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Saturday, October 08, 2005

Biodiesel

By e-mail, I was asked what I think of biodiesel as a fuel source. I appreciated the comment, as I had never really thought of, perhaps never even heard of, biodiesel. Here's the Wikipedia article on the subject. (Biodiesel also has a trade association.) The article says that biodiesel is, unlike petroleum or coal, a renewable fuel. It also says that it is less combustible than petroleum diesel, therefore being safer in accidents, and that it puts less pollutants into the atmosphere. Biodiesel, it says, is derived from animal fats or vegetable oils. There are downsides. Growing enough plants (sunflowers? peanuts?) to produce a serious amount of biodiesel would probably require a significant increase in agriculture, which itself, especially in its modern highly mechanized form, is not very environmentally friendly. Currently, biodiesel is more expensive to obtain than petroleum diesel, but, if used a lot, the price would probably come down.

My previous post that triggered the e-mail that triggered this post was on Hydrogen fuel cells. Wired reports that stocks of companies working in that area have been declining in value recently, and that we are a long way from the Hydrogen economy.

This site says that you can make your own biodiesel in your kitchen. My mention here is NOT an endorsement of these procedures, and I have no plans to do this myself.

Willie Nelson (yes, the Willie Nelson) is pushing, and, apparently, selling biodiesel fuel.

The military is using biodiesel.

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