These three terms are being heard from every quarter of the oilheating industry. Often they are used interchangeably---this is not correct. Each one has a specific meaning and knowing the difference matters. Here are very short definitions to help keep them straight. These are not meant to be technical definitions, but a usage guide.
Biofuel: a fuel derived directly from living matter. Often used as a generic term that may include various fuels such as biodiesel or ethanol. Usually considered renewable.
Biodiesel: a very specific product produced in a very specific way to meet very specific specifications. The feedstock to create biodiesel can vary and may include soy oil or tallow. Here is what the National Biodiesel Board has to say about it: "a fuel comprised of mono-alkyl esters of long chain fatty acids derived from vegetable oils or animal fats, designated B100, and meeting the requirements of ASTM D6751." If not... it's not biodiesel.
Bioheat®: A registered trademarked name whose definition is a liquid fuel that is comprised of a blend of petroleum #2 distillate fuel (heating oil/diesel) and Biodiesel (see above). To meet the definition, the petroleum component must meet the ASTM D396 standard and the biodiesel component must meet the ASTM D6751 standard. If those two criteria are not met, it cannot be called Bioheat(R).
Remember, biodiesel is a biofuel but not all biofuels are biodiesel. Also, biodiesel is the only acceptable biofuel component in Bioheat®
Article reprinted with the permission of Indoor Comfort Marketing: www.indoorcomfortmarketing.com