Even though scientists E. Duffy and J. Patrick experimented with
biofuels as early as 1853, the first engine created to use biofuel
was by Rudolph Diesel. In fact, Rudolph Diesel showed the first
biofuel car engine in Augsburg, Germany on August 10, 1893.
Since then, August 10 has been known as International Biodiesel
Day. It must be noted that British inventors Herbert Akroyd Stuart
and Charles Richard Binney had come out with a similar engine
about the same time as Rudolph Diesel.
In 1900, Rudolph Diesel demonstrated his first biofuel car engine
at the Paris, France World Fair. The car engine ran on peanut oil.
The biofuel diesel inventor was awarded the Grand Prix, which was
the highest prize attainable at the World Fair.
According to Diesel in a 1912 speech, "The use of vegetable
oils for engine fuels may seem insignificant today, but such oils
may become, in the course of time, as important as petroleum and
the coal-tar products of the present time."
The diesel engine, because of its weight was first used for stationary
applications such as pumping fluids. It was also used to motivate
ships and submarines. In 1923, the first diesel truck was tested
by Daimler, MAN and Benz.
In the 1920's engineers redesigned the biofuel engine to run better
on petroleum since oil was cheap and in abundance. In 1933 the first
biofuel car, the Citroën Rosalie (pictured above) was produced.
It was also the first diesel car,
passenger vehicle and most models by that time ran on petroleum,
though a few people used different kinds of vegetable oils for their
G. Chavanne at the University of Brussels, Belgium, was granted
a patent for the transesterification of vegetable oils in 1937.
The process of alcoholysis, ethanol and methanol were mentioned
in the patent. Automotive historians regard this as the first
formal production of what we know as biodiesel today.