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FAME: Biodiesel - good, but not perfect

The not-so perfect solution

Biodiesel production is the production of Fatty Acid Methyl Esters (FAME). This process uses renewable feedstocks like vegetable oil, animal fat, or tallow to produce diesel.

There is a global demand for refiners to fulfill their renewable volume obligations – and biodiesel production can help. But while producing biodiesel is a relatively inexpensive process, the fuel’s oxygen content makes it less valuable than renewable diesel produced from a hydrotreatment process. Today, most countries have restrictions on how much biodiesel can be blended into diesel, since the properties of fossil and biodiesel are not identical. This has led many refiners to revamp their biodiesel production plants and use processes like HydroFlex™.

A renewable alternative

HydroFlex™ transforms any feedstock into drop-in, ultra-low sulfur gasoline while using much of the existing and surrounding infrastructure leftover from FAME processes. This includes storage tanks and pretreatment units, which can be repurposed to lower the implementation cost of the hydrotreatment process. The result is the production of 100% drop-in ready renewable diesel that adheres to all specifications and has no blending maximum.

Outpacing fossil feedstocks

Renewable feedstocks offer you several advantages over first-generation FAME (fatty acid methyl esters) or conventional non-renewable feedstocks. Here’s how conventional diesel, FAME and renewable diesel stack up:

  Conventional diesel 1st generation diesel FAME Renewable diesel
Cetane 40-55 50-60 70-80
Cold flow properties ++ + +++
Blend in - max. 7% 0-100%
Market value ++ + ++++


From grassroot units, to revamps or standalone applications, HydroFlex™ offers an easy and flexible way to get started with hydrotreating at your refinery. Overall, the process allows you to transform almost any renewable feedstock into drop-in, ultra-low sulfur gasoline, jet fuel, or diesel that meets today’s market standards.

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