Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Fuel Fad?

I found this article off and thought it was an interesting one about BioDiesel so thought I would pass it along.

Some of the info from the article:

Biodiesel Basics
But ethanol isn't the answer for the near future. Right now, industry divining rods are coming together over the next most probable big thing: bio-diesel, a vegetable-based fuel that can power any diesel engine with little or no modification.

First things first: forget most everything you know about diesel engines ... and the fact that they used to be noisy, clattering, dirty, smelly and black-cloud belching. Today, diesels are as quiet as gasoline engines, smooth running, powerful, and nearly soot-less in terms of exhaust emissions. Simply put, modern diesels are not dirty anymore. Even that objectionable "eau d'diesel" that makes diesels so unpleasant to tail in traffic is pure history. However, if you recall that diesel engines are efficient, do keep that in mind because today's modern oil burners are exceptionally fuel-efficient. This efficiency is why over half of all vehicles in western Europe are diesel powered.

Now imagine the benefits of being able to run a modern diesel engine on a non-petroleum diesel fuel. Wouldn't that be fantastic? It would be even better if the fuel were made from something other than what we directly or indirectly eat, like corn. Rising prices for milk, beef, and tortillas as a result of corn now being used to make ethanol.

Currently, biodiesel in the US is made from rapeseed (canola) and soy oils. These oils are plentiful and cheap, and turning them into usable fuel is not too complex provided you understand transesterification and don't mind working with methanol (a toxic substance). Lucky for us, there are plenty of people who do understand how to safely turn these plant oils into fuel, and US biodiesel production has increased from a mere 500,000 gallons in 2000 to over 75 million gallons in 2006 according to figures published at Additional high-capacity plants are said to be coming on-line so biodiesel will continue to become more available. See bio-diesel stations around the country here.

Check out the rest of it to learn more about BioDiesel.

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