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Utilizing Bio-fuel Beyond Experimental Use

CowboyNeal posted more than 8 years ago | from the put-a-tiger-in-your-tank dept.

Biotech 384

grumpyman writes "A C$14 million factory near Montreal started producing biodiesel fuel two weeks ago from the bones, innards and other parts of farm animals. At full capacity plant will produce 35 million liters (9.2 million U.S. gallons) of biodiesel a year, the greenhouse gas equivalent of removing 16,000 light trucks or 22,000 cars from the roads."

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Automotive fuel (5, Insightful)

PlayfullyClever (934896) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173365)

For some time I've thought the future of automotive fuel lies in biodiesel rather than hydrogen. Hydrogen is just very hard to work with because of its low energy density and the fact it is normally a gas. Generation, transportation, storage and utilization all face large challenges.
For biodiesel, all the steps except generation are already solved and the infrastructure in place, and the generation problems do not seem large. (Even without the existing infrastructure, I suspect biodiesel wins economically.)

Generation from algae is particularly promising, as it doesn't require arable land, and can use salt water.

Re:Automotive fuel (1)

giorgiofr (887762) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173375)

I see it more as a temporary measure before fuel cells are really a viable option. After all, biodiesel is more of a patch than a solution. Sure, it helps, and the infrastructure is mostly there.

Re:Automotive fuel (2, Interesting)

Tx (96709) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173404)

Why is it a "patch"? It's completely carbon neutral and sustainable.

Re:Automotive fuel (3, Interesting)

wpiman (739077) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173474)

In the first case where the fuel is made from turkey inards and what not- that makes alot of sense. The stuff is going to be throw out anyways- and if the energy output is much greater than that of transporting the stuff to the site plus the energy used in the process- it is a real win for the company and the environment.

The second part where the fuel comes from peanut or other oils- I fail to see how that can be beneficial. Farm tractors burn diesel to harvest the peanuts, fetiziliers made from and processed with petroleum are throw into the field, and then energy is needed to harvest the oils. If this can all be done with some much greater output than input- then great- but from what I have seen- often times these other factors are not taken into account.

Farm tractors that burn biodiesel or SVO (3, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173543)

Farm tractors burn diesel to harvest the peanuts

And farmers can cut the process's net carbon contribution by running their tractors on biodiesel. In the future they may be modified to burn straight vegetable oil [journeytoforever.org] , using diesel only to start up and shut down the engine.

fetiziliers made from and processed with petroleum are throw into the field

Not all farming methods use petrofertilizers.

Re:Automotive fuel (4, Interesting)

Tx (96709) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173578)

Tractors and other farm machinery can run on biodiesel themselves, and fertilisers don't need to be petroleum based. Yes, one needs to be aware of those things in order to ensure that the whole process is indeed carbon neutral, but it's not hard to do, it may add a little to the cost.

The real question is, when you factor in all the costs associated with hydrogen - new infrastructure, new vehicles, renewable energy sources to manufacture the hydrogen (without which it is pointless), is there any way hydrogen can be cheaper than biodiesel?

Re:Automotive fuel (4, Insightful)

blakestah (91866) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173673)

Why is it a "patch"? It's completely carbon neutral and sustainable.

There are real questions about production capacity. If all the soy in the US were used in biodiesel it would produce 2.8 billion gallons of fuel a year. Or 68 million barrels of oil equivalent. That would last the United States 3-4 days at current energy usage rates. It should be easy to see farmland usage would need to be increased by 1-2 orders of magnitude to make a complete replacement.

Right now biodiesel is just at a trickle. You need to think about capacity questions if it is to be a real replacement.

The same may be claimed of hydrogen fuel. First, it is a high energy density fuel, but it is not an energy source. You still need to produce it in a petroleum-free manner to make it renewable. And production capacities necessary to make enough hydrogen are impossible. You just cannot do it.

By far the most logical choice to handle the downtrend in petroleum is nuke-u-lar production, which is already cost competitive and has a supply sufficient to handle US current energy usage for another 100 years.

Re:Automotive fuel (2, Insightful)

HankB (721727) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173408)

From TFA:

Biodiesel emits little of the smog of conventional gasoline or diesel fuel and almost none of the heat-trapping gases that most scientists say are driving up temperatures and could cause more floods, storms and rising sea levels in coming decades.

I call bullshit on at least one claim. The primary greenhouse gas is CO2 and biodiesel is still carbon based so it still produces CO2. If that claim is wrong, what about the others?

It may be true that biodiesel reduces our consumption of fossil fuels, but that depends on how much fossil fuel is consumed to produce biodiesel.

Re:Automotive fuel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14173422)

sure you use fossil fuel to bootstrap the biodiesel process, but after that you can run everything off biodiesel. you are correct though, it does release CO2. the thing is, the only C02 that is released is the CO2 the plants/animals/whatever consume during their life cycle.

Re:Automotive fuel (5, Insightful)

AndyChrist (161262) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173435)

I call bullshit on at least one claim. The primary greenhouse gas is CO2 and biodiesel is still carbon based so it still produces CO2. If that claim is wrong, what about the others?

Alright, genius, what do you think is going to happen to the carbon in the waste products used here if it isn't used to make fuel?

A damn lot (all?) of it is going to end up back in the environment anyway as it decomposes. That's why this is "carbon neutral."

It may be true that biodiesel reduces our consumption of fossil fuels, but that depends on how much fossil fuel is consumed to produce biodiesel.

If more usable energy comes out of that process than went in, the increase in CO2 in the environment has been reduced.

Crazy! (0)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173610)

If more usable energy comes out of that process than went in, the increase in CO2 in the environment has been reduced.

Wow, and we have violated the laws of themodynamics to boot!

Biodiesel really is amazing!

Re:Automotive fuel (1)

t0qer (230538) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173645)

Alright, genius, what do you think is going to happen to the carbon in the waste products used here if it isn't used to make fuel?


He may have missed the mark with CO2, but cows produce 65 to 85 Tg [ciesin.org] of methane gas a year (which according to the EPA.gov is a greenhouse gas)

Re:Automotive fuel (5, Insightful)

blakestah (91866) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173490)

I call bullshit on at least one claim. The primary greenhouse gas is CO2 and biodiesel is still carbon based so it still produces CO2. If that claim is wrong, what about the others?


Biodiesel emits CO2, this is true.

However, that CO2 was trapped by plants in the last year or two. Any large extent to which we switch to biodiesel will dramatically reduce net CO2 emissions.

Petroleum based diesel emits CO2 that was trapped by plants tens of thousands of years ago (or more). This causes a shift in greenhouse gases. By and large, B100 biodiesel does not.

The real problem, however, is cost. Yellow grease produced biodiesel has a wholesale cost 2-3 times greater than petroleum based diesel, and plant-based biodiesel costs 3-4 times more wholesale. Unless there is a tax or government subsidy for recyclable diesel (diesel in which the CO2 was trapped by plants recently), biodiesel will never take off b/c few consumers will double or triple their fuel costs to use a sustainable energy source.

Peak oil (5, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173567)

Unless there is a tax or government subsidy for recyclable diesel (diesel in which the CO2 was trapped by plants recently)

Motor vehicle fuels are already taxed. Drastically cutting taxes on biofuels compared to petrofuels can subsidize them without "subsidizing" them, although European countries generally have more room to cut taxes than North American countries do.

few consumers will double or triple their fuel costs to use a sustainable energy source.

Unless worldwide crude oil extraction peaks and the supply curve moves so as to double or triple petrodiesel prices anyway. Then biodiesel will become even more attractive.

Re:Automotive fuel (1)

JohnWiney (656829) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173587)

And the primary reason it costs more is that it requires so much energy to produce it.

Re:Automotive fuel (1)

blakestah (91866) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173612)

And the primary reason it costs more is that it requires so much energy to produce it.

There is nothing cheaper than pumping energy straight out of the ground. The costs associated with biodiesel are far from as simple as you make them out to be, though. The costs of farming and crude oil production are significant. The costs of refining are also significant. And until petroleum costs double (at least), biodiesel will not be a serious fuel except among those who value reducing greenhouse gases more than they value their money.

Re:Automotive fuel (1)

JohnWiney (656829) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173681)

How did I make the costs out to be simple? The cost of most (all?) products comes from two sources - energy and intellectual property. To the extent that products are commodities (i.e. low IP costs), their price reflects the energy required to make them. Biodiesel is not yet a commodity in that sense, but getting close, and the reason it is expensive is the energy required to create and distribute it is high - probably more than the energy using it will produce. If a commodity product is not economically sensible, it is probably not environmentally sensible. That doesn't necessarily mean that it is not right to produce it - experience (i.e. an IP component) may reduce the energy required in time. Slashdot had a story last week about a new idea in the production of biodiesel that may reduce the energy required.

Re:Automotive fuel (1)

mmkkbb (816035) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173700)

or those who make biodiesel themselves (or convert their cars to run on vegetable oil)

Correction (1)

squarooticus (5092) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173492)

> The primary greenhouse gas is CO2

False: the primary greenhouse gas of note is water vapor. Look it up.

Counter-Correction (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14173579)

Water vapor isn't a gas.

Counter-Counter-Correction (2, Informative)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173605)

Water vapor is the gaseous form of water. It's fog that's liquid water in suspension in air.

Yes and no (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14173535)

Yes, biodiesel emits CO2 just like normal diesel and gasoline, but the catch is that if you now have large algae vats in the desert, then this is the same CO2 taken out of the atmosphere when the algae was growing.

That said, that doesn't apply in this case, as they are using waste animal/plant matter that would have otherwise been disposed in some way. If this matter would have otherwise been composted and returned to the ground, then yes, the result is a net CO2 emission.

Re:Automotive fuel (4, Insightful)

peterpi (585134) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173561)

It's a badly worded comment, but the intention is correct.

C02 released from burning biodiesel was already in the Earth's carbon cycle. It's like if you were to burn a tree; you're not introducing any new C02 into the Earth's system.

The C02 released from fossil fuels was not previously part of the carbon cycle. It was stored away underground as oil or coal.

That's the key difference.

How long until history does not count? (0)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173710)

I happen to think there is a flaw in your statement, not a major one, just an assumptive mistake.

it's one of two things, either, carbon going into the ground is indeed part of the "carbon cycle of the planet". (only on a grander scale than most think about) or the error lies in think that no tree 'burned down' was not destined for the 'greater carbon cycle' and burning it steals the carbon from becoming fossil fuels.

perhaps the day will come when beings with intelligence will realize the real disruption to the carbon cycle was in not allowing more of it to be laid to deep rest through natural means....

My presumption has always been that WE WILL make this planet unihabitable, my hope has been that we would be able to advance ourselves enough that we can spore off the planet before the point of no return eliminates the species. Hopefully in multiple directions

Re:Automotive fuel (1)

EntropyMan (628831) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173441)

I agree. I've always felt that hydrogen is just too much of a pain in the ass to make it into wide scale commercial production. It might be useful in niche markets and for niche uses, but as something that's going to stave off Peak Oil [lifeaftertheoilcrash.net] I'd say forget it. Biofuels are a much better "drop in replacement".

Re:Automotive fuel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14173522)

Maybe animal-derived bio-fuel is an interesting niche market, but Americans use vastly more oil than an operation like this could ever hope to generate from turkey innards. And the concept of raising animals or plants specifically for bio-fuel is pretty conclusively stupid.

you underestimate how much meat Americans eat (1, Interesting)

brokeninside (34168) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173661)

If every slaughterhouse in the states sold its leftovers to be processed for biodiesel, that would account for a significant percentage of the fuel needs of the states. Then add in the reprocessing of all the waste oil from deep fryers and greasy spoons and you've covered an even higher percentage of US fuel needs by merely processing what would normally go to a landfill. Then add in processing of surplus crops that the feds currently buys and lets rot in storehouses in biodiesel. Then add in crops that are grown specifically for biodiesel. That all starts to add up.

And if it's not enough? Well, if everyone's running diesel anyway, you can also make diesel fuel from coal.

Blend bio-diesel with Hydrogen Fuel Injection (1)

xoip (920266) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173644)

If your looking to for even greater fuel efficiency, try combining bio-diesel with Hydrogen Fuel Injection [google.com] Hydrogen is produced on board the vehicle and will improve performance and efficiency. Problem is what to either of the do to the manufactures warranty?

awesome (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14173368)

does this mean i can start shitting in gas tanks?

Re:awesome (5, Funny)

mmjb (866586) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173392)

Not unless you are a farmyard animal, apparently.

As every car freak knows, its all about horse power!

Re:awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14173394)

I can see it now, "Honey, I have to go and get some raw materials for heating the house and running the car. Should I get Taco Bell or premium South of the Border?

Experimental? (4, Informative)

CapsaicinBoy (208973) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173371)

I've already put 6500 petroleum free miles on my VW TDI [tdiclub.com] .

Just because no one the submitter knows uses biodiesel doesn't make biodiesel an "experimental" fuel.

Re:Experimental? (1)

Frankie70 (803801) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173432)


  I've already put 6500 petroleum free miles on my VW TDI.

Just because no one the submitter knows uses biodiesel doesn't make biodiesel an "experimental" fuel.



What biofuel do you use? That link says nothing about that. VW TDI is built to run on diesel.
Were any modifications neccessary to run on biodiesel.

Re:Experimental? (5, Informative)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173472)

I've posted this before, but I've been using straight waste veg oil in diesel cars for years. Some older diesels don't need any modifications - the PSA diesels found in Volvos and pretty much any French car (Peugeot, Renault, Citroën) run quite happily. You *do* need to find one that has a Bosch-type pump, otherwise you'll get about 1000 miles out of it before the pump seals break up. If it's very cold (over here in Scotland very cold is below 4C for more than a few days) you can chuck a gallon of unleaded in on top to thin it out a little.


I found that in my Citroën CX 25DTR T2 (2.5 litre turbodiesel) I had quieter, smoother running, less exhaust emissions and a small increase in power. I could increase the boost (and thus excess fuelling) quite a bit without hitting the smoke point or cooking the turbo. All this from (effectively) free fuel.

Re:Experimental? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14173505)

Hope your paying duty on your fuel! You could get hit with a whole load of problems if custom and excise find out ....

What laws? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173589)

Hope your paying duty on your fuel!

In some jurisdictions, it's likely that use of straight vegetable oil in motor vehicles isn't taxed, on purpose, to promote the use of renewable energy. What are the laws that affect SVO use in US, UK, NZ, AU, CA, or other developed English-speaking countries?

Re:What laws? (1)

amembleton (411990) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173676)

What are the laws that affect SVO use in US, UK, NZ, AU, CA, or other developed English-speaking countries?

In the UK there is an excise duty to pay, of 25.82p/litre. Source [hmrc.gov.uk]

Re:Experimental? (2, Interesting)

amembleton (411990) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173660)

If it's very cold (over here in Scotland very cold is below 4C for more than a few days) you can chuck a gallon of unleaded in on top to thin it out

You put unleaded in with your biodiesel! Does that work? I would have thought you would mix in normal fossil based diesel fuel, NOT unleaded. Surely unleaded would cause damage to your engine.

Re:Experimental? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14173686)

Just straight waste oil ? Tell me more... I too am in Scotland and would like to see this myself

Re:Experimental? (4, Informative)

CapsaicinBoy (208973) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173502)

"What biofuel do you use? That link says nothing about that. VW TDI is built to run on diesel."


I've used a mix of commercial ASTM spec biodiesel and homebrew biodiesel that my friend and I have made in our 'Appleseed reactor'.


Appleseed Plans - http://www.biodieselcommunity.org/appleseedprocess or/ [biodieselcommunity.org]
The parts kit - http://www.biodieselwarehouse.com/ [biodieselwarehouse.com] $229


"Were any modifications neccessary to run on biodiesel."


No modifications were needed on my stock 2003 Jetta TDI. Better yet, I can 'splash-blend' on the go - that is, I can add 5 gal of B100 to my car and then top off with regular #2 petrodiesel at the pump. They mix completely in the fuel tank and no special blending is needed.


As far a warrantee issues, my dealer knows I use biodiesel (the big sticker on the back of my car might have something to do with that) and frankly, they don't care.


VWoA officially allows up to a B5 blend and rumor has it B20 approval is coming shortly. Like all fuels, petro- or bio-, VW doesn't cover "misfueling" with bad quality fuel. If a tank of bad petrodiesel damages your injection pump, the retailer, not VW pays for the repair. So using biodiesel really isn't an issue as far as that is concerned.

Re:Experimental? (1)

bogidu (300637) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173706)

Lemme guess, you've got one for sale still? Missed the last spike?

Indiana State Fair & Biodiesel (4, Informative)

SeventyBang (858415) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173383)



There's a shuttle service of ca. 6-8 tractors towing two trams circling the entire grouds and they've been running biodiesel from local farmers for years.

I think there are plans for an "all natural" city in the northern part of the state, which will be limited to -E, biodisel, fuel cells, etc. due to switch over within the next year or two.


Re:Indiana State Fair & Biodiesel (1)

cryfreedomlove (929828) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173626)

An 'all natural' city? Let's say that I decided to live in this city. Do I have the freedom to purchase and drive a gasoline burning car? I'm just not sure that a municipality can legally be granted the power to regulate choice to that degree.

burying the.... (1)

aqsv49 (894530) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173395)

So lemme get this right, we no longer bury our pets and other animals when they die, we bag them up and send them to a bio-fuel plant. I wander where well be sending humans next other than graveyards when they die!

Re:burying the.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14173413)

Somewhere green. Bowling? No, not that.

Re:burying the.... (1)

opposume (600667) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173592)

You know, that might not be that bad an idea! Save on room in cemeteries as well as produce fuels? Win/Win!

mad cow disease (0, Offtopic)

Barbarian (9467) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173406)

Now mad cow disease can be spread by cars too!

Seriously, I hope the rendering process is complete enough to destroy any prions, because anyone who has been behind a diesel truck knows that the engine certainly does not combust cleanly.

That's because... (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173449)

... diesel fuel in the US is incredibly dirty. European engines need to be specially modified to deal with it. Furthermore, there just don't seem to be any good US-made diesel engines once you go smaller than large industrial engines (think 30 litres and up).

Re:ponies (2, Funny)

ed1park (100777) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173622)

Prion disease might be an in issue if you started ingesting the biofuel. :P

On a slightly different note, I wonder what consequences it will have on the utilization of farm animals. Kind of puts a different twist on the idea of horsepower. :( :)

WTF? (2, Insightful)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173631)

I'm going to assume you're trolling. If not I have to ask how did someone as dumb as you get a four digit /. ID? You're giving the rest of us a bad name.

And, fucking *Insightful* moderation? Jeesus...

 

Re:mad cow disease (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173634)

If I could mod you down, I would, but I've already posted a comment.

Anyway, I've been behind many Volkswagen Jetta TDIs, and not noticed much exhaust of any kind.

So, just because it's diesel doesn't mean that it's smoky. Direct injection (the DI part of TDI) and a turbocharger (the T part of TDI) can get rid of almost all of the smoke, to the point that the smoke is no longer visible.

Re:mad cow disease (1)

Entrope (68843) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173712)

I'm trying to figure out why the other replies think this is so unlikely. A quick Google says that carcass incineration may need temperatures above 850 C for two seconds (in the carcass interior) to ensure prion destruction. Diesel engines themselves do not put their fuels through this: the autoignition temperature is way below 850 C, the combustion flame is hotter than 850 C, but the fuel is not in the combustion chamber for long, and an exhaust gas temperature of 850 C means your engine is running hot enough to kill itself. Prions are hardy little buggers, and I don't see why breathing atomized prions would be better for you than eating them.

Have you ever??? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14173410)

Have you ever seen a biodiesel vehicle in operation? White smoke pumping out.
Have you ever smelled a biodiesel vehicle in operation or at rest? Uhg! What a stench.
Have you ever driven a biodiesel vehicle? They are a bit quieter than when running on regular diesel but they also lack power compared to when running on regular diesel.

Biodiesel may become more widely used in commercial or off-road applications but, it will never take off for highway vehicles.

Re:Have you ever??? (3, Informative)

SlashSquatch (928150) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173461)

Have you ever seen a biodiesel vehicle in operation? White smoke pumping out.

This is simply a function of the efficiency of the vehicle in question. It's not a problem of any single fuel. Biodiesel burns quite clean in an efficient engine at operating temperature.

Have you ever smelled a biodiesel vehicle in operation or at rest? Uhg! What a stench.

I have yet to smell one that was offensive to me. The worst I've smelled was a bit remimniscent of carmelization. Diesel smells much worse.

Have you ever driven a biodiesel vehicle? They are a bit quieter than when running on regular diesel but they also lack power compared to when running on regular diesel.

No. I've driven an SVO for a year. It had more power on the vegetable oil than the diesel. The fuel system ran smoother and the engine knocked less.

Biodiesel may become more widely used in commercial or off-road applications but, it will never take off for highway vehicles.

What do you mean take off? A certain percentage of auto-diesels are operating on it right now. Maybe you should say "everyone that uses biodiesel is a hoser, and can take off", or just grumble to your friends at the refinery.

Re:Have you ever??? (1)

garglblaster (459708) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173668)

Have you ever

Yes I have.

I've been running my car on biodiesel for more than 5 years now.

I have never had any problems with it and I can recommend it whole-heartedly to everyone.

It's an Audi A4 1.9 TDI which is fully certified on biodiesel, I've been running it for more than 300.000 km now.

Besides giving me the feeling of running an 'environmentally friendly'' car it also saved me a lot of money on my gas bills.

Honestly, I pity anyone that's still driving a 'gasoline car' - Poor guys..

Re:Have you ever??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14173471)

WTF? Who told you all this? I've been running biodiesel made from vegetable oil for over a year now, it does'nt smell bad or make white smoke and performance is slightly higher than regular diesal.

Re:Have you ever??? (5, Informative)

xMonkey (154829) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173477)

I have seen them. I don't see what you describe.

I live in Denton, TX. The City has it's own Biodiesil Plant, one of the first. All the city vehicles run on B20; all the city trucks, heavy equipment, garbage trucks, etc...

Even though, its not 100% biodiesil (B20 is 80% diesel 20% biodesieal) they use a remarkable amount of it. There are a few more public biodiesel pumps in DFW area, and I think one other city around here uses it for thier equipment.

Ours plant is out by the land fill, and basicly all the vegetable oils, from restaruants and farms etc.., get processed. Pretty cool, and not experimental at all.

Yes I have and (1, Insightful)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173510)

I call bullshit. No idea where you get your information from, but... yup... just about every word of it is utter utter crap.

HTH

The problem with slashdot is that any fuckwit can be a moderator too... :) Yeah, feel free to mod me for that.

 

Re:Have you ever??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14173523)

Got to take care of this stupidity one bit at a time...

White smoke? Well, emissions-wise, biodiesel is the only alternative fuel to have fully completed the health effects testing requirements of the Clean Air Act (biodiesel.org).

Smell? Hmm, better to smell the sweet stench of salvation than the liquid death and carcinogens found in traditional emissions. Plus, it is a new fuel...many things can be worked out as it becomes more of a staple in America's great fuel buffet.

Oh, no highway usage? That must be why Big Willie's (Willie Nelson) Biodiesel Fillin' Station is located...survey says...in Carl's Corner, TX, 1 trillion miles from anything EXCEPT the I-35 corridor coming into Hillsboro, which is a major truck stop here in Texas.

Foolish mortal.

Re:Have you ever??? (2, Insightful)

NixLuver (693391) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173531)

The "White Smoke" you speak of is - oh my god - Steam! Yep, hot water - other stuff, too, but that's what makes it white.

I'm not sure what Biodiesel vehicles you've been stuck behind in traffic. My only experience with biodiesel vehicles is a local hobbyist who buys (cheaply) used oil from local restaurants and filters/processes it, and it doesn't stink at all when his old Volvo Diesel is buring that fuel. In fact, it smells faintly of french fries. And I've ridden with him many times on the highway; he certainly doesn't have any trouble getting into traffic or passing slower vehicles; I've never seen him drive over 75 mph, but since 70 is the highest speed limit on local hiways, I can't imagine *needing* much more. Most resources one can locate on Google suggest a 10% loss in power. Significant, but not fatal; a 225 HP diesel will be a ~203 hp biodiesel. A matching 10% loss in 'economy' is also measured, so if you got 25 MPG, you're now going to get ~22.5 MPG. Again, not fatal from a pragmatic standpoint.

To the poster earlier that noted that it must still produce CO2, therefore cannot be carbon neutral - your assumptions are wrong. It's carbon neutral because it's adding no NEW CO2 to the atmosphere - ie, it can only release CO2 that was already in the atmosphere, and then bound by plants in the production of leaves, seeds, stems, etc. Thus, using biodiesel adds no NEW CO2 to the atmosphere, and cannot increase the overall CO2 percentage; burning petrochemicals releases CO2 that has been locked under the crust of the planet, increasing the overall CO2 content of the atmosphere.

To anyone who's looking at this thread and interested in Biodiesel, I suggest you get cozy with google and find out for yourself, rather than paying attention to the FUD here.

Re:Have you ever??? (2, Insightful)

CapsaicinBoy (208973) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173563)

Have you ever seen a biodiesel vehicle in operation? White smoke pumping out.
I see one everyday. My VW doesn't smoke unless the engine has coldsoaked for a couple of days below freezing. And then the smoke clears up within the first minute.



Have you ever smelled a biodiesel vehicle in operation or at rest? Uhg! What a stench.

Why yes I have. I've even gotten down on all fours and sniffed my tailpipe. It has a distinct smell, but it doesn't smell like fries or eggrolls, and it smells much much better than the sulfur laden petrodiesel we get here in New England.


Have you ever driven a biodiesel vehicle? They are a bit quieter than when running on regular diesel but they also lack power compared to when running on regular diesel.
I drive one everyday. It's certainly not lacking in power and the increased cetane rating makes the engine run much smoother. The BTU content of biodiesel is about 95% of that of petrodiesel. So does it get slightly worse mileage? Sure. But it isn't the anemic dog you make it out to be.



Biodiesel may become more widely used in commercial or off-road applications but, it will never take off for highway vehicles.

My commute is 90 miles by highway and I use biodiesel. I know of two retail biodiesel pumps just off I91 (one in Holyoke and one in Brattleboro). I think you are misinformed.



Finally, I have a question for you Mr. Anonymous Coward. You seem rather put off by your biodiesel exposure. Is that just armchair experience from surfing or have your actually driven a BD powered vehicle. If so, was it a modern german turbodiesel like my '03 Jetta or was it a 20 year old out of tune beater MB hippiemobile. No offense to the old-school MB diesel hippies, but they make the rest of us look bad. :)

Re:Have you ever??? (2, Interesting)

fatboy (6851) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173594)

Have you ever seen a biodiesel vehicle in operation? White smoke pumping out.
I have followed my friend who has a biodiesel burning Dodge/Cummins truck from Nashville, Tn to Dayton, Oh. (among other trips that are 100s of miles) I didn't see any "white smoke".

Have you ever smelled a biodiesel vehicle in operation or at rest? Uhg! What a stench.
The slight smell of french fries maybe, but I like french fries. No worse than any other diesel.

Have you ever driven a biodiesel vehicle? They are a bit quieter than when running on regular diesel but they also lack power compared to when running on regular diesel.
He pulls a huge trailer packed with heavy gear all over the southeast when going to hamfests. It has plenty of power.

Called manufacturer of "Mr. Fusion" (4, Funny)

Kermee (724928) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173411)

My DeLorean has a Mr. Fusion powerplant installed. I called the manufacturer and they said that bio-diesel can be used in it. Hooray!

What about humans? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14173417)

What about dead humans? Why waste them by burrying them... It would be great to drive arround in a car powered by DEATH :)

Re:What about humans? (1)

tehwebguy (860335) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173515)

"We are, as an energy source, easily renewable and completely recyclable, the dead liquified and fed intravenously to the living."

Biodiesel not the answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14173436)

It's a great idea in concept. Make fuel using old frying oil, or in this case.... animal parts?! Seriously people, how is this feasable on a large scale. 9.2 million gallons is perhaps a day's worth of oil in the US. Plus I can't imagine how PETA and the like will take to using animal parts as fuel. I could also see a day when energy needs become so great that there will be an ethical debate: use human body parts as fuel, or the moral standard of burning/burying our dead. They also mention using canola and soy as a source of energy, which is again, very unfeasable on a large scale, but better in terms of carbon reuse. And to top it all off, it doesn't eliminate the CO2 output, which is probably the #1 problem with fossil fuels, but at least it doesn't create more.

The story doesn't mention how many acres would be needed to supply the US alone's energy needs for a year. I believe that would be more fields than the US has.

Re:Biodiesel not the answer (1)

bkruiser (610285) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173533)

Clone it, grow it, use it, one animal could power the planet, just clone the parts that make good fuel and slice it as you need it... just like we will do with food in a few years.

Re:Biodiesel not the answer (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14173635)

Thats because noone would use animal parts en masse. This place is starting with animal parts because it is material that would otherwise be wasted.

Biodiesel can be made from peanut oil, or it can be made from salt water algae; imagine salt water being pumped into Arizona into huge vats. The potential is to produce over 10,000 gallons per acre per year [wikipedia.org] . Doing the math shows you can account for the US's total consumption in about 525 square miles. And since any CO2 output from burning biodiesel would be negated by the step in which CO2 is taken out of the atmosphere when the algae is farmed, the result is net-zero emissions.

Biodiesel Green (5, Funny)

bobdole369 (267463) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173437)

Biodiesel is PEOPLE!!! It's PEOPLE!!!!

Animal Rights? (1, Interesting)

BBCWatcher (900486) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173438)

I wonder how PETA [peta.org] feels about this factory. Methinks the intersection between biodiesel consumers and PETA members is nonzero.

Re:Animal Rights? (1)

Yartrebo (690383) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173547)

PETA stands for People for the Ethical Treatment of animals. I cannot see why they would take offense at biodieson, considering that it is made from plants.

Re:Animal Rights? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14173572)

Because plants have bones like the summary mentions, right?

Re:Animal Rights? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14173576)

Not necessarily; RTFA - the factory in question is using animal parts that would otherwise have been wasted.

More Information on Biodiesel (5, Informative)

CapsaicinBoy (208973) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173452)

Premptively, let me make this very clear so we don't need to have the same discussion everytime biodiesel comes up.

First, biodiesel has a positive energy balance, to the tune of about 3.2 units out for every unit you put in. http://www.nrel.gov/docs/legosti/fy98/24089.pdf [nrel.gov]

Second, biodiesel is 78% carbon neutral with regard to greenhouse gas emissions (see previous pdf). That is because the majority of the carbon emitted when you burn a gallon of biodiesel was captured from the atmosphere when you grew the plant to make the vegetable oil. However, the methanol used to make the biodiesel (fatty acid methyl ester) is made from natural gas, at least in the US. You could make 100% renewable ethyl ester biodiesel from ethanol, or make methanol from landfill recovery biogas, but we don't currently.

Third, soy and corn oil are crummy crops to make biodiesel from. But that's where the lobbying money is right now. Other plants have much higher yields.
http://journeytoforever.org/biodiesel_yield.html [journeytoforever.org]

Forth, no, it isn't a question of "food or fuel"? We can do both! Whenever you hear that argument ask yourself whether the person is well meaning but misinformed, or as been happening recently, is part of astroturf campaign to preserve the status quo of the petroleum economy.

Want to try making some biodiesel yourself?
http://www.biodieselcommunity.org/howitsmade/ [biodieselcommunity.org]

Already making biodiesel and want to show it off?
http://www.cafepress.com/RenewableWear [cafepress.com]

Re:More Information on Biodiesel (1)

Urusai (865560) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173669)

78% carbon neutral? Is that like saying something is 80% fat free (meaning it's 20% fat)? By that standard, farts are 98% odor free (being mostly nitrogen). And G. W. Bush is 50% smart!

Is it subsidized? (1)

garylian (870843) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173460)

Where I live, in Denton, TX, they have switched most of the trash trucks and other large vehicles over to bio-diesel. They mentioned that it was cost effective, often cheaper than petroleum diesel. But, they forgot to factor in one point...

Many of the products that go into bio-diesel are subsidized by the government here in the U.S. If the government is subsidizing it, then it isn't as cheap in the big picture. Sure, it's a better concept, but I want to know how much it costs up front, and how much the government (read: our tax dollars) are going to help a company make money.

If it's being made from canola, then don't let the government pay part of the bill, and assist some company in making more money while taxpayers suffer for it. That, or make the producers of canola based bio-diesel rebate the money back to the government for the original subsidization, so farmers aren't the ones being penalized.

Gasoline production is heavily subsidized (1)

brokeninside (34168) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173620)

Estimates on what the US price of gasoline would be if it wasn't subsidized by the federal government range from twenty cents to over a dollar per gallon more than the price we see at the pumps. So if you're going to include government subsidies on the side of biodiesel, you also need to include it on the side of regular diesel and gasoline.

Further, if you're doing a truly economic analysis, you have to include external costs. If biodiesel burns cleaner, then you have to include the cost of increased pollution on the side of regular diesel. If producing biodiesel can help remove dependency on foreign oil, then you have to include decreased defense costs. I'm not claiming that biodiesel necessarily does either of these, I'm just pointing out that you need to analyze the big picture rather than just the price at the pumps.

Re:Gasoline production is heavily subsidized (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14173696)

Gasoline is also heavily taxed, idiot.

Re:Is it subsidized? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14173647)

I really couldn't imagine a scenario where the amount of money spent by the government on biodisel subsidies is anywhere near the amount of money swindled by the big oil lobby.

Lastest alternate energy/fuel status (2, Informative)

watermodem (714738) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173511)

Go to the the following for a great update on the latest happenings with all alternate fuels/power:

http://www.windsofchange.net/archives/007802.php [windsofchange.net]

It covers: Bio, Electricity, Fossil Fuels, Geothermal, Hydrogen, Nuclear, Solar, Water, Wind

US biodiesel production will reach 75 million gallons in 2005

A former malting facility in Jefferson, Wisconsin will be converted to house an innovative, $200 million ethanol production plant that, in addition to 140 million gallons of ethanol a year, will produce 20 million gallons of biodiesel and, yes, 8 million pounds of tilapia fish filets.

an Illinois fertilizer plant that previously used natural gas as a feedstock is being converted to utilize gasified coal instead, and will produce 87 million gallons/year of synthetic gasoline and electricity to boot.

and with solar: Plans for large solar thermal power plants have recently been approved in Nevada and California, with a 64 MW plant planned near Boulder City and a 4,500-acre, 500 MW plant north of Los Angeles.

Catchphrase no longer applicable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14173516)

"no blood for oil"?

A bit off topic, perhaps (1)

value_added (719364) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173528)

Seems to me that the bones, innards and other parts of farm animals such as cattle, pigs or chickens that Canadians do not eat are the yummiest, at least necessary to make stock (the basis of any proper kitchen) in which you can cook your vegetables, make your soups, use as a base for your sauces and equally important, give Rover some real marrow to eat as opposed to frustrating him with emptied, or worse, plastic bones. In most markets, the only place one can find bones, etc. is from the near-extinct local butcher, a sympathetic farmer, or from US Chinatowns where freshly slaughtered poultry can be purchased whole (i.e., everything but the feathers).

It could be that the most Canadians demographic they're referring to are those folks who grew up shopping in supermarkets not knowing any different. I doubt it applies to the French, or any other group still in touch with their ethnic roots. As an illustrative example, I'm Canadian but my dogs will be enjoying the discarded turkey carcases donated by friends and family for the next few months, while I can enjoy Turkey-based soups and sauces.

Recycling fast food frying oil made from soybeans as mentioned in the article, on the other hand, makes perfect sense. Personally, I think fresh soybean oil should go straight to the gas tank.

You don't know what you are talking about (1)

cdn-programmer (468978) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173667)

Montreal is known for its smoked meats. Pate is made from livers. Livers are an innard. Steak and Kidney pie is made from innards. So is blood sausage.

Sausages are made from guts. Well - sausage casings are! When you eat polish sausage and breakfast sausage then you are eating innards.

Gutz Gutz - GLORIOUS GTUZ!!! Please pass another sausage?

No silver bullet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14173541)

They overstate the magnitude of the improvement. It is not the equivalent of removing 22,000 cars from the road, because building the cars and laying the infrastructure also cause pollution, and 22,000 cleaner cars still require the same volume of roads and tires. Only public transportation makes sense in the long run.

Public transit not so good (1)

cdn-programmer (468978) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173639)

When I was in UNI I read an artical in Scientific American about a study (out of Texas I think) which stated that a car that got 25 MPG was more efficent fuel wise than the average transit system.

Pay very close attention to those monsters off peak hours. They weigh in the TONNES and they are typically empty. A taxi fleet driving hybreds might both be cheaper and more fuel effcient - especially if driven by a ROBOT like the Johny Cabs in Arnie's movie "Total Recall".

I think we are pretty close to being able to build a transit system like this.

Re:No silver bullet (2, Insightful)

/ASCII (86998) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173653)

You're not seeing the big picture. Sure, this is not the be all, end all solution to the entire environment problem, but it might turn out to be a large piece of the puzzle. Other pieces might include finding a way to make cheap plastics and rubber-like materials out of something other than oil, somehow changing the suburban lifestyle in the U.S. so that public transport starts to make sense, creating environemnt friendly batteries or some other form of portable energy source, finding a way to control pests without using dangerous pesticides and finding a reliable way to free the mallocs.

Complaining that the potential solution to one of our biggest environmental problems will not make the entire problem go away is short-sighted and unproductive.

In other news (2, Funny)

cojsl (694820) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173545)

Montreal stores report hot dog shortages

Bio fuel is DECADES old news (4, Informative)

mangu (126918) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173552)

Ethanol from sugar cane has been used in Brazil since the late 1970s.


My first bio-fuel powered car was a Brazilian 1983 Chevette with a 1.6 liter motor burning 96% pure ethanol. For over 25 years there have been ethanol pumps in every Brazilian gas station.


Besides the cars that burn strraight ethanol, the gasoline distilled from petroleum in Brazil gets a mix from 20% to 25% ethanol, depending on the season. Today, most new Brazilian cars are equipped with "flex" motors that can burn any proportion, from 0% to 100% ethanol.

There is another plant doing this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14173554)

In Oil City, Pennsylvania near the site where oil was very first discovered on this planet (you did know that oil was first discovered in the US, didn't you?), they are doing a similar thing with soy beans. The city's economy collapsed when Pennzoil closed up shop in 1999 when it no longer became profitable to refine oil at the site.

It is great to see the community "rediscovering" itslf and at the same time potentially benefitting the local farmers of the area who also feel the downturn in the economy (oh - and benefitting the world in its own little way too).

Here's a link for more info: http://www.thederrick.com/stories/12012005-4012.sh tml [thederrick.com]

Cheers

What are the Vegans going to do? (1)

interspectrum_2000 (195271) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173559)

So everyone thinks this is perfect, except perhaps PETA and militant vegans. Protests at the fuel pump? Red paint being tossed at motorists?

I think the Vegans are too busy (1)

Prototerm (762512) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173659)

I wouldn't worry about the Vegans until they finish their Hyperspatial Throughway. So, Don't Panic, OK?

Fuel from cow bones (1)

mpn14tech (716482) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173571)

I never really thought of bones as a fuel. I wonder what kind of interesting pollutants burning calcium in your engine produces.

Big hairy Deal (4, Informative)

cdn-programmer (468978) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173582)

9,200,000/42/365 = 600 BOPD.

The USA uses about 20,000,000 BOPD. Canada and the USA use over 22 million BOPD. This is a drop in the bucket.

If they scaled this up by a factor of 1000 (a $14 BILLION plant) then this would still be small potatoes compared to what we need. Even the Alberta tar sands expansions which will take us to about 3.3 million BOPD with investments in the 10's of billions and maybe 100's of billions by 2015 are small potatoes compared to what we need.

Yes - every bit helps but...

Lets look at the 4 top oil fields:

Ghawar (Saudit Arabia) 5 million BOPD Likely near decline
Canaterall (Mexico) 2.2 million BOPD In decline, 14% per year
Bergan (Kuwait) 1.6 million BOPD In decline, rate unknown
DaQing (China) 1 million BOPD In decline, 7% per year

These 4 feilds produce about 10 million BOPD, or about 12.5% of the world's 82 million BOPD production.

A decline rate of 10% in these 4 feilds translates to a loss of over 1 million BOPD. If we multiply that biodiesel plant by 1000 we still do not make up for the lost production of the top 4 oil fields.

The North sea went into decline in 1999 at a rate of about 14%. The UK became an oil importer this year.

Indonesia became an oil importer this year.

Australia use to be supplied by Indoneasia and since Indonesia can no longer supply Oz, Oz also has lined up at the Straits of Hormuz, hat in hand, asking for middle east oil.

This plant is just a drop in the bucket! If we build a plant like this every day for the next 10 years it won't be enough. That is how big the world oil peak problem is. We do not have a workable energy policy in place.

Has anyone even heard any of the damn pollies even dicusssing it seriously?

The most believable estimate I have is that world oil production will peak in 2007 and this is an optimistic estimate taking into consideration every oil production project on the planet.

solar panels? (1)

swframe (646356) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173670)

Could solar panels on every home/business save us?

how many acres of grass/corn/etc (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14173593)

does it take to feed an animal, so that it can grow up, get mashed, and pulverized, into auto fuel? as economists of agriculture will tell you, the more steps, the less efficient the transfer of energy. i seriously question the 'sustainability' of this practice, especially when we need the land for food and our ever-growing population. let alone the ethical implications (what is next, cadaver fuel?)

BioDiesel in Dallas (2, Insightful)

wizard992 (176718) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173596)

The City of Dallas is using BioDiesel in it's building maintenance trucks, 544 of them. Here is a link to the City web page http://www.dallascityhall.com/dallas/eng/html/gdal i_ebs_biodisel.html [dallascityhall.com] ; I couldn't find one showing actual data on cost saving or emmissions tests, but the general consensus is that it it a Good Thing. Hell, even Willie Nelson has opened a chain of BioDiesel stations, and there are a number of independants spread over the metroplex. Most of these are using B20, a blend of 20% BioDiesel and 80% Petrolium Diesel. Imagine how much better is can be when they convert to a higher blend, probably B80.

The city also runs Natural Gas in it's busses. The air quality in Dallas is better than it used to be, based just on my impression of the way things are.

Bio is the way to go IMO, especially when produced by small time operators. We have so much of the raw materiel that is treated as waste matter (cooking oil), we can kill multiple birds with one or two old water heater processors.

Who's next? (1)

FishandChips (695645) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173608)

When they said "Put a tiger in your tank" I didn't think they meant it literally.

Finally, A Solution For Parking Ticket Scofflaws (1)

Prototerm (762512) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173638)

Cities like Philadelphia will soon be handing out more parking tickets, in that case. When you run low of that group, you can start on jay-walkers. Think of it: At the same time you get a cheap source of energy, reduce vehicular and pedestrian traffic, and clear the way for urban renewal (fewer people, you see). I like it! Someone call Mayor Street and let him know the good news.

Biodiesel tax breaks (4, Informative)

amembleton (411990) | more than 8 years ago | (#14173649)

Although small, this processing plant in Canada is at least a good step, we need more setups like this.

In the UK, there is a 20p/litre tax relief for biodiesel, but this isn't enough. Even with current oil prices biodiesel is still more expensive. What we need is to completely drop the tax on biodiesel, that way oil companies and others will see a reason to invest. The tax break would also need to be guaranteed for a decent length of time, say 20 years so that investments would pay off.

There are problems with biodiesel. It would require vast tracts of land, and would probably end up using land in the 3rd and developing worlds to meet our needs for fuel. This land may have been better used for local food production. IMHO, this is not a huge problem, as it would provide much needed investment into developing and 3rd world nations, and of course many ppl would be employed to harvest the crops.

Some interesting biodiesel sites:
http://journeytoforever.org/biodiesel_make.html [journeytoforever.org]
http://www.vegetableoildiesel.co.uk/ [vegetableoildiesel.co.uk]
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