Distillates are petroleum products that includes diesel, jet fuel, and fuel oil. Renewable distillates may be categorized as substitutes or drop-in replacements. The most common distillate substitute is biodiesel, and drop-in replacements can be produced via hydrotreating or gasification plus Fischer-Tropsch (FT) technology.
Biodiesel is produced by reacting fats like vegetable oil (sources include soybeans, oil palm, or even oil from algae) or animal fats with an alcohol like methanol. The products of the reaction are biodiesel and glycerin. The chemical structure of biodiesel differs from that of petroleum diesel in that biodiesel contains oxygen. This is what makes biodiesel a distillate substitute instead of a drop-in replacement, in manner analogous to that of ethanol and gasoline.
Tags: Green diesel, hydrogen, NExBTL technology, palm oil, refinery, coal, natural gas, gasification
Source: Biofuels Digest, 2012-08-31.