difference are negligible as noticed by drivers or our Elog system.  On a few occasions a loss of power was experienced requiring an in between service fuel filter swap.

This field trial of the Optimus Technologies system Star Oilco has regularly saved between $15 and $75 a day when running this dedicated route, depending on the cost of B99 Biodiesel versus petroleum ultra low sulfur diesel.  Consistently the price of B99 Biodiesel has been below petroleum diesel in the Portland, Oregon market. This has been due to a combination (or is effected by) RIN values, a Blender’s Tax Credit on biodiesel, and Oregon’s Clean Fuels Program which also prices the CO2 reduction value of B99 Biodiesel.   We see this trend continuing as an assumed market reality for biodiesel.

What is the business case for our deploying B99 Biodiesel Optimus Tech upfit kits?

The systems increase the intelligence of our late model trucks with their very complicated Tier 3 and Tier 4 emissions systems.   The Optimus Kit enables two saddle tanks to operate with the duty cycle of the truck. One tank (which we will be running B5 ULSD or R99 through) is dedicated to fuel the particulate trap and SCR systems.  These systems have extremely tight tolerances and tend to choke on higher blends of biodiesel.  By dedicating a tank with a smart controlling system we reduce the maintenance and concern with these after treatment systems hopefully extending the maintenance cycle on these traps by years while reducing inconvenient efficiency killing regens.

The Optimus Kit also enables a modern diesel engine to run B99 Biodiesel.  It does this by controlling the temperature of the fuel in it’s dedicated saddle tank and routing B99 to the engine when the RPMs and operating temperatures are best for this fuel. Upon start up and shut down the Optimus Technology kit will flush the engine, fuel rail, and injectors with the petroleum/R99 tank ensuring easy start up and no cold weather effects.  The B99 saddle tank is temperature controlled as well to enable performance in extreme weather.  When operating under load the Optimus Kit will move to B99 as the fuel into the engine.  As B99 Biodiesel has a substantial reduction of emissions, particulate, and other compounds when combusted; this further reduces the impact of miles on a truck to the particulate trap and it’s service needs.

Beyond this maintenance experience, the performance and function of the system has been indistinguishable to our other trucks running the same route.

Biodiesel Mandates in the Pacific Northwest

Oregon and Washington have passed legislation which puts a price on the CO2 emissions associated with petroleum diesel.   These laws mean that petroleum fuel costs more than biofuels with a low CO2 footprint.  These laws are also added on top of other mandates and incentives for biofuels.  Biodiesel blends between 5% and 20% are common on the west coast at every gas station, cardlock, and truckstop.

How Can I Utilize B99 or B100 in My Own Fleet? 

Star Oilco uses The Vector System developed by Pittsburgh-based Optimus Technologies. The Vector System is the only EPA-compliant biodiesel engine system and upgrades any medium or heavy-duty engine to operate on 100% biodiesel. It can be installed in as little as 12 hours. Learn more about The Vector System by contacting Optimus Technologies here directly or by reaching out to Star Oilco locally. 



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For more on Biodiesel, Renewable Diesel or Low CO2 fuels please see these other Star Oilco articles:

Every Question Star Oilco has been asked about Biodiesel

Every Question Star Oilco has been asked about Renewable Diesel 

Do you have questions about Renewable Diesel in Oregon 

Wet Hose Fueling Service in Portland, Oregon

About Diesel Fuel 

Biodiesel Use and Handling Guide 

Oregon Legislature proposes an end to petroleum diesel 700 394 Star Oilco

Oregon Legislature proposes an end to petroleum diesel

What are the alternatives to petroleum diesel in Oregon?

If Oregon bans the sale of petroleum diesel, a rapid transition to biofuels such as renewable diesel and biodiesel would happen.





HB 3305 Petroleum Diesel ban

In Oregon, HB3305 is a House Bill proposed by Representative Karin Power to outlaw the sales of petroleum diesel to the public for use in motor vehicles.  HB3305 quoted below:

“Prohibits retail dealer, nonretail dealer or wholesale dealer from selling petroleum diesel for use in motor vehicle on or after specified dates. Requires public improvement contract to require that motor vehicles be powered by fuel other than petroleum diesel. Prohibits public body from using petroleum diesel in motor vehicle under control of public body”

The full text of the current version of HB3305 can be seen here.

HB 3305 mandates non-petroleum diesel be the only legal fuel for sale to diesel powered motor vehicles in Oregon.

Star Oilco has customers ask about this proposal and how real it is?  In Oregon the focus on low CO2 fuels in the legislature is so consistent we can expect this to not go away.  Even if HB 3305 does not move this Legislative session, this will not be the last of biofuel mandates.  For this reason Star Oilco has been working to be ahead of the curve with non-petroleum diesel substitutes. Star Oilco has been selling B99 biodiesel since 2002 and renewable diesel since 2015.  If your fleet has an interest in learning more about low CO2 fuels or try these fuels, Star Oilco is ready to serve you with both R99 renewable diesel and B99 biodiesel.

News coverage of Oregon HB 3305 is below

The Center Square’s Oregon, whose coverage of this has been syndicated to many other online news organizations, lead with the headline: Bill in the Oregon Legislature would ban diesel fuel sales by end of decade.

CDL Life had this to say: The bill would begin to ban the sale of “petroleum” diesel by “non-retail dealers” as soon as 2024 in Clackamas, Washington or Multnomah counties and state-wide by 2027.

Landline as well has following the story: Oregon bill would ban petroleum diesel. Later in the article they add this to the background of HB 3305’s origin: Power said in a statement that her goal is to phase out petroleum-based diesel and replace it with renewable diesel. She says she introduced the bill on behalf of Titan Freight, a local trucking company she says has already transitioned to renewable diesel.

KXL covered this local news quoting Oregon State Representative Shelly Boshart-Davis, a legislator who owns a trucking company and actually buys quite a bit of petroleum diesel.

Lars Larson radio interviews Rep. Shelly Boshart-Davis about HB 3305.

KQEN news radio in Douglas County also covered it with the headline: GOP says supermajority declares war on working class.

The Wildcoast Compass covered the story quoting Rep.Vikki Breese-Iverson (R-Prineville): “There is absolutely no way we can implement this legislation in accordance to these timelines without extreme disruption to Oregonians’ daily lives and the obliteration of our economy as we know it,” 

Oregon Public Broadcasting covered HB 3305 a few days after the bill dropped which might be an indication it’s moving forward. From the story: One bill, House Bill 3305, would set a staggered timeline for ending sales of diesel in the state — first in the Portland area, then throughout Oregon. Its backers hope to spur widespread use of “renewable diesel,” a product with far lower emissions that can be used in any diesel engine. They say the fuel could be an important and near-instant way for the state to cut into greenhouse gas emissions while other technologies emerge.

The Banks Post covered HB 3305 as well with the headline: Diesel fuel under fire in Oregon legislature.

What HB 3305 means in the real world?

HB 3305 means the petroleum diesel used by any commercial vehicles operated on Oregon’s highways will be replaced with biofuels.

Biofuels will replace on-road petroleum diesel at all Oregon:

  • Retail gas stations
  • Trucks stops
  • Commercial cardlocks (Pacific Pride and CFN)
  • Privately owned bulk tanks
  • Mobile on-site fueling (wet hose fueling), and
  • All other bulk deliveries of diesel fuel.

Given the media coverage of this law, which no doubt will grow if this bill progresses to hearings.  Star Oilco wanted to provide more background of what this law would mean for Oregon.  We hope this provides in depth information about what the options are for diesel fuels and a whole host of background information.  The news coverage so far fails to really provide this depth and background for those with concerns.  If you have questions, please do not hesitate to ask. Star Oilco seeks to be a neutral and accurate source of information.

Star Oilco sells renewable diesel in bulk and by our mobile on-site fueling service. It is worth mentioning from our first hand experience that users of it become raving fans.  Renewable diesel is a new fuel that many believe out performs petroleum diesel in every way. Many customers who have used it experienced improvements in horse power, fuel economy, and emission regeneration system performance.

Currently renewable diesel is in extreme high demand, limited production, and commands a high premium over petroleum diesel with few sources of supply.  Renewable diesel has some major backers in the trucking industry as well as OEMs.  As the availability of this next generation fuel grows, the number of plants manufacturing it expands, and it’s price comes down, this type of law may make far more sense.

If petroleum diesel is no longer legal for sale in Oregon, what does that mean diesel vehicles will use?

There are two immediately available diesel rated biofuels that can replace petroleum diesel.  These are two very different fuels. Renewable Diesel and Biodiesel have differences in their properties.  So please don’t confuse biodiesel and renewable diesel as the same fuels.

Biodiesel and Renewable Diesel are very different fuels.

Biodiesel is a proven and longtime available fuel in Oregon.   Biodiesel is not actually a hydrocarbon diesel though, it is a diesel like biofuel made from vegetable oil usually sold in a 5% to 20% blend with petroleum diesel. It is not recommended to run pure biodiesel in late model diesel engines if they have a particulate trap.  This differs from Renewable Diesel which is a next generation synthetic hydrocarbon diesel made from various feedstocks including vegetable oil.  It is actually diesel, it can be used as a pure drop in fuel without any blending with petroleum diesel.

What are non-petroleum diesel fuels?

Oregon HB 3305

Biodiesel or B99 (99% Biodiesel + 1% Petroleum Diesel)

Renewable Diesel or R99 (99% Renewable Diesel + 1% Petroleum Diesel)

Blends of Biodiesel and Renewable Diesel (branded REG UltraClean Diesel)

HB3305 allows for biofuels in replacement for diesel.  We assume that change would be from a current Oregon fuel mandates of B5 or R5 biofuel diesel blend to a B99 or R99 mandated fuel.   Under current Oregon law all diesel fuel must contain a 5% blend of biodiesel or renewable diesel.  Oregon’s biofuel content law can be read at ORS 646.922 and we can assume this would change that to a 99% mandate. Why 99% instead of 100%, that is a good question relating to Federal regulation of the US diesel and gasoline markets.


Why does this require a 99% blend (B99/R99) instead of 100% biofuel?

The reason biodiesel and renewable diesel are sold at a 99% blend is because of Federal rules associated with how petroleum companies must handle these fuels.  For this fuel to be used under the US EPA’s Renewable Fuel Standard program biodiesel and renewable diesel must be blended at a minimum 1%.  When fuel is blended at 1% with diesel, the EPA enables it to generate a “Renewable Identification Number” or “RIN” which is regulated to ensure a minimum amount of biofuels is used in the stream of commerce for fuel in the United States.  This Federal program is separate and unrelated to any program in Oregon, though the law recognizes and seeks to align with the framework created by the EPA.

What are the fuels HB 3305 would allow to be used by diesel motor vehicles in Oregon if this bill was passed into law?

The two fuels immediately available if this law was passed into law are B99 Biodiesel and R99 Renewable Diesel.

Both of these fuels exist today but have their own drawbacks.  In a nutshell, B99 is not a drop in substitute for petroleum diesel.  It is recommended to be blended at 20% with petroleum diesel (NOTE: B99 biodiesel can be used in modern diesel with an up-fit kit provided by Optimus Technologies).  On the upside, biodiesel is plentiful and competitive with petroleum diesel in cost.  If HB 3305 passed though this plentiful fuel wouldn’t be a ready substitute beyond a 20% blend with renewable diesel or with mechanical changes to existing trucks.  Contrast this with  R99 renewable diesel as a drop in ready to go substitute for petroleum diesel.  It is ready to use without blending, but has the downside of being in short supply and at a cost premium above petroleum diesel.

If Oregon’s over 2,000,000 gallons of diesel usage a day (or 750+ million gallons a year) was mandated to renewable diesel no doubt that premium would probably exceed $2 a gallon over petroleum diesel given R99’s lack of ready additional supply.  This $5 a gallon presumes that Oregon would have to pay more for the existing renewable diesel supply finding it’s way to California with several dollars a gallon of value paid for it’s lower CO2 baseline value.  California has a Clean Fuel Standard and a CO2 Cap and Trade program which provide a monetary value for renewable diesel’s lower CO2 numbers.  Oregon has a Clean Fuel Program as well, but it’s program does not pay as much for low CO2 fuels as California, making low CO2 fuels such as renewable diesel more expensive in Oregon.

B99 Biodiesel in depth.

Blends of biodiesel below 20% are extremely common in Oregon.  All fuel must contain at least 5% biodiesel content and many retail outlets, cardlocks, and major truck stops commonly sell a 10% to 20% blend of biodiesel around the state.

Biodiesel is a diesel like fuel manufactured by a chemical reaction called transesterfication, typically from vegetable oil or recycled cooking oil.  It is made by a relatively simple process and biodiesel has been a proven fuel in use in Oregon for nearly twenty years.  Star Oilco started handling and selling biodiesel in 2002.  Prior to 2007, B99 was commonly used by many commercial fleets due to it’s huge reductions in tail pipe emissions.  Vehicles manufactured after 2007, are clean diesels.  The US EPA required new clean diesel emissions systems which are impressive in their ability to make modern diesel engines extremely clean, but they can only handle biodiesel blends below B20 or 20% biodiesel unless an upgraded system is added.

Today B99 is a possible fuel for a modern clean diesel fleet with an upgrade to existing vehicle fuel supply system.  Optimus Technologies has an approved technology to enable a modern diesel aftertreatment system to operate without problems on B99.   Star Oilco has purchased five of these systems and is currently fielding them in the Pacific NW.  We expect these systems to be mainstream in coming years, but just like Renewable Diesel the technology is newly available and scaling up.

For more information about biodiesel please see our biodiesel FAQ titled Every question Star Oilco has been asked about biodiesel.

If you are interested in using biodiesel in your fleet, you can contact Star Oilco with questions or if you want to start researching we highly recommend starting with this US Department of Energy handbook titled Biodiesel Use and Handling.


R99 Renewable Diesel in depth.

Renewable Diesel is a next generation biofuel made from fats, oils, and greases. It is not an alternative diesel, renewable diesel is a petroleum free hydrocarbon diesel fuel. It is diesel! Renewable diesel not only less than half the CO2 of diesel refined from petroleum fuel, but it is cleaner burning and has shown evidence of reducing the cost of maintenance in fleets using it. Renewable diesel is a profound technology which has the potential to use the lowest grade trap greases, sewer materials, rendering wastes, municipal garbage, and a host of other refuse products making them into this high performance, sustainable, low CO2 diesel.

There are two categories of technology that renewable diesel is made from.  Hydrogenation and Fischer Tropsch process.

Renewable Diesel from Hydrogenation or Hydrotreating

Hydrogenation derived renewable diesel is very similar in manufacture to modern petroleum diesel in that the molecules of a the feedstock is cracked and reformed in the presence of a catalyst to form a very specific series of hydrocarbon molecules.  These being diesel and propane range fuels. The feedstocks used by renewable diesel plants are vegetable oils and animal fats.

The hydrotreating plants providing renewable diesel to Oregon currently are Neste from a plant in Indonesia, Diamond Green (in a joint venture with Valero), Sinclair, and Renewable Energy Group. All of these plants are over subscribed and 100% of their production is being taken at a premium primarily by the California low CO2 fuels market.   There are several new renewable diesel plants under way though.  Holly Frontier, Marathon, CVR Energy, and Phillips 66 are converting existing petroleum refineries into renewable diesel plants.  This process costs billions of dollars, will take years to complete, and also will be likely destined for California’s low CO2 fuel market with smaller markets like Oregon being an afterthought.

Renewable Diesel from Fischer Tropsch process.

Currently there are a number of smaller demonstration facilities making renewable diesel from wood waste and other feedstocks.  The largest proposed project currently on the books is Illinois Clean Fuels which will be collocated with major CO2 capture facility making their product negative CO2.  Fischer Tropsch renewable diesel is expected to be the future of refining given it’s flexibility of feedstock.  It’s process enables the use of municipal garbage, agricultural waste, woody biomass, and other low value plentiful materials as feedstock.  Given that the United States is called by some the “Saudi Arabia of garbage” we have plenty of supply waiting for a higher and better use as low CO2 transportation fuel.  Illinois Clean Fuels has a great explanation of how Fischer Tropsch makes renewable diesel and jet fuels.

Where can you get Renewable Diesel in Oregon?

Star Oilco currently is selling R99 Renewable Diesel for commercial use.  We can deliver to fleets seeking it in bulk or mobile onsite delivery (wet hose R99 diesel service begins Spring 2021).  If you fleet wants to trial renewable diesel, Star Oilco can work with you on a loaner tank for a 90 day demonstration of the fuel.  Call Star Oilco if you have an interest in Renewable Diesel for your fleet 503-283-1256.

If you have questions about renewable diesel, Star Oilco wants to provide answers.  Feel free to reach out if we do not have the answer we will research it.

For more information about renewable diesel please see our renewable diesel FAQ titled Every question Star Oilco has been asked about Renewable Diesel.


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