Flutterby™! : Biodiesel

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2005-12-09 15:12:34.747855+00 by Dan Lyke 1 comments

What happens when biodiesel goes beyond the waste of deep fat fryers?

In promoting biodiesel - as the EU, the British and US governments and thousands of environmental campaigners do - you might imagine that you are creating a market for old chip fat, or rapeseed oil, or oil from algae grown in desert ponds. In reality you are creating a market for the most destructive crop on earth.

[ related topics: Nature and environment Economics ]

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#Comment Re: made: 2005-12-12 02:28:48.433824+00 by: ebradway

I need to do some fact-checking on this article - for my own edification, if anything. This guy claims that the petroleum oils we use currently have the energy equivalent of 400X the entire biota of the planet?!? His calculations are that perfect conversion of plantmatter to energy, we would need to grow for 400 years to produce the fuel for one years' use? Hmmmm....

Further, the crux of the article lambasts the use of Palm Oil for biodiesel. Granted, palm plantations are destructive, but Palm Oil also is considerably more energy-rich than current biodiesel crops of soybean and rapeseed. But everyone isn't pushing for Palm Oil biodiesel (I have often wondered why Costa Rica doesn't run their public transit busses on the abundant palm oil from existing plantaions - considering the availability of palm oil and the lack of availability of petro and the warm climates that make running straight oil possible)...

However, another report I saw stated that we need to increase the amount of farmland in the US by 6% to completely replace the current demand for petro with biodiesel. This is easily accepted when you consider how much of the US farmland is currently used for feeding cows and hogs (around 95% of the corn crop in the US - about all of Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado plains, and Missouri).

I'll report more when I finish the fact-checking.