The search for alternatives to petroleum-based fuels has led to the development of fuels from various sources, including renewable feedstocks such as fats and oils. Several types of fuels can be derived from these triacylglycerol-containing feedstocks. One of them is biodiesel, which is defined as the mono-alkyl esters of vegetable oils or animal fats. Biodiesel is produced by transesterifying the oil or fat with an alcohol such as methanol under mild conditions in the presence of a base catalyst. Another kind of product that can be obtained from lipid feedstocks is a fuel whose composition simulates that of petroleum-derived diesel fuel. This kind of fuel, probably best termed ‘‘renewable diesel’’, is produced from the fat or oil by a hydrodeoxygenation reaction at elevated temperature and pressure in the presence of a catalyst. This article discusses in a general and comparative fashion aspects such as fuel production and energy balance, fuel properties, environmental effects including exhaust emissions and co-products. Among the questions that are addressed are if these fuels compete with or complement each other and what the effect of production scale may be. Published by Elsevier Ltd.