In this study, the performance, combustion and injection characteristics of a direct injection diesel engine have been investigated experimentally when it was fueled with canola oil methyl ester (COME) and waste (frying) palm oil methyl ester (WPOME). In order to determine the performance and combustion characteristics, the experiments were conducted at constant engine speeds under the full load condition of the engine. The results indicated that when the test engine was fueled with WPOME or COME instead of petroleum based diesel fuel (PBDF), the brake power reduced by 4-5%, while the brake specific fuel consumption increased by 9-10%. On the other hand, methyl esters caused reductions in carbon monoxide (CO) by 59-67%, in unburned hydrocarbon (HC) by 17-26%, in carbon dioxide (CO2) by 5-8%, and smoke opacity by 56-63%. However, both methyl esters produced more nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions by 11-22% compared with those of the PBDF over the speed range. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.