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How much does biodiesel cost to make?

To answer the question "How much does biodiesel cost" we need to look at direct costs such as raw materials as well as indirect costs like labor.

The first direct cost is the oil. Usually home biodiesel producers use old cooking oil. If you have to pay for the oil (which is common in certain countries) then you need to make sure that once you add the cost of the chemicals it is still cost effective.

The second portion of the direct cost is the process chemicals. This is usually less than US$ 0.10 per liter.

You can do a basic costing yourself by filling in the following table. Fill in the cost per liter of methanol and oil, fill in the price per kg of KOH (Potassium Hydroxide). You will have to Google for suppliers of these chemicals in your area. Duda Biodiesel can supply all the chemicals in the USA


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Chemical Cost per Liter/kg (A) Qty Per Liter (B) AxB


KOH   0.01  
Oil   1  


Here is a worked example. In a certain country methanol costs $0.30 per liter, KOH costs $0.2 per kg and oil is free.


Chemical Cost per Liter/kg (A) Qty Per Liter (B) AxB
Methanol 0.3


KOH 0.2 0.01 0.002
Oil 0 1 0
Total   $0.068/liter


Our final cost is $0.068 per liter.

This answers the "How much does biodiesel cost?" question from the perspective of raw materials.

You may want to add your labor and other costs onto this. Labor input really will depend on the capacity of the plant. Typically you will need about 2 working hours spread over a 24 hour period to produce a batch of biodiesel.

You will also use about 4kw/h of electricity per 100 liters of biodiesel. To water wash would use a minimum of 100 liters of water per 100 liters of biodiesel.

These costs exclude depreciation of plant and equipment, finance costs, costs etc. But for a home producer these should not be significant.


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