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Biodiesel Energy Balance Increases

The energy balance for biodiesel is better than ever.

At a press conference this morning in Orlando, a new analysis was unveiled that shows the energy balance of biodiesel is a positive ratio of 3.5-to-1. That’s an increase from 3.2 to 1 determined by the Department of Energy National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) and USDA in 1998.


Read the press release here.

NBB conference 08The new research conducted at the University of Idaho in cooperation with USDA.

“The bottom line is that the energy balance of biodiesel has definitely improved in the last decade,” says University of Idaho Department Head of Biological and Agricultural Engineering Jon Van Gerpen, who credits Assistant Professor Dev Shrestha and graduate student Anup Pradhan for their work on the study. “The increase in soybean yields and a decrease in herbicide use greatly contributed to the increased energy balance. Meanwhile, energy used for crushing soybeans is significantly lower than what was reported in the NREL study.”

You can listen to an interview with Van Gerpen here:

    1 Comment

  • May 2, 2009 — 10:06 pm

    Ryan J

    It’s great to hear about these new findings, I will surely share it with my biodiesel group at PSU.

    My main curiosity… the new 3.5:1 energy balance refers to 3.5 units of energy out to every 1 in. Does energy in have to mean fossil energy or can it include renewable energy!! For instance, if the fertilizers were made with by-products of the BD process (K3PO4 or K2SO4), the tractors used the biodiesel to till and harvest, and if biodiesel and the sun were used to process the biodiesel (electricity and heat)…. the biodiesel energy out to FOSSIL FUEL put it, could be dramatically increased?! NO? I hear a thesis with someones name on it.

    What is the energy balance of WVO??? Its going toward waste anyhow and already got some use out of it…

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