Palm oil is an edible plant oil derived from the mesocarp of the fruit of the palm, reddish in color because of its high beta-carotene content. It is a common ingredient for cooking in Africa, Southeast Asia and Brazil. The global production of palm oil in 2010 accounted for 45% of the entire worldwide vegetable oil production: 58 million tonnes, ahead even of soybean oil. Indonesia and Malaysia are the largest producers, followed by Nigeria and Colombia.
Rapeseed oil was produced in 19th century as a source of a lubricant for steam engines. It was less useful for animals or humans because it has a bitter taste due to high levels of glucosinolates. Rapeseed is grown for the production of animal feed, vegetable oil for human consumption and for the energy industry. The world production was 36 million tonnes in 2010-2011, and is rapidly growing. Leading producers are: Poland, Romania, the UK, Germany, Canada, the United States, Australia, India and China.
Palm oil and rapeseed oil can be used to create biodiesel, as either a simply processed palm oil mixed with petrodiesel, or processed through transesterification to create a palm oil methyl ester bland. The usage of biodiesel is still modest worldwide but it is growing. Large oil companies in the UK and Malaysia are mixing their standard fuel with biodiesel (5% of the refined mix). In Asia, especially in Malaysia, palm oil is blended with other petroleum distillates for powering motor vehicles while in Europe rapeseed oil is used. Europe used 66% of the total rapeseed supply in the European Union for the production of biodiesel to be blended with standard fuels. Rapeseed is currently grown with a high level of nitrogen-containing fertilizers, and the manufacture of these generates N2O, a potent greenhouse gas with 296 times the global warming potential of CO2. Both the oils can be also used as fuel oil for biomass power plants for electricity and heat power production.