Biodiesel

Like I said before, I have a soft spot for cars. I said in the Tesla Roadster post that I “have a weakness for a good looking car”. Well, that weakness also extends to innovative automobile technology. As an example, I became way too excited when I first saw the commercial of the Lexus that parks itself.

Where is this all going? Well, for some time now, individuals have been creating an alternative fuel derived from plant and animal based oils. This mainly grass-roots movement has been building steam to the point that companies are now blending it themselves and selling the stuff at pumps. This product is called Biodiesel.

Biodiesel can be used to describe a wide variety of fuels. It is occasionally even used in the broadest sense to describe alternative fuels such as methanol. More specifically it is used to describe vegetable oils that are chemically converted to be suitable for use in non-modified diesel engines. Straight vegetable oils (SVO) or Waste Vegetable Oils (WVO) are distinguished from Biodiesel because they are unconverted. They are simply filtered to remove engine damaging particles. SVO and WVO are also different in that they are usually only run in engines or fuel systems that are converted to be able to handle the unique characteristics of unmodified vegetable oils.

Biodiesel uses oils from a wide range of plants to create fuel for vehicles. These include corn, rapeseed, soy, and even algae. This fuels produces far fewer toxins overall when burned. It lowers carbon monoxide, and aromatic hydrocarbons despite the fact that it produces more nitrogen oxide. And since the fuel is produced from plants that use carbon dioxide for growth, the fuel is carbon neutral.

Biodiesel is rated according to the amount that it is blended with regular diesel fuel. For instance a B20 blend would be 20 percent Biodiesel and 80 percent regular diesel fuel. The biodiesel pumps in our area pump B20 exclusively.

Like I said before, Biodiesel is becoming more and more mainstream. Even Willie Nelson has thrown his hat into the ring with “Willie Fuel“. Because of this, and also because diesel is naturally more efficient, diesel passenger cars have become more popular and are commanding higher prices. Volkswagen dealerships are able to sell cars sight unseen at sticker price. To compound the problem, Volkswagen is halting production of their diesel engines for a year to revamp the design to meet higher diesel environmental standards. Even used Volkswagen diesel trucks and rabbits from the 80’s are commanding impressive prices on ebay.

Biodiesel seems to be one of those solutions that address many problems without producing many complaints. I hope that Biodiesel usage expands.

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