Morning Cup O' Joe

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Biodiesel… Stick it to Foreign Oil

The previous post on Honda CR-Z Hybrid Concept got me in Google Mode and I stumbled onto this…

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I know it’s dated December 3rd, 2006… but Biodiesel @ $3.25 per gallon!!!

The last time I topped-off, gas was $3.09

Me thinks in a couple of years “Renewable” Biodiesel will reach parity with Petrol.

That Mercedes-Benz 300 Turbo Diesel is looking real good right about now…

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October 16, 2007 - Posted by | Science and Technology

11 Comments

  1. If you can find one, a Volkswagen Passat TDI diesel will get you around 45mpg on your biodiesel. I believe Volkswagen is going to be allowed to sell diesels in CA again in the coming year. Their direct rail injection system is finally clean enough on the emissions front I guess.

    Comment by morgan | October 16, 2007

  2. Scientific American (or was it National Geographic?) did a great issue on biodiesel not long ago. While biodiesel is a great idea, it does have a significant hold-up: In order for the whole word to start using it (or even some smaller yet still significant portion of the world), so much of the world’s farmland will have to be converted to biodiesel crops (to grow the fuel) that there won’t be a lot of room left for other types of crops. This dramatically limits the realistic total number of cars in the world that can actually run on the stuff.

    I’m trying to dig up a link to the article. (Hopefully it’ll be on the website…)

    Comment by Joe | October 16, 2007

  3. Following up my last post. The most recent issue of National Geographic has an entire issue on biofuels (it’s sitting on my coffee table), but I still swear SciAm had, if not a full issue, a large spread on the same subject not long ago. I’ll keep digging.

    Comment by Joe | October 16, 2007

  4. I’m not saying the whole world should switch.

    I’m saying the USA should Stick it to Foreign Oil by swithcing to Biodiesel.

    Comment by Bernard | October 16, 2007

  5. That seems like the worst reason to switch to Biodiesel, Bernard.

    Comment by Mike | October 16, 2007

  6. why would you say that?

    Comment by Bernard | October 17, 2007

  7. I wonder if we could even grow enough fuel crops in the US to power every car in the country with biodiesel. Interesting consideration. 🙂

    Comment by Joe | October 17, 2007

  8. Oh…

    The closest Biodiesel Fuel Station to me is in Pacifica California. And they quoted me $3.68/gallon. Not bad if you consider Regular Unleaded nearly reached $4 this past summer.

    Comment by Bernard | October 18, 2007

  9. This reminds me of a speech George W. “Decider” Bush gave on the topic:

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2006/04/20060425.html

    Comment by agalcid | October 19, 2007

  10. There are a lot of reasons to explore alternative fuels like biodiesel, but I’d have to agree with Mike that sheer spite for foreigners should probably not outrank a desire to save the environment, convenience, or economics.

    I am actually pretty sure that as things stand today (i.e. the number of cars in the US, the amount of available farmland, etc.), that we could not possibly even come close to powering every car in the US with biodiesel, not by a longshot. From Wikipedia: “It would require twice the land area of the US to be devoted to soybean production, or two-thirds to be devoted to rapeseed production, to meet current US heating and transportation needs.” That hopefully will change with future technologies, but I think right now people (like the Prezident) are putting too much stock in corn-based biodiesel.

    If the purpose of switching to biodiesel was to find a sustainable, renewable energy source, then we’d still need to look elsewhere because there isn’t enough arable farmland that isn’t already being used to grow food for people.

    If the purpose instead was to help reduce the impact on the environment, then massive widespread use of biodiesel is also not the answer.

    Actually, the most promising technology I’ve heard of thus far (both in terms of feasibility and impact on the environment) involved using algae farms.

    Comment by agalcid | October 19, 2007


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