News and information about Biodiesel & alternative fuels.


NYTimes on SVO

The New York Times just posted an article about Brent Baker, a guy who drives an old school bus powered by SVO (straight veggie oil).

"Mr. Baker's interest in grease began in 1995, when he was traveling the country with an acting troupe and discovered that "the lion's share of the money we were raising went straight to Shell." The acting troupe was of the sort that staged environmentally conscious, anti-corporate political sketches. It seemed to contradict its mission to spend its money in support of Big Oil."

"As the story goes, they came across two women somewhere east of San Francisco who were cooking up a blend of grease and diesel with some cheesecloth and a Bunsen burner on the side of the road. "They said, 'Yeah, we're making biodiesel," he recalled. Mr. Baker was immediately hooked."

A Google search on Brent & biodiesel turns up a Salon article about him from March, 2003.


Welcome, BoingBoing readers! I wrote in to them after seeing this post about a biodiesel adventure in México:
"In Mexico City, a group of ecologists are wandering from taqueria to taqueria in search of waste cooking oil to fuel an old school bus for an environmental awareness tour from California to Costa Rica."
Turns out they have a site and blog of their own!
"In 2003 we made the firstever journey from California through Central America on buses runningon 100% vegetable oil. The two-bus tour ran through California, Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica, and carried a 25-person team of sustainability experts, eco-technologists, farmers, performance and media artists."


Daryl Hannah: Biodiesel Fan
Hollywood actress DARYL HANNAH insists millions of people could follow her example of driving a car fuelled by vegetable oil - they just need a diesel engine.

The KILL BILL beauty, based primarily in Colorado, lives an environmentally-friendly existence with a solar-powered home. And when she leaves the confines of her house, she drives around in her 1983 EL CAMINO, which has had no special work done to it to get it running on bio-diesel.

She says, "Basically, in 1900 at the World Fair, RUDOLPH DIESEL invented the diesel engine to run on peanut oil so farmers could grow their own fuel. So any diesel engine can still run on vegetable oil. It doesn't cause greenhouse gases and has lower carbon dioxide and all the other emissions.
[via MattH]


Biodiesel at Universities

If you're interested in biodiesel use on University campuses, check out the University of Colorado at Boulder's CU Biodiesel site. From their About page:
"In the fall semester of 2002, 5 students from a CU engineering class designed and created a biodiesel processor. With this asset, CU Biodiesel was formed to implement biodiesel at the University. CU Biodiesel worked with campus officials to produce and test biodiesel made from waste cafeteria grease. In March 2003 one campus Buff Bus began running on 100% biodiesel. Later that spring the students of CU overwhelmingly voted on a referenda ballot to fund CU Biodiesel 49 cents per student per semester for four years in order to implement biodiesel on campus and in the surrounding community."

"CU Biodiesel has worked and continues to work with the City of Boulder and the University to switch their fuel of choice to biodiesel. All of the 13 diesel busses in CU's fleet now run on either 100% or 20% biodiesel. The City has made significant advances toward a similar change. In September the first public biodiesel pump in the Rocky Mountain region was opened with the help of CU Biodiesel."
[via a post to PaloAltoBiodiesel]

ChangeThis: "The Answer is Biodiesel"

Seth Godin's has a section on biodiesel, which includes a free, 24-page pdf article by Michael Briggs of the UNH Biodiesel Group. The article discusses research the Group has done on Algae Ponds as biodiesel-producers, as well as some hydrogen economy myth-busting and a bunch of raw facts & numbers.

It's an excellent read — download it here.

[via Suhit Andula of WorldIsGreen]

South Africa (followup)

I recently asked if anyone had info about biodiesel in South Africa. Simon Wilson (simon.wilson [at] replied with the following via email:
There's a good deal of interest in biodiesel in SA at the moment, but very few actual users it seems.

Here are a few useful URLS:
The City of Cape Town has published a state of the environment report that includes a section on renewable energy in the transport sector.

My interest is in seeing how to get hold of biodiesel here, and if its not available, why on earth is it not?!


Saab BioPower

Saab just announced a new 'BioPower-fuled' car, which runs on ethanol:
"In Sweden, Saab 9-5 BioPower customers will be able to use E85 fuel (85% ethanol/15% gasoline) which costs about 25 per cent less per liter at the pumps. They will also be exempt from projected city congestion and parking charges. In addition, company car drivers will qualify for a 20 per cent reduction in car benefit tax."
[via Treehugger]


Biodiesel in Barcelona

Biodiesel at the pump

Via my sister comes this photo advertising biodiesel at-the-pump, near the Salvador Dalí museum in Barcelona.



Last week I heard from Adam Stein of TerraPass via email:
"The idea behind TerraPass is simple. TerraPass allows individual consumers to tap into the growing market for carbon emission credits traded by large companies such as DuPont and IBM. These markets are structured in the same way as as the markets for sulfur emissions that were so successful in reducing acid rain."
I promptly read through their entire site — the concept is fascinating. Their FAQ sums it up nicely:
Isn't buying a TerraPass essentially just a donation to preserve the environment?

Let's put that question in another context. Is cleaning up after your dog essentially just a donation? Is picking up your trash in the woods essentially just a donation? Cars make a mess; even if not as visibly as your dog. Clean up after your car.

Does TerraPass physically modify my car?

No. TerraPass is a market mechanism that tips the economic balance in favor of efficiency and renewable energy. This mechanism results in exactly counterbalancing the carbon emissions of your driving, without modifying your car physically.


Trucking fleets?

I received email from a BiodieselBlog reader inquiring about trucking fleets that use biodiesel — the reader is a truck driver and is interested in driving for one of these fleets. Does anybody know of any, or know where we could locate more details about biodiesel fleets?

I posted about this back in April, but unfortunately the NBB's Fleet Report URL is broken.

Some quick Googling revealed a few sites:
If you have any more info, leave a comment.


Documenting a Biodiesel Business

If you're interested in finding out what goes on behind the scenes at a small-scale biodiesel business, check out Yokayo Biofuels' weblog at LiveJournal. (newsreader users can subscribe to their feed, too). They're based in Ukiah, California, just a bit north of San Francisco, and supply biodiesel products and services to the Northern California region. From their company site:
"Today's fledgling biofuel industry is a long way from being fully sustainable. It is the goal of Yokayo Biofuels to help this industry evolve and expand, ibncreasing general awareness about fuel alternatives and their production. By keeping our business small scale and local we will be able to focus on empowering individuals, farms, and businesses in our community with the information, equipment, products, and services necessary. We will strive to offer the most sustainable products at the best prices possible."
Recently they've posted a number of insightful entries, revealing some of the difficulties in getting a biodiesel business off the ground:
"Now, every load is delayed, or communication is lost and it's not in the right place, or something happens and I end up calling every supplier in the west. It's a broken record. I've gotten good, high quality fuel for a nice long period now, but I'm tired of running out. One answer is more storage, so we can stock up. We'll certainly work on that. It would be different if direct relationships with producers were easier. They used to be. Now they all want to deal with big petroleum companies."
They also discuss some of the finer details of the various vehicles and components they're using:
"This afternoon, we received shipment of 100 custom-made Viton gaskets that are the appropriate size and shape to replace those annoying rubber ones that keep our filter housings sealed at the top. This is only really meaningful to folks who use our National Spencer ("Zee-Line") filters on their fuel storage. But we have a lot of them out there, and sell more all the time. The rubber gaskets have been a pain in the neck because they swell and make it very difficult to unscrew the housing to change the filter."
On top of all this, they're a closely-knit, family-oriented business:
"Austin's going to show up in a little while to perform his first day of work here. 5 hours. It takes me back to when I started work at my dad's CPA firm when I was around Austin's age. I did data entry. Austin will do mostly cleanup and shop maintenance, as well as filling people up. We'll see how it goes. I work with my wife, my dad, and now my brother."
In blogging all they're going through, they're creating a wonderful biodiesel-related resource on the web. Check 'em out!


The Propel Project

The Propel Project Blog is a fantastic new blog about biodiesel, based in Seattle.


A Bit More FUD

... from Philadelphia
"One company that disposes of a whole lot of grease is McDonald's, which is looking into recycling cooking oil into biodiesel, according to spokeswoman Julie Pottebaum. 'However,' she said, 'we have no future plans to expand this small test.'"


"Before you rush out and pimp your ride into a veggiemobile, know that critics not only wave it off as an unproven fad, but warn it could hike insurance rates, void car manufacturers' warranties and result in inconsistent performance."

"'We don't hold a lot of faith in filling up at the hamburger stand,' says Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum, a pro-diesel advocacy group, citing car manufacturer concerns about low-quality vegetable oil's effect on a vehicle's fuel injectors."
[via GMSV]


News from Berkeley

Just got email from the Berkeley Biofuel Oasis folks with some exciting news — their pump is installed and operating!
"Many of you already know, that the big day is upon us."

This Saturday Nov. 13 from noon- 4pm we'll be celebrating it's arrival! And if everything goes well in the next few days - we'll also be using it then too. Show your member card for priority pumping. We've invited some of the large biodiesel busses down to host people in for hanging out and discussions."

"Thanks to your financial support and a lot of hard work from several key people, we will finally have the pump available for public use here in Berkeley."

"There have been a lot of additonal costs, as always, so brag to your friends about how great you feel to be a founding member bringing biodiesel to Berkeley and make them want to come down this Saturday and become a founding member too."

South Africa?

A BiodieselBlog reader just wrote in:
"I just came across your blog on biodiesel and am hoping you might help me. I'm trying to find out the stats on biodiesel use in South Africa - if it's currently being used, if there are pilot projects for public transportation, plans to use it in farming equipment, and anything else."
Anybody out there have info on this? If so, leave a comment.


NYTimes on SVO

Quick, read this article before it falls behind the foolish Times "walled garden" archive! It primarily talks about folks who run Straight Veggie Oil (SVO) in their cars, as opposed to biodiesel.
"Straight vegetable oil has some advantages over biodiesel, which is derived from vegetable oil or animal fat by processing with alcohol. Biodiesel is available at more and more suppliers around the country, but it is expensive and taxable as a motor fuel. Because of cost, it is usually mixed with diesel fuel, but can be burned by itself. S.V.O., by contrast, is not taxable, and when collected from restaurants, it is essentially free. (New vegetable oil can be used, but it costs at least $2 a gallon.)"


Wired on Biodiesel (again)

Ryan MacCarthy emailed a link to this Wired article, Automakers Give Biodiesel a Boost; here's a snippet:
"Big Five auto manufacturer DaimlerChrysler recently took steps to seed consumer interest in biodiesel. The company said this month that it would fill the tanks of all its new Chrysler Jeep Liberty vehicles with biodiesel. DaimlerChrysler will fill the vehicles with B5, which mixes 5 percent biodiesel with diesel fuel..."

"General Motors will be increasing its support of biodiesel in the near future, according to GM fleet account executive for government, Brad Beauchamp. He said that the warranties for all GM vehicles with diesel engines would be updated to allow for the use of B20 (fuel composed of 20 percent biodiesel mixed with regular diesel) and as soon as a standard is passed. Beauchamp said ASTM International is expected to ratify a B20 standard within a few months."
That's great news about the warranties — I wish VW would do the same. Or maybe they have already; anyone know?

Google & Biodiesel

Google recently set up a shuttle service to make like easier for its San Francisco-based employees (who commute ~45 minutes one-way to HQ in Mountain View every day). While cool, they went one step further:
"Our bus runs on biodiesel fuel. This clean-burning alternative to gasoline is produced from renewable - and domestically grown - resources. Biodiesel contains no petroleum, is biodegradable, nontoxic, and essentially free of sulfur and aromatics..."

"It does cost more than regular diesel, but consider this: The Google shuttle carries an average of 155 employees a day. Each run totals about 75 miles - that's 11,625 miles a day we're not driving. If the average car gets 25 mpg, then we're saving some 465 gallons of gas a day, or 2,325 gallons a week - weekly savings of $4,998.75 (figuring $2.15/gallon)."

(disclaimer: I work on the Blogger team at Google, but alas can't take advantage of this wonderful service because I don't live in SF...)


John Kerry Digs Biodiesel

Check out the John Kerry: Part 2 video clip in the Daily Show Celeb Interview Archive — Kerry mentions biodiesel:
"There is no possible way for us to drill our way out of this crisis, we have to invent our way out of it - by moving to alternatives, renewables, fuel efficient vehicles, biomass, biodiesel."


KK Digs Biodiesel

Kevin Kelly, one of Wired's co-founders, recently blogged about his experience with biodiesel:
"I have been running Bio Diesel in my truck for over a year now. Bio Diesel is basically slightly refined vegetable oil that can run in ANY diesel vehicle with little to no modifications...

"The best part of running Bio Diesel is that no wars need to be fought over it: it's entirely domestic, supports US farming, it's totally renewable, and it cuts almost all aspects of a diesel vehicle's emissions by more than 50-75%. (The exception is NOx which is about the same)."

Biodiesel Filling Stations

Another Wired report on biodiesel, this time on the increasing number of filling stations popping up around the US:
"Biodiesel fueling stations are sprouting like weeds across America, where production of the alternative fuel rose 66 percent in 2003. Experts say the rapid growth of the renewable fuel will stretch the country's tenuous petroleum supply while helping people breathe a little easier."


"Ron Heck, president of the American Soybean Association, said biodiesel can be blended with regular diesel in any ratio, or can be used as a fuel by itself. 'It has almost the same amount of (energy) as petroleum diesel,' Heck said. Using biodiesel will clean an engine's fuel injectors and cut down on the number of required oil changes, according to Heck. 'I buy it because it's better fuel.'"


"Biodiesel currently costs between 20 cents and 30 cents more per gallon than standard diesel, Higgins said, but pending legislation may help to make it more economical. In May, the Senate passed a bill that would give a 1 cent tax credit for each percent of biodiesel blended with petroleum diesel."


The Diesel Comeback

Wired, Diesels Rolling Back Into U.S.:
"Auto manufacturers are betting that higher gas prices and more environmentally friendly technology will convince more Americans to buy diesel vehicles, which currently make up 40 percent of auto sales in Europe."

"Most auto manufacturers stopped selling diesels in the United States in the 1990s. But diesels are back, as Mercedes-Benz, Jeep and Volkswagen roll out vehicles at the 2004 New York International Automobile Show."


"Environmentalists are split on diesel vehicles. While they are more fuel-efficient and produce less CO2 emissions than gasoline cars, they emit more particulate matter and NOxs."



Via Slashdot via JMacD, there's news that a certain type of algae could be harnessed to produce biodiesel:
"The focus of this program was to investigate high oil yield algaes that could be grown specifically for the purpose of wide scale biodiesel production1. Some species of algae are ideally suited to biodiesel production due to their high oil content (some as much as 50% oil), and extremely fast growth rates. From the results of the Aquatic Species Program2, algae farms would let us supply enough biodiesel to completely replace petroleum as a transportation fuel in the US (as well as its other main use - home heating oil)."
Even better,
"Algae grows ideally in either hot desert climates or off of waste streams. NREL's research focused on the development of algae farms in desert regions, using shallow salt water pools for growing the algae. Another nice benefit of using algae as a food stock is that in addition to using considerably less water than traditional oilseed crops, algae also grows best in salt water, so farms could be built near the ocean with no need to desalinate the seawater as it is used to fill the ponds."
Read the rest of the article, from the University of New Hampshire's Biodiesel Group.



Nice, biodiesel hit Slashdot today!



Via the excellent new Green Car Congress blog, there's news of a biodiesel trial in Denver:
"Denver will begin using an alternative fuel in 60 city vehicles as part of a pilot project unveiled Thursday, which was Earth Day."

"Mayor John Hickenlooper said he expects the city to use about 50,000 gallons of clean-burning B20 biodiesel by the end of the year."


The Southern Illinoisan reports,
"John A. Logan College automotive instructor Lee Rawson is a pioneer when it comes to alternative fuel knowledge. For the last five years, he has operated a vehicle that runs on biodiesel fuel. And the last three years, he has operated a vehicle that runs strictly on cooking oil."

"Making a hands-on presentation Wednesday afternoon at the college before a group of 40 fascinated students and onlookers, Rawson explained that biodiesel fuel can be made in the comfort of your own garage with a few helpful hints."
I like that, "a group of 40 fascinated students and onlookers." Nice!


Great news from the Philippines:
"The Philippines Wednesday formally launched its coconut methyl ester initiative under the supevision of the newly created National Clean Diesel Task Force as part of the government's effort to boost use of the environment friendly fuel and lower its expensive oil imports bill. The task force was set up to oversee the implementation of the program, which aims to promote the product first to government-run organizations and then to the public, aDepartment of Energy offical said Thursday."

Straight Up

Eric over at Schoebiz posted an easy-to-understand piece on the composition of biodiesel:
"I guess they use the word "bio" because the ingredients come from biological sources. The ingredients are methanol, lye, and fat. You can make this stuff out of waste vegetable oil (WVO) from a Burger King. Fat is just a series of triglycerides. A triglyceride is comprised of three (tri) fatty acid chains and one glycerine molecule. When you mix the lye and methanol with the triglycerides, the lye breaks up the glycerine from the three fatty acid chains it’s connected to. Then the methanol comes in and connects with all the broken up fatty acid chains. So the final product is basically a whole lot of methyl esters (a methanol combined with a fatty acid chain) mixed in with some leftover lye and glycerine. Once you wash the solution and drain out the extra shit, you have pure methyl esters. And that's all biodiesel is. But let me tell you, these methyl esters are crazy. I mean, you can run a freaking car on them."
Right on, Eric.

Why do I dig biodiesel?

Over at the Livejournal Biodiesel Community, Spike asks,
"So, what draws you to biodiesel? Is there one thing in particular, or is it a combination of many things? Inquiring minds wanna know!"
For me, it boils down to one main reason: the Earth's pertroleum reserves are gonna be gone sooner rather than later, and therefore we need to change our ways sooner rather than later. Biodiesel isn't the answer, but there doesn't yet to be a single answer to the conundrum of our energy future. Biodiesel is one huge step toward a renewable economy, and is entirely feasible right now, this moment. Just pump it into a hyper-efficient VW TDI (~50 mpg, comparable to gas/electric hybrids) and you're on your way.

The Big Picture

Kumar reminds us that the biodiesel movement isn't all happy happy joy joy:
"The fact that we are driving almost 1000 miles roundtrip to pick up less than a week's worth of fuel disgusts me. Sometimes I feel like I need to talk a little bit more about conservation. Think of this story next time someone talks about how great biodiesel is. Biodiesel is a great new development, but it doesn't solve some key problems. Carpool. Walk. Bike. Use biodiesel when you need to drive, and remember: it's all about making a lighter footprint on the earth."
Kumar runs Yokayo Biofuels in Ukiah, California, north of San Francisco- there's more good info in his post, Myth Debunking 101.


A Model Activist!

I agree with Kumar- Lyle from Piedmont Biofuels is most definitely a model activist! Here's his description of meeting with the North Carolina State Energy Office:
"They were not a bunch of bureaucratic half-wits that were humoring some biodiesel whacko from Chatham County. They hit hard upon increased NOX emissions. They were well versed on ethanol (stumped me), and compressed natural gas. They were intimate with the fuel distribution lobby, and the car dealership lobby, and they knew the legislature very well. I got the distinct feeling that they also knew biodiesel."

Creating a Market

Lyle posted Piedmont Biofuels' (of Pittsboro, North Carolina) first press release, here's a great snipppet:
"We accidentally created a market," said Rachel Burton, one of the coop's founders. "People came to the classes, they started buying diesels, and started making their own fuel, and we ended up with folks at our doorstep thirsty for biofuels."

"We can't possibly make enough to meet demand, so we are putting the tanker on the road to meet the needs of our user community," said Burton.

More from Ohio

Great news from Toledo, Ohio (my home state!):
"Some big money is coming our way today from the federal government. Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur says $1.5 million is coming to Toledo for a new way to gas up buses. She says by using this money to fit buses to use bio-fuels could help farmers, the environment, even the geo-political balance of power."

More linkage

World Transformation linked here last week, here's a neat factoid from their blog: "The last several times I rented a car in Europe, particularly from Avis, it was fueled by biodiesel. Which explains the occasional smell of french fries, but that is well worth it, knowing that it is much more resource friendly, and will run for many kilometers with the stuff."

Another Biodiesel Blog!

Looks like Kumar from Yokayo Biofuels started a blog over at LiveJournal, excellent! I've added him to the blogroll at the right.

After a bit more browsing, it seems he came across this here blog almost three weeks ago, d'oh! Kumar's operation looks to be ~2 hours north of me (I'm in Woodside, California), I'll have to go up for a visit some time!

There's also tons of great stuff at the LiveJournal Biodiesel Community.

Miami Airport

SolarAccess is also reporting on biodiesel rumblings at the Miami International Airport:
"The Florida Energy Office, together with Gold Coast Clean Cities Coalition and the Miami Dade Aviation Department, will assess the feasibility of replacing diesel with biodiesel fuel in baggage transport equipment and fuel trucks. The $54,000 project will also assess the market potential for biodiesel, explore its compatibility with current systems and test fuel quality, performance and storage requirements."


SolarAccess reports:
"Green Star Products, through its affiliated company American Biofuels (with a 35% ownership by GSPI), will be receiving, along with other biodiesel producers, the highest USDA biodiesel industry subsidies in history during the 2nd Quarter of 2004. The USDA set the subsidy for this period on March 18, 2004 at approximately $2.50 per gallon for West Coast producers."


Northern Ontario Business mentions a guy who just started a biodiesel business there:
"As a test project, Niles has gradually added bio-diesel to the diesel engine in his 1984 Mercedes, and by June of this year he plans to be using up to 80 per cent bio-diesel to operate his vehicle."

"The use of used cooking oils is the only way to produce bio-diesel inexpensively, and this leads to soap formation. Niles is an advocate of washed bio-diesel and believes his wash formula is superior to conventional methods. He says bio-diesel is compatible to run in any diesel engine, and can be used in any mix with petrol diesel; it is also compatible with kerosene."

Los Angeles

The Long Beach Press Telegram has some interesting facts in a recent article about biodiesel:
  • "The problem, however, is that it creates many more nitrogen oxides (NOx) than traditional diesel - as much as 12 percent higher according to a 2002 consultant report commissioned by the South Coast Air Quality Management District, which regulates air locally."
  • Biodiesel from vegetable oils produces less particulate matter, more NOx and more engine impact (meaning it can wear out or dissolve engines parts more quickly than regular diesel).
  • Biodiesel from animal fat produces less NOx and engine impact, but higher PM counts.
  • When biodiesel is blended with traditional diesel, PM counts lower dramatically, NOx increases are less severe and the biodiesel inventory can be stretched.
  • If all the waste oil that the 15 million people in the South Coast air basin produce each year was turned into biodiesel, there would be enough to make about 18 million gallons each year. That's just higher than 1 percent of our local diesel consumption.
  • "The NOx is a result of temperature,' he said. "The diesel engine needs to reach a certain temperature to run and that produces NOx, so you're always going to have NOx.'
The Nitrogen stuff us new FUD to me...

BioVehicle Crash - No Worries!

The Daily Herald of Everett, Washington has this great story about an excavation vehicle crash, which resulted in 140 gallons of spilled biodiesel:
"When one of Earthwise Excavation's vehicles crashed into a drainage ditch and spilled 140 gallons of fuel from its ruptured gas tank, it could have been an environmental headache. But firefighters and an Environmental Protection Agency official responding to the spill were stumped. They had expected a large puddle of diesel requiring an intensive cleanup effort..."

"The responding crews finally decided that hosing down the area with water was enough."

Extreme Home-brew

These folks appear to be building their own biodiesel-processing facility; it's fascinating to see it documented!

Low Impact

The Low Impact Living Initiative (in the UK) has produced a nice infosheet (180k pdf) about biodiesel. From the site: "Feel free to print them, distribute them, or use them for educational purposes." Here are the rest.

North Dakota

North Dakota is seeing some biodiesel action:
"A new coalition is being formed to promote ethanol, biodiesel, wind and biomass development in North Dakota. The Renewable Energy Partnership will seek to expand markets for renewable energy. Acting chairwoman Jocie Iszler says members also will promote state and federal legislation to enhance their industry."

Senate Bill Next Week

A biodiesel tax incentive for farmers might hit the Senate floor next week, according to the Farm Press:
"National Corn Grower Association leaders say a scaled-down version of last year’s energy bill tax incentives for the production of ethanol, biodiesel and wind energy could reach the Senate floor next week. The bipartisan agreement would be a series of amendments that are likely to be attached to the Foreign Sales Corporation/Extraterritorial Income Exclusion legislation that is scheduled for debate when the Senate returns from its Easter break next week."


The HempCar folks are evangelizing industrial hemp as a biodiesel source:
"Hemp car was an alternative-fuel project car that utilized hemp biodiesel for fuel. Industrial hemp would be an economical fuel if hemp were legal to cultivate in the United States. Industrial hemp has no psychoactive properties and is not a drug. Hemp Car demonstrates the concept of hemp fuels on a national level and promotes the reformation of current law."
[via ShitHappens]

The Real Cost of Petroleum

Via Jon's blog, here's a FAQ from Yokayo Biofuels:
"It is important to understand that the price of biodiesel is an "honest price". There are no hidden taxpayer fees unlike with petroleum diesel. The true cost of a gallon of petroleum fuel has been evaluated at $5.00-$14.00+ per gallon. This high "real" cost is due to things such as taxpayer-financed subsidies to the petroleum industry and the guarding of our pipelines by the military. The potential of the "real" price of petroleum going even higher increases as we aggressively use the military to protect "our" oil supply. We think it is a safe assumption that the price of petroleum will continue to climb. Thankfully, there is no reason to assume the same with biodiesel."

Biodiesel by snail mail

Via this thread on Tribe, it appears you can have biodiesel shipped to you by UPS. Not surprisingly, prices look pretty steep.


Biodiesel FUD

For the less-geeky, FUD means Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt, and this Houston Chronicle article is loaded with it:
"But automakers say they are suspicious of industry claims that biodiesel is significantly cleaner than petroleum diesel and can protect engines with its improved lubricating properties..."

"Most do not recommend the use of biodiesel in their light-truck diesel engines, although Ford Motor Co. says fuels containing no more than 5 percent biodiesel can be used in its diesel-powered vehicles. Most biodiesel fuel is blended with petroleum diesel."

"Volkswagen, the only automaker that sells diesel passenger cars in the United States, does not recommend biodiesel for use in its vehicles."
What's this nonsense about VW? Volkswagen TDIs are probably the most popular vehicle to run on biodiesel, because they're so darn efficient- 45+ mpg!


Biodiesel-powered Trains in India

"Following the directive of the Railway Board to all zonal railways in the country to try using bio-diesel as an alternative to petrol-diesel for its locomotives and vehicles owned by the railways, the Loco Works Department at the Integral Coach Factory in Chennai had started using bio-diesel for its three vehicles (one van and two jeeps) from today..."

"Bio-diesel, which is developed at a plant specially commissioned for the purpose at ICF, uses a process called esterification to convert plant seed oil into bio-diesel. The oil is collected from the seeds of the plants Jetropha and Karanjia (Pungam), which are perennial and need less water for cultivation."

Columbia (South America)

Here's a great piece about University of Colorado students helping build a 60,000-gallon biodiesel production facility for a community in Columbia; the oil will come from left-over palm leaves.

Berkeley, California

Not surprisingly, Berkeley's on top of things:
"The City of Berkeley is already on bio-diesel's cutting edge. In 2001, thanks to a large push from the Ecology Center, a local community and environmental organization, the city became the first to run its entire fleet of recycling trucks on the new alternative fuel. The success of the switch impressed city officials, and today a large part of the city's diesel fleet, including fire trucks, school busses and public works vehicles, run on bio-diesel at least part of the time."


Good news: DaimerChrysler is testing biodiesel in India:
"Flagging off the test run from the headquarters in Pune, DaimlerChrysler India CEO, Hans Michael Huber, said, 'Our biodiesel project has been a very successful initiative. The fuel prepared from extracts of the Jatropha plant has already been approved through laboratory testing.'"


The Maui News:
"But will Oahu take to a diesel vehicle - no matter how environmentally friendly - that smells like a fried akule?"

"'We'll find out,' said Pacific Biodiesel owner Bob King on Friday, as the first car powered by diesel fuel refined from fish oil rolled out at an Odyssey Day show at Neal Blaisdell Center..."

"Actually, despite all the jokes about herrings and tuna, the fuel source is Bering Sea pollack oil, the residue from processing the fish into surimi, most often seen here as imitation crabmeat."
Far out!

Update: Sadly the Maui News' permalink is broken, so Google's cached version will have to do.


Nice, my home state is in biodiesel news!
"The 900-student liberal arts college in Portage County [Hiram College] is working on how to make environmentally friendly biodiesel fuel -- a nonpetroleum blend of old cooking oil or soybean oil combined with methanol or ethanol and a catalyst -- more useful. Navistar Corp., one of the world's largest makers of diesel engines, is funding the five-year project at a cost of about $25,000 a year."

VeggieVan Blog

Nice- it looks like the VeggieVan folks have started a blog! There's nothing there yet, but this sure has potential!

Californians: Sign This Petition!

"Assemblywoman Shirley Horton (R. San Diego) introduced California Assembly BILL A.B.2899 in February of 2004. This bill seeks to level the playing field in California by removing restrictions on the sale of biodiesel enacted by the Department of Weights and Measures... The bill would specify standards for the sale biodiesel and biodiesel blends and establish a program of voluntary CO2 content labeling program."

Sign Here!

[via Tales from the Cauldron]

Update: Berkeley Daily Planet: "Despite efforts by both the Engine Manufacturers Association and ChevronTexaco Corporation to put roadblocks in the bio-diesel fuel regulation process, the California Department of Weights and Measures has opted only to regulate the fuel more thoroughly, not ban it outright."

Biodiesel in Canadian Locomotives

Great news from Canada!
"The interest of the railway sector in biodiesel, as voiced by the Railway Association of Canada, stems primarily from the potential to further reduce Canadian railway GHG [greenhouse gas emissions] on an annual basis. Also, in view of growing interest in biodiesel by various jurisdictions in Canada, the railway sector wishes to be prepared should incentives or mandating arise."

New England

Associated Press: Biodiesel gains another foothold in New Hampshire

Biodiesel on Fox News (seriously!)

Wow, Fox News actually did a short segment about Biodiesel; here's the 6-meg WMV video clip, including the interview with Daryl Hannah, courtesy of Grassolean:
(Mac users can download Windows Media Player from here)

Biodiesel Starting-Costs

Here's an informative thread on Tribe about getting started using biodiesel, with some great advice for newbies like me!
"This is probably obvious, but startup costs for bio-diesel can be absolutely nill. Just go buy a diesel car and find a place you can fill it up at."

Trucking Fleets

PRNewswire, Fleets Urge Engine Makers to Support Biodiesel:
"The survey of 53 fleets representing more than 50,000 diesel-powered vehicles found that the vast majority -- 91 percent -- are in favor of using biodiesel. Forty-five percent of fleets surveyed are currently using biodiesel, and among them a 20 percent blend of biodiesel (B20) is the fuel of choice."


According to Suhit Anantula's Rural India Blog, a new agri-business incubator just launched in India:
"Rusni Distilleries will collaborate for generating extra-neutral alcohol and fuel alcohol that can be added to petrol from sweet sorghum varieties developed by Icrisat."

"Bioseed Research, part of the DCM Sriram Group, will work on research projects related to the application of agricultural biotechnology for the development of superior cotton hybrids..."

"Some of the other technologies under consideration for incubation include generation of biodiesel from jatropha and pongamia, sugar production from sweet sorghum, product development from hybrid paddy, and development of biopesticides."


The Australian Democratic Party appears to be promoting biodiesel:
"'The Senate is set to resume debate on the ethanol excise again tomorrow, with the Democrats determined to push ahead with our amendment to increase the excise-free area on ethanol to 10 years,' Senator Cherry said..."

"The promotion of cleaner fuels like ethanol and biodiesel, and the development of a renewable energy industry could be the single biggest boost to regional development and value adding of agricultural produce that the Howard Government could do."
Update: Apparently the tax exemption passed: "Australian Democrats Senator Lyn Allison hailed the Government back-down on excise for alternative transport fuels a major win for the Democrats, the alternative fuels industry and rural communities."


A refinery in Kansas appears to be the first in the US to offer pre-blended biodiesel at its loading racks:
"'Soybean checkoff surveys show biodiesel use among soybean farmers has reached or exceeded 50 percent in some states,' said Greg Anderson, chairman of the United Soybean Board."

"The move to preblended fuel will make soy biodiesel more readily available because it will remove the need for distributors to purchase biodiesel components and blend it themselves."


Texas Tea

Fast Company Now has coverage of Kenneth Deffeyes's speech at WTF 2004, on The End of the Oil Age. It's an excellent read:
"Since 1950, we've gone for half a century without finding another billion-barrel oil field. If you've caught most of the fish in the pond, that fancy fly rod isn't going to do very well. That's the reality here. We've found oil fields that contain 95% of the oil we've ever going to find. That's the worst of the bad news..."

"I have this fear of what the world will look like when supply rolls over. When I look at what's happened since 2000 isn't very attractive. A lot of what's happening -- Sept. 11, the recession -- is largely because energy is no longer going to be cheap."


Film - Go Further

Go Further looks like a must-see:
"'Go Further,' the new film by award-winning documentary filmmaker Ron Mann, explores the idea that the single individual is the key to large-scale transformational change."

"The film follows actor Woody Harrelson as he takes a small group of friends on a bio-fuelled bus-ride down the Pacific Coast Highway. Their goal? To show the people they encounter that there are viable alternatives to our habitual, environmentally-destructive behaviors."
It doesn't look like it's available for purchase yet, but I've emailed the Sphinx folks for details. It's playing tomorrow night up north in Marin Country, but alas I can't make it. Thanks to Livia for letting me know about it!



Northern Texas is getting a biodiesel plant, according to
"The Denton city council voted to approve construction of the soon-to-be largest full-production biodiesel plant in Texas Tuesday night. This large-scale plant will produce wasted vegetable oil as an alternative fuel for diesel engines. An anticipated three million gallons will be generated per year."

"In fact, the city of Denton hired Jake Stewart, Houston graduate student, to research the emission reductions of biodiesel. 'This is wasted cooking oil from McDonalds used as a car fuel,' Stewart said."


The Murray County News has some details about a new biodiesel refinery in Minnesota; evidently the Minnesotans set some excellent targets back in 2002:
"Groundbreaking occurred on Friday at the Minnesota Soybean Processors plant near Brewster for a 30 million gallon biodiesel refinery. The refinery will allow the state to reach the goal set in the biodiesel mandate which passed in March of 2002."

"The mandate requires that two percent biodiesel be blended into all of the diesel fuel sold in Minnesota. In addition, there is a requirement that at least half of the biodiesel used in Minnesota be produced in Minnesota."

New Jersey reports on biodiesel's arrival in New Jersey:
"Woodruff Energy announced Thursday afternoon that it will become the first distributor of soybean-based biodiesel fuel in South Jersey, possibly as early as next month."

"The family-owned, 135-year-old company will be offering the soybean biodiesel fuel in Cumberland, Salem, Gloucester, Atlantic and Cape May counties, and possibly Camden County, according to Anderson."

"While 2-percent blend soybean biodiesel mixed with traditional petroleum diesel will cost 3 or 4 cents more per gallon than traditional diesel -- proportionately more given the blend rate -- biodiesel "lubricity" reduces wear-and-tear on engines and provides slightly better fuel efficiency, according to Woodruff Energy President Robert Woodruff Sr."

Biodiesel Subsidies

Good news from
"Green Star Products Inc., through its affiliated company American Biofuels, will be receiving, along with other biodiesel producers, the highest USDA biodiesel industry subsidies in history during the second quarter of 2004. The USDA set the subsidy for this period on March 18, 2004, at approximately $2.50 per gallon for West Coast producers. American Biofuels presently operates the largest biodiesel production facility west of the Mississippi."

Indiana & Purdue University

The Indianapolis Star has some good factoids about biodiesel use in Indiana:
"The latest on the soy biodiesel bandwagon is Purdue University, which announced Tuesday that it is now using the alternative, cleaner-burning fuel in more than 80 Purdue buses, fire trucks, dump trucks and other motor vehicles..."

"Purdue joins more than 20 other Hoosier schools and municipalities in switching its fuel source to biodiesel, a blend of petroleum diesel and fuel refined from soybean oil..."

"Indiana is home to about 25 biodiesel public pumps and a dozen retailers sell biodiesel through tank-wagon and transport delivery, said Mike Yoder, an Elkhart County soybean farmer who is a director on the Indiana Soybean Board."
WLFI/Lafayette has a related article, and the Lafayette Journal and Courier has much more extensive coverage.


Scotland apparently has a target of 5.75% biodiesel use by 2005, and is almost going to meet the number:
"SCOTLAND took another step towards meeting its renewable energy targets yesterday after the UK's first large-scale biodiesel factory was opened near Motherwell..."

"Andy Hunter, director of Argent Energy, said the plant was possibly the largest of its kind in the world, and was capable of processing most used cooking oils and animal fats."
The BBC has a follow story:
"When it begins operating next year, the facility's 50m litre output will supply 5% of Scotland's requirement for diesel..."

"Enterprise Minister Jim Wallace has claimed that Scotland has the potential to become a world leader in the new "green economy" of the future."

New Hampshire

Bulk & retail biodiesel is coming to New Hampshire, according to GrainNet:
" Rymes Propane and Oils, Inc. recently received its first railcar shipment of pure biodiesel (B100), a domestically produced vegetable oil-based diesel fuel replacement, direct from a midwestern manufacturer to their new storage facility in North Stratford, NH."

"Rymes will sell the biodiesel wholesale from the bulk terminal and in a 20 percent blend with petroleum diesel (B20) at five retail fueling stations located in Antrim, Peterborough, Keene, Greenfield, and Loudon."


Here's something about a biodiesel study in Brazil, but I don't yet grok Portuguese.

Alas that Google's translation doesn't reveal much...


More on Biodiesel in Tennessee

Following up from an earlier post, The Daily Times of Maryville, TN is again reporting on local biodiesel use:
"The Blount County Highway Department, as well as the cities of Maryville and Alcoa, recently began using biodiesel in their truck fleets, said county road superintendent Bill Dunlap."

"The price for biodiesel is about 10- to 15-cents a gallon more than what the department is now paying for standard diesel fuel, he said. Right now the county highway department pays $1.05 cents per gallon for diesel."
The $0.20 tax reduction mentioned in my previous post would apparently offset that price difference (though here in the SF Bay Area we'd need a bit more than 20-cents [more like 40-60] to offset the added cost). A bit more from the article:
"It's a clean burning fuel, said Hunt. Locally drivers have reported less smoke or 'soot' from trucks. Drivers for the Knoxville Area Transit, which has been using biodiesel, reported fewer headaches because of the reduction in fumes, said Hunt."

"In 1895, Dr. Rudolf Diesel developed the diesel engine with the intention of running it on a variety of fuels, including vegetable oil... Since then, the diesel engine has been modified to run on petroleum-derived fuel because historically it was the least expensive fuel available, according to the EPA."
The article also includes some emissions statistics from an EPA report on biodiesel (72k pdf), comparing B20 (20/80 biodiesel/diesel) and B100 (100% biodiesel):
  • Reductions in carbon monoxide emissions of 10 percent (B-20) and 50 percent (B-100).
  • Reductions in particulate emissions of 15 percent (B-20) and 70 percent (B-100).
  • Reductions in total hydrocarbon emissions of 10 percent (B-20) and 40 percent (B-100).
  • Reductions in sulfate emissions of 20 percent (B-20) and 100 percent (B-100).
  • Reductions in nitrogen oxide emissions of two percent (B-20) and nine percent (B-100).

Biodiesel in Pending Senate Bill

There are some interesting statistics in this AgriNews article, regarding biodiesel-related legislation in a pending energy bill:
"Grassley's pending legislation would grant a 1 cent reduction in excise tax per percent of biodiesel blended with diesel up to a 20 percent or 20 cent cap. The biodiesel credit would apply to all domestically produced oilseeds and all recycled oil, Heck said."

"Some may say that biodiesel legislation only affects agriculture, Metz said, but that's not true. Nearly all -- 95 percent -- of the freight moved in the United States is moved by diesel engines."

"Trucks are the No. 1 user of diesel fuel in the nation, followed by agriculture. Trucks burn about 35 billion gallons of diesel fuel a year."
That's nice and all, but why stop at 20%?


Biodiesel in North Carolina

6 local governments in North Carolina are using biodiesel for their fleets, according to the Raleigh News & Observer:
  • Raleigh for using biodiesel in 300 to 400 trucks.
  • Wake County for switching to biodiesel last year for its fleet of diesel vehicles. Wake also fuels its emergency vehicles with B20.
  • Garner for using B20 for the past 3 years to power its municipal fleet.
  • Carrboro for running all its diesel vehicles and equipment with B20.
  • Cary for running its city fleet and transit buses on B20.
  • Chapel Hill for fueling 165 of its own vehicles with B20, and providing biodiesel to the UNC Hospital Bus Service, the Orange Water and Sewer Authority, Carolina Air Care Ambulance Fleet and others.

Biodiesel for UK Fleets

The British government appears to be considering a nice, middle-path approach to green-ifying their automotive fleets, according to FleetNewsNet:
"Fleets will not be forced by the Government to choose between liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and petrol/electric hybrids, according to a senior Department for Transport official who insists the two fuels can co-exist."

"Colin Matthews, head of customer services for TransportEnergy, added that while fuel cell cars emitting just water were the ultimate goal, they were more than 15 years away from volume production."

"He said: 'There is a lot of talk about fuel cells and a lot of people have said 'I'll wait', but we are talking 2020 and beyond - and that is just the vehicle side. What do we do while we are waiting? Petrol and diesel are improving and biodiesel will come to the marketplace. It's about having a portfolio of fuels to choose from.'"


Competing Tour Operators Using Biodiesel

According to this press release, another San Juan Islands tour operator is going biodiesel, only this time it's with B100:
"The waters in and around the San Juan Islands are home to Orcas, eagles, porpoise, seals, sea lions, seabirds, and numerous other animals. As a charter boat, the public entrust us as stewards of these waters. It's our responisibility to pursue clean burning, 100% biodegradable fuels in an environmentally sensitive marine ecosystem", Patrick Pillsbury, captain Bon Accord.
You'll recall a previous post here, where the Western Prince operator announced it was going with a B20 blend (20% biodiesel, 80% petroleum diesel). This is an excellent competition!


VW Biodiesel Research Project has this awesome news:
"Volkswagen AG and Archer Daniels Midland Company announced on 5 January the creation of a joint research agreement aimed at further developing and utilizing Biodiesel fuels for the automotive industry. This Agreement marks the first time that one of the world's leading automakers has joined forces with a major global agricultural company to cooperate on the development of next-generation clean renewable fuels."

"Given the tremendous environmental, economic and quality-related benefits of increased Biodiesel usage, we believe this Joint Research Agreement will go a long way toward advancing and furthering the development of this vital renewable fuel choice," said Dr. Bernd Pischetsrieder, Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG. He added that, "Volkswagen has been a leader in the development of advanced clean diesel engines and this Agreement represents Volkswagen's commitment to introducing clean burning and renewable fuels into the automotive industry."


The Reality of Biodiesel Production

Lyle from the Energy Blog posted a long, interesting piece about the reality of producing biodiesel, comparing the situations of large-scale producers vs. the small-scale, backyard types:
"If you are World Energy, the country's largest player in selling biodiesel, you drop your head into the trough of the Commodity Credit Corporation, and wait for Congress to pass farm bills that provide a decent subsidy for every incremental gallon you produce."


"If you are a Soy Grower's Co-op in eastern North Carolina, you brag about being subsidy free. I was once at a meeting of the Triangle Clean Cities Coalition in which the Soy Growers were confident about how market dependent they were. The Chicago Futures market sets the price of soy, plain and simple. Apparently there is now a connection between the price of soy and the price of biodiesel. Halleluiah."

More on Blue Sun Biodiesel

The Miami Herald reports on Blue Sun Biodiesel of Colorado, which I've mentioned earlier:
"Kaiser is one of a handful of Weld County farmers who are members of Blue Sun Producers Inc., the state's only farmer-owned, biodiesel-producing cooperative. The cooperative, which has about 40 members in the state, is the primary supplier for Blue Sun Biodiesel, a Fort Collins-based agriculture energy company."


"Blue Sun is generating sales revenue through an expanding customer base that includes the city of Boulder, the University of Colorado, Aspen Homes of Colorado, Waste-Not Recycling, Rocky Mountain National Park and others."

VW/Biodiesel Push

Via Zebu, a German-language blog, it appears that VW is pushing for biodiesel adoption in the US. Here's a rough Google translation:
"As the reason of the bio Diesel offensive and the production of more pollution free diesel engined vehicles in the USA Volkswagen speaker explains Alexander Skibbe: "Diesel models become ever more popular in the USA. At the same time the interest of the Americans in pollution free technologies rises. We want to serve these needs." Sounds good. But the question arises: Why doesn't VOLKSWAGEN in at least just as environmentalsensitive Germany an identical bio Diesel offensive start?"

Biodiesel in Brazil

According to El Sol de México, the first ever biodiesel-powered bus in Brazil is in operation at the University of São Paulo:
"El primer autobús que funciona con combustible biodiesel desarrollado en Brasil ya está rodando en un campus de la Universidad de Sao Paulo (USP), informó la oficial Fundación de Amparo a la Investigación de ese estado brasileño (Fapesp)."

Potential for Biodiesel Use in India

Atanu Dey thinks biodiesel would be ideal to aid in India's economic growth:
"If India can grow the biomass suitable for biodiesel in marginal agricultural lands, it would be wonderful. Of course, India also needs clean-burning modern diesel engines as well. This can be one of those technologies that create a partnership between the agricultural and manufacturing sectors: the former grows the stuff and provides the latter the induced demand for its output."
And the Indian Express reports:
"D.K. Tuli, head of the research wing of Indian Oil Company, had read about biodiesel being used in 22 countries but had not given it much thought. After all, the chances of convincing his company heads about a diesel alternative were slim."

"He noticed hundreds of Karanjia trees in the 70-acre campus of the R&D division building. He collected a few kilos of seed to extract oil and blended it with diesel to make biodiesel and found that it worked beautifully without making modifications in the engine."
[via Ramdhan Yadav]

Facts vs. Myths

Blue Sun Biodiesel has an excellent list of biodiesel myths & facts:
Myth: Biodiesel is an experimental fuel and has not been thoroughly tested.
Fact: Biodiesel is one of the most thoroughly tested alternative fuels on the market. A number of independent studies have been completed with the results showing biodiesel performs similar to petroleum diesel while benefiting the environment and human health compared to diesel.

Myth: Biodiesel does not perform as well as diesel.
Fact: One of the major advantages of biodiesel is the fact that it can be used in existing engines and fuel injection equipment with little impact to operating performance... In more than 30 million miles of in-field demonstrations, B20 showed similar fuel consumption, horsepower, torque, and haulage rates as conventional diesel fuel.
[via Curt Rosengren's Alternative Energy blog]


Biodiesel in South Africa

Looks like a biodiesel plant is under consideration in South Africa:
"South Africa's soya production would have to quadruple if the country was to meet the demand that would be created if Sasol decided to build its first soya bean-to-diesel plant, it emerged yesterday."

"The world's biggest producer of fuel from coal, said yesterday that it might decide by July whether to build the soya biodiesel plant."

"While Sasol has not detailed its plans, the company may import soya bean supplies initially and contract South African farmers to grow a big enough crop, a move that has the potential to create hundreds of jobs."

Biodiesel-Powered Boat

A whale watching/wildlife tour operator north of Seattle will be powering one of its boats with B20:
Ivan and Jacquelyn Reiff, owners of Western Prince, Inc., recently announced their decision to use Biodiesel B20 blend. The Reiffs stated, "We feel that it is our duty to help protect the magnificent environment in which we operate. We are happy to be a leader in adopting the use of this alternative fuel."

Toward The Hydrogen Economy

Biodiesel was mentioned in a kuro5hin article about the mythical Hydrogen Economy:
While changing from the current crop of gasoline powered cars to, diesel electric hybrid cars would reduce fuel usage significantly, we still need to produce diesel by some other way than by getting it from fossil sources. There are two major ways to do this. One is to produce it from biomass, i.e. we get biodiesel. The other is to produce it by adding environmentally friendly produced hydrogen to industrial carbon dioxide emissions, i.e. we get synthetic diesel."

"Currently biodiesel is made mostly from vegetable oils, but it is possible to produce it from any kind of biomass with the help of e.g. pyrolysis, Fischer-Tropsch synthesis or perhaps even thermal depolymerization, if that turns out to not be a hoax. The question is thus to find a plant that grows as fast as possible and is cheap to harvest. Hemp has been proposed as a good choice for biomass production, but will certainly face political opposition.
[via Emergic]


Biodiesel in Boston

Dave Belfer-Shevett, a blogger in the Boston area, comments on the Harvard story:
"Why is this important to me? Well, I drive a VW Golf with a TDI (Turbo Diesel Injection) engine in it. It's a wonderful car, and I get obscene miles on it (about 45mpg)... this is great for a car that has a heckuva lot of torque for only a 93hp engine."

"There's apparently a couple of Biodiesel dealers here in Boston. The forums seem to say that you should buy it in 55gallon drums and store it locally, topping off your own tank as needed. Better than driving to Chelsea every couple weeks, I have to admit."

"Still, paying a little extra, in a car that gets extraordinary mileage, for something that is immensely cleaner than normal diesel, sure makes it tempting."

More On Neil Young

The Associated Press has picked up the Neil Young story:
"Young, who clearly has done his research, recited the reasons why biodiesel makes sense: It releases no ozone-polluting chemicals and reduces emissions by 60 per cent to 80 per cent; it's entirely renewable and doesn't require major exploration to extract; American farmers could produce it for a living wage; and it would probably save a tree or two slated for demolition in Alaska."

"Alternative fuel has caught on in some places. More than 400 fleets across the U.S. now use it, including the U.S. Postal Service, Yellowstone National Park, public utility companies and school districts, according to the National Biodiesel Board. Its use in Canada is also catching on."

More On Illinois

"Economic studies completed for [Illinois Soybean Association] members show that increasing biodiesel demand could add 17 cents to the per-bushel price of soybeans by 2010. Soybean farmers have invested nearly $40 million in biodiesel research and promotion during the last decade."


Biodiesel in Hollywood reports,
"The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) recently praised actress Daryl Hannah ("Northfork," "Dancing at the Blue Iguana," "Splash") and rock 'n roll legend Neil Young ("Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young") for helping to bolster awareness of the practicality of biodiesel, the non-toxic biodegradable vehicle fuel that can be manufactured from recycled cooking grease."

"This week, Young embarked on his Greendale Tour from Vancouver, British Columbia to Amherst, Massachusetts, fueling his trucks and tour buses with biodiesel."

"At NBB's Eye on Biodiesel Awards at the first annual National Biodiesel Conference & Expo in Palm Springs, California, Daryl Hannah accepted the Influencer Award for using biodiesel in her personal vehicle and for her volunteer work as a spokesperson for biodiesel. Hannah has taken her message to the nation on shows such as The Tonight Show and The O'Reilly Factor."

"NBB also thanked Dennis Weaver, country singer Bonnie Raitt and actor Woody Harrelson for using and promoting biofuels. The folk music duo, Indigo Girls, was praised for using domestically produced biodiesel as part of their "Honor the Earth Tour," focusing on alternative energy and Native American environmental issues. NBB has also begun a dialogue with Walt Disney Studios to explore opportunities for Disney to use biodiesel in its transportation system in Orlando, and to educate its millions of visitors each year."

Delivered Straight To Your Tank!

Via The Bellingham Herald in Washington,
"Justin Clements will come to homes or workplaces by appointment to fuel up your car with 100 percent biodiesel. He tanks up two containers totaling 550 gallons with biodiesel from the Seattle-area service station Dr. Dan's Alternative Fuelwerks and carries them in his new Dodge truck."

"He then brings the fuel up to Whatcom County for about a dozen or so customers who call his cell phone and ask to meet him for a fillup."

"Clements said his interest in biodiesel is rooted in the petroleum industry. He grew up in both Alaska and Houston, the centers of the U.S. oil industry, as his parents moved with jobs for major fuel companies. Clements said he remembers the devastation in Prince William Sound in 1989 when the Exxon Valdez coated the area with spilled crude oil."

"Rather than make a huge investment to convert an existing service station to a biodiesel station, Clements decided to offer the mobile servicing of the biodegradable, nontoxic fuel from his truck."
Right on, Justin!

Illinois Plans Biodiesel Plant

The Canton Daily Ledger reports,
"We consider Illinois to be an ideal location for a plant for three major reasons," says Bruce Davis, Biodiesel Systems CEO. "We would have access to plentiful soybean oil supplies, be centrally located in the country near refineries, diesel users and a distribution network and be based in a state that has been highly receptive to biofuels production."

"Last June, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich signed into law the "Illinois Renewable Fuels Development Program Act." The act established a $15 million appropriation for new ethanol and biodiesel plants and existing plant expansions."

Tennessee approves Biodiesel plant

Via The Tullahoma News,
"If Richard Onderka proceeds with his plan to begin production of biodiesel fuel in July at his proposed processing plant - Tennessee Bio Energy, Inc. - it will mark the first production facility in the state and only the second active site in the Southeast."

"Onderka and his brother and partner, Franz, have set a production goal of 900,000 gallons of pure, environmentally-friendly biodiesel (B100) per year by the end of the plant's third year of operation,

"In its first stages, Onderka said, Tennessee Bio Energy will process 100 tons of soybeans a day and will run 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Most of the beans will be obtained from a feed mill located less than a mile from the plant, Onderka said."

"The soybean residue, or meal, will be marketed to poultry and cattle farmers in the area, who will blend it with grain for their livestock. Then, a separate process will be utilized to refine the virgin soybean oil into biodiesel."

First biodiesel pump opens in Canada

The Ottawa Business Journal reports,
" A little known Ottawa company unveiled Tuesday Canada's first retail outlet for biodiesel, that vegetable-based fuel known for making car exhaust smell like french fries."

"Two-and-a-half-year-old Topia Energy's first pump for the general public has entered service at a local independent gas station in Unionville near Toronto."

"The pump offers a diesel blend called B20, which is 20 per cent biodiesel and 80 per cent conventional petroleum diesel."


Biodiesel tax incentive passed in Senate

This just in from @griculture Online News:
"The Senate voted 76-21 to approve a new six-year highway spending bill that also contains a biodiesel tax incentive virtually identical to one that was in the Senate Energy bill that stalled late last year. The American Soybean Association (ASA) and the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) are applauding the news."

Harvard University going Biodiesel

The Harvard Crimson Online reports,
"Leading the way to a greener Ivy League, Harvard officials announced last week that the University’s shuttles and maintenance trucks are now running on biodiesel, an environmentally-friendly fuel made from soybean oil. Harvard is the first—and currently the only—school in the Ivy League to use biodiesel to fuel its vehicles, although some 400 fleets across the country now use the new fuel, according to a press release issued by the National Biodiesel Board."

"Harvard will use B20, a mixture of 20 percent biodiesel and 80 percent diesel, in all 25 of its diesel vehicles and equipment, including shuttle buses and mail, solid waste and recycling trucks. Before choosing biodiesel, the University assembled a team of researchers led by physics graduate student David M. Thompson to identify alternative fuels that could potentially reduce Harvard’s negative impact on the environment."

Biodiesel in Texas

From the Tyler Morning Telegraph:
"Farmers in Northeast Texas may soon become key participants in producing a new fuel that could jumpstart local economies while taking it easy on the environment."

"In addition to the petroleum/oil-based fuel, the biodiesel plants produce ethanol hybrid fuels and glycerin; all three substances can often be made from the same crop in the cases of corn and others. Ethanol is mixed with gasoline to create a cleaner fuel for cars, while glycerin is sold to pharmaceutical companies. Biodiesel is primarily used by freight vehicles."

"Autrey said Texas Biodiesel has a goal of building five facilities across the state within the next three years and expects the company will build a plant somewhere in Northeast Texas in the next year and a half, even if one in Wood County doesn't work out."

Biodiesel in Kentucky

News from the Union County Advocate:
"The Union County Fiscal Court voted unanimously last Wednesday to use funds from a grant to purchase a 20 percent blend of biodiesel for county equipment that currently uses diesel fuel."

"Sprague told the court that normally a 20 percent blend of biodiesel costs about 20 cent more a gallon than diesel. The grant will cover the difference. Sprague noted the state has a grant totaling $40,000 to entice governments to switch to the biodiesel fuel product. Biodiesel uses a blend of soybean oil and diesel fuel."

"The resulting product, Sprague noted, burns clean and reduces pollution."

Neil Young & Biodiesel

CBC/Radio Canada has news about Neil Young's current tour:
"Veteran Canadian rocker Neil Young has found a new way to support farmers, this time by choosing a cleaner-burning alternative to gasoline."

"Young hit the road last week to tour in support of his latest album, Greendale. His tour buses and trucks run on biodiesel, an alternative fuel."

Biodiesel at Ski Resorts

Maine Today is reporting on biodiesel use at ski resorts in Colorado. For some reason I find the part about global warming harming the ski industry especially funny:
"Cranmore, you see, is one of about four ski areas in the country using biodiesel fuel in its snow-grooming machines. One of the ingredients of biodiesel fuel is cooking oil, and some ski areas donate their used french fry oil for the manufacturing process, according to Geraldine Links, director of public policy for the National Ski Areas Association in Colorado."

"It is part of an attempt by ski areas to be environmentally friendly by using renewable energy to slow global warming, which could be a major problem for the industry."


A Quote has a quote from Rudolf Diesel on their Buying Biodiesel page:
"The use of plant oil as fuel may seem insignificant today. But such products can in time become just as important as kerosene and these coal-tar-products of today."

-Rudolf Diesel in the year 1912 in his application for a patent, in a time where energy crises, climate changes and ozone holes not yet were discussed.

Montana Followup

The Montana Forum has an article that follows up on my previous post about biodiesel in Montana:
"They may not smell as good as french fries, but Missoula’s snowplows may be a bit less stinky this winter. This month, the city motor fleet is starting a pilot project testing biodiesel fuel in its tanks. A new public tank at the Cenex station on Brooks Street is expected to open in late November, and the city trucks will be buying $2,500 worth of fuel there this winter..."

"Stucky told the council’s Public Works Committee on Wednesday that the fuel would cut air pollution levels in his vehicles. But he was particularly pleased at a potential side effect of biofuel additives. Commercial diesel fuels have had most of their sulphur content removed in another pollution-reducing effort. But that sulphur was needed to keep fuel injectors and other engine parts lubricated. Stucky said it appears biofuels may return some of that lubricating quality to the tank."


Diesel Comeback?

Washington Post, Will New, Cleaner Diesel Cars Fuel Comeback in U.S.?:
"Because of advances in electronics, diesel vehicles now do a far better job of controlling how fuel burns in the engine, eliminating much of the smoke and noise of 20 years ago. That allows some of diesel's good qualities to shine: It gets 20 to 40 percent better fuel economy than gasoline power. Diesel engines tend to be far more durable than gasoline engines, routinely lasting for many hundreds of thousands of miles. A diesel has tremendous low-end power, which is good for hauling boats or jumping off the line at a stoplight..."

"'Historically, agencies concerned about the environment have not been big fans of diesel, but the new technology that's emerged in the last few years has actually made us big supporters,' said Jeffrey R. Holmstead, Environmental Protection Agency assistant administrator in charge of programs to control air pollution. EPA projections show that if diesels accounted for a third of all vehicle-miles traveled in the country by 2020, the nation could save a million barrels of fuel a day and consumers could save more than $20 billion per year..."

"The trick is getting Americans to believe that in sufficient numbers to make diesel profitable to the manufacturers. Volkswagen's best-selling diesel model is the New Beetle, with a fuel-efficiency rating -- about 50 miles per gallon -- and sales volume -- nearly 57,000 last year -- that are both comparable to Toyota's Prius hybrid."
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Biodiesel in Montana

This morning's article is from the Missoula Independent of Western Montana:
"Cenex and Missoula-based biodiesel refiner Sustainable Systems are hoping B20 will prove a next step toward cleaner air, a richer local economy and profits... 'First we tell [potential customers] that it’s a little more expensive than a petroleum-based product, but that it’s a better engine lubricant,' says Miller. 'The second thing we tell them is that this is an agricultural-based, domestically produced product, so your dollar that’s spent on this product stays in the United States and is recycled. The third thing is the positive environmental impact.'"

"'When people ask me, 'Why is biodiesel so expensive?' I ask them, 'Why is petroleum so cheap?' he says. 'Then I explain that when people are buying cheap petroleum, they are buying a product that's not good for the environment, it's not sustainable and the true cost is higher than people think, because you're paying for petroleum with your taxes to support the military and with your taxes to support the petroleum industry subsidies.'"

"The Cenex on Brooks will be the first B20 pump in Montana; if the business takes off, Cenex will expand beyond Missoula. Biodiesel has been regularly available in the Midwest for several years. Last week, a retail Biodiesel pump opened outside Denver, and the U.S. Navy has announced plans to recycle its used cooking oil into biodiesel to run its diesel vehicles."


Biodiesel in Tennessee

The Daily Times of Maryville, Tennessee is talking about biodiesel:
"Tennessee is known for horses, whiskey, music and rifles. What about Tennessee diesel fuel, crafted from homegrown soybeans? That's exactly what East Tennessee Clean Fuels Coalition director Jonathan Overly has in mind, and he describes it as a way to both reduce the nation's dependence on imported petroleum and improve the air quality of the Tennessee Valley."

"On a regional level, Knoxville Area Transit and the cities of Sevierville and Chattanooga are among those who have expressed interest in weaning their fleets off traditional diesel... Of course, it will cost about 22 cents to 27 cents more a gallon, but savings in fuel economy and federal tax incentives could serve to even the difference, B-20 proponents said. Unquantifiable improvements in area air quality could also result."

Emissions: "The non-toxic, biodegradable B-20 can cut emissions of hydrocarbons by 20 percent; carbon monoxide by 12 percent, particulate matter by 12 percent, sulfur oxides by 20 percent and cancer-causing compounds by 20 percent."

Protein byproduct: "The B-20 manufacturing process -- the soy oil must have its glycerin removed to operate effectively in an engine -- yields a large amount of protein byproduct, which can be mixed with corn to provide a cheap, nutritious food source for export."