Difference Between Diesel and Bio-Diesel (With Table)

Fuel has been considered to be the most omnipotent source of energy. It is versatile as it is capable of producing energy in the form of heat as well as power.

Initially, fuel was used as a source of energy merely for cooking food to sustain living; but, as the human psyche developed they understood other applications of fuel. It has majorly remained the predominant price-determining factor for a long time as prices of all the essential commodities are dependent on the prices of fuel.

It adds value to the supply chain costs of any organization. Unfortunately, as it is non-renewable it is subject to depletion and price rise due to over-use by humanity.

The different types of fuel that exist currently are petrol, diesel, and biofuels. As Science is progressing humans are researching alternate sources of energy to maintain parity between the demand and supply to stabilize prices of essential commodities and prevent further depletion of non-renewable resources.

Apart from petrol being in wide usage, there are diesel and CNG that are chiefly being used for transportation purposes due to economical rates. Bio-diesel recently gained popularity owing to its lower impact on the environment and high fuel efficiency, coupled with the benefits of renewability and cost-efficiency.

Diesel and Bio-diesel are poles apart when it comes to renewability. Diesel is non-renewable whereas, Bio-diesel is renewable.

This implies that Diesel is a derivative of crude oil which is a fossil fuel and cannot be replenished easily as it relies on the remains of animals and plants that have been buried for centuries to form a fossil which is then used to extract Diesel from the bedrock of waterbodies.

Diesel vs Bio-Diesel

The main difference between Diesel and Bio-Diesel is that Diesel is a hydrocarbon that is derived from crude oil which s a fossil fuel and cannot be replenished easily whereas, Bio-Diesel is a renewable source of energy derived from animal and plant fat.


Comparison Table Between Diesel and Bio-Diesel (in Tabular Form)

Parameter of Comparison




Diesel is a by-product of crude oil that is derived from the Fractional Distillation of crude oil between a temperature range of 200°C and 350°C.

Bio-Diesel is derived from vegetable oil and animal fats using the process of transesterification.

Molecular Structure

The fuel comprises 75% saturated Hydrocarbons and 25% aromatic hydrocarbons it appears in chains of 9 to 25 carbon atoms per molecule.

The fuel is composed of long-chain fatty acid esters. Typically a molecule of bio-diesel consists of a long chain of carbon atoms with hydrogen attached along with an ester functional group in the end.

Combustion Temperatures/Rate

It has a low combustion rate. The fuel has flashpoints between 52°C and 96°C.

Depending on the blend of the fuel bio-diesel combustion temperatures vary between 25°C, 40°C and 55°C.


It is versatile and has varied applications across different industries such as a locomotive, construction equipment, and well-simulation

Bio-diesels are used for transportation, cleaning up of oil spills and grease, cooking, removing paint and adhesive, etc.

Environmental Impact

The fuel produces harmful emissions on combustion such as ground-level ozone and particulate matter along with block smoke and soot that negatively impacts the quality of breathable air.

It is non-toxic and bio-degradable and produces fewer air pollutants on combustion such as particulates, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, hydrocarbons, and air toxics and might have a higher proportion of Nitrogen Oxide.


What is Diesel?

This Fuel was a result of the patent invention of the Compression Ignition Engine done by German Engineer Mr. Rudolf Diesel for a Diesel engine in 1892. He experimented with many types of fuels including Coal and Soybean Oil and was successfully able to run the engine between Indianapolis, Indiana, and New York City.

Since then the Fuel has been popular amongst the transport industry. It is a by-product of the Crude Oil Distillation process generated between a temperature range of 200°C and 350°C. The fuel has totted a Hydrocarbon and has a combustion point as low as 52°C and as high as 96°C.

Although one cannot Deny the negative contributions of the fuel to the alarming issue of global warming, It is still being accepted in wide usage due to fuel economy. The fuel Has a higher percentage of Sulphur that makes it flammable.


What is Bio-Diesel?

Bio-Diesel has been a recent development due to rising concerns over environmental pollution. This fuel is a replenish-able and Eco-friendly alternative to diesel and can be replaced without modifying the existing diesel engines. It is a composition of mono-alkyl esters of long-chain fatty acids derived from vegetable oils or animal fats.

The fuel has different combustion points depending on the Fuel Composition. The fuel needs to be composed strictly as per the industry specifications defined by the ASTM. Since raw vegetable oil cannot meet the specifications set hence, it is to consider as a Bio-Diesel.

The fuel is an environmentally safe alternative as it reduces lifecycle greenhouse gases by 86% providing for beer air quality and lower risk of Global Warming. The fuel consists of a lower percentage of Sulphur and hence has to be mixed with Petroleum to create ignition.

It is a Carbon-neutral form of energy as the carbon Emission produced from the burning of such fuels is easily absorbed by plants. The Carbon-dioxide produced in the process is absorbed by the plants during their growth and hence, maintains maintain the Carbon-cycle balance, thereby making it a preferred choice for the eco-conscious consumer.

Main Differences Between Diesel and Bio-Diesel

Diesel and bio-diesels are Both fuels that play an important role in the development of any economy. Though both of them are a kind of fuel, they have the following variances:

  1. Diesel is a by-product of Fractional Distillation of Crude Oil which is more commonly known as Petrol whereas, Bio-diesels are derivatives from Animal, and plant Fats and oils as a result of the transesterification process where the glycerin component of the fuel is separated from the Methyl Esters.
  2. Both Diesel and Bio-Diesel are Hydrocarbons but differ in composition due to the raw materials and processes used to derive them. A typical diesel molecule would be composed of 9 to 25 carbon atoms per molecule but may extend unto 16 Carbon atoms per molecule followed by Hydrogen atoms. Whereas, bio-diesels are composed of long-chain of fatty acid esters with a long chain of carbon atoms with hydrogen attached along with an ester functional group in the end.
  3. Both Fuels have very low combustion temperatures due to auto-ignition properties. Diesel has a combustion rate between 52°C and 96°C whereas, depending on the blend of the fuel bio-diesel combustion temperatures vary between 25°C, 40*C and 55°C.
  4. Both fuels have varying applications but the only difference that Diesel is not used for cooking in the current scenario, unlike Bio-Diesels.
  5. Every fuel has an impact on the environment it may be positive as well as negative. Burning of Diesel releases harmful greenhouse gases such as ground-level ozone and particulate matter along with Carbon Mono-Oxide and other Air pollutants. Whereas, Bio-diesels only generate particulate matter and a large proportion of Nitrous Oxides.



To conclude the benefits of Bio-Diesel outweigh the demerits of Diesel making it the preferred choice for usage over Diesel. Nevertheless, Diesel is still widely used for transport purposes and for the generation of power to illuminate cities and towns.

The process of developing Bio-Fuels has picked up pace owing to the environmental concerns on the burning of fossil fuels. Bio-Fuels are a renewable source of energy with Lower combustion points, higher fuel efficiency and economy, and lower environmental impact.

Shortly Bio-fuels might just be the most viable option to protect our environment. However, it will not be an easy road ahead as more sources of Renewable energy are being explored.



  1. https://lirias.kuleuven.be/retrieve/58728
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1364032107001438
  3. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0196890408001192