Quick green fuel dictionary

If you’re new to the whole biofuel world, there may be a lot of terminology that you’re reading but not understanding. To that end, here’s a glossary of words we’ll be using regularly on AutoblogGreen, and what we mean when we use them. Stick around, and you’ll know your B20 from your FFV in no time.
  • Biofuel – a fuel, such as biodiesel or ethanol, which is made, at least in part, from plant-based materials.
  • Biomass – any organic substance, like wood chips or sugar cane, which is used as a base in making a biofuel.
  • Biodiesel – diesel fuel that is made in whole or in part from biological sources. Biodiesel fuels are referred to according to the percentage of biodiesel mixed with regular diesel, so B20 is made from 20-percent biofuel and 80-percent regular fuel. More at Wikipedia.
  • Ethanol – Ethanol is a fuel that can be made from biological sources and results from the fermenting of sugars with yeast. Some cars can run on pure ethanol, others use ethanol blended with gasoline. These blends are named after the percentage of ethanol in the mix, so E85 is made with 85-percent ethanol and 15-percent traditional gasoline. More at Wikipedia.
  • FFV – Flexible Fuel Vehicle, a standard gasoline engine that has been modified to accept ethanol-gasoline blends. Most new cars in Brazil and an increasing number in the United States are FFVs.
  • Hybrid – A vehicle that can run off of either the standard engine or battery under the hood. The battery is charged while driving, and is often the sole power source to start the car and operate it at low speeds.
  • SVO – straight vegetable oil. Most diesel cars can run on SVO, but modifications need to be made first, such as adding a second fuel tank for non-SVO fuel. The car must be started and run for a few minutes until the SVO heats up and thins out enough to run through the engine. More at Wikipedia.

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