Biodiesel advocates are cheering the release of a U.S. Department of Energy lifecycle analysis of biodiesel fuel which shows that it has “the highest energy balance of any fuel.” The study states that biodiesel’s energy ratio of 3.2-to-1 is much higher than the 0.83-to-1 ratio for petroleum diesel fuel.

This shows that biodiesel “provides an immediate opportunity to conserve energy because every gallon of biodiesel fuel used in place of ordinary petroleum-based diesel fuel has the potential of extending non-renewable fossil energy reserves by four times,” said Joe Jobe, executive director of the National Biodiesel Board (NBB). “For every unit of energy used to produce biodiesel, 3.2 units of energy are gained. This is the highest energy balance of any fuel and four times higher than conventional diesel fuel.”

Biodiesel, which is made from sources such as soybean oil, was the focus of a half-day outreach session conducted by the Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) at its facility in Beltsville MD, the NBB said. In conjunction with the event, Secretary of Agriculture Ann M. Veneman announced she had signed a directive ordering all USDA fuel tanks to be filled with biodiesel nationwide, where feasible.