News and information about Biodiesel & alternative fuels.


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...)