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Published on April 10th, 2008 | by Clayton

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Biodiesel Mythbuster 2.0: Twenty-Two Biodiesel Myths Dispelled


mercedes, biodiesel, biofuel, ethanol, alternative fuel, diesel, biopower

[social_buttons] Most of us are at least vaguely familiar with biodiesel, but how much do we really know?

While biodiesel is easily the most popular alternative fuel available, it’s commonly misunderstood or misrepresented by inaccurate information. Since the most frequent question I get is, “So what exactly is biodiesel, anyway?“, I decided to write a tome covering all the basics—a one stop shop for all your biodiesel- related questions.

It’s been exactly one year since I published the first Biodiesel Mythbuster on GreenOptions.com, and its popularity made a sequel inevitable. By way of a short introduction, here’s what I wrote last year:

In case you’re new to the topic, biodiesel is a renewable fuel made from plant oils and occasionally animal fat. It can be made from both used and unused sources of oil, such as freshly-pressed soybean oil, or oil left-over from the deep fryer at your local burger joint. Biodiesel can only be used in diesel engines – no gasoline engines allowed. Biodiesel can be blended into regular diesel in any amount, such as 20% biodiesel/80% diesel (B20), or used pure 100% (B100, aka ‘neat’). As a disclaimer, this post does not address homemade biodiesel (aka homebrew), which usually does not meet the quality standards of ASTM-certified biodiesel.

Here is the new and improved Biodiesel Mythbuster 2.0—yours for only $29.99 (just kidding):

MYTH #1: Biodiesel and ethanol are the same thing.

MYTH #2: Ethanol is better than biodiesel (or vice versa).

MYTH #3: Biodiesel (and other biofuels) are a total waste of time; they’ll never solve anything.

MYTH #4: You must convert your vehicle to run biodiesel.

MYTH #5: You have to be a diesel mechanic to use biodiesel.

MYTH #6: Biodiesel will wreck your engine.

MYTH #7: Biodiesel will cause a noticeable power decrease.

MYTH #8: Biodiesel use will void your warranty.

MYTH #9: Biodiesel doesn’t work in cold weather.

MYTH #10: Biodiesel has no quality control; you could be buying anything.

MYTH #11: Biodiesel is impossible to find.

MYTH #12: Biodiesel use requires a new fuel infrastructure.

MYTH #13: Biodiesel is too expensive.

MYTH #14: Biodiesel requires more energy to produce than is provided by the fuel.

MYTH #15: Biodiesel increases net green-house gas (GHG) emissions when the entire production process is taken into account (farming, distribution, etc).

MYTH #16: Biodiesel causes deforestation.

MYTH #17: No way can we grow enough biodiesel to make a difference.

MYTH #18: Biodiesel exhaust smells bad.

MYTH #19: Biodiesel exhaust produces more harmful emissions than diesel.

MYTH #20: Diesel engines are more polluting than gasoline engines, so selling my car and buying a diesel is a bad idea.

MYTH #21: If I wanted to use biodiesel, there’s no way can I find a diesel to drive.

MYTH #22: Biodiesel is only used by crazy hippies and Willie Nelson.

Addendum: MYTH (Or Fact?) #23: Biodiesel is Raising Food Prices

MYTH (/MISUNDERSTANDING) #1: Biodiesel and ethanol are the same thing.

FACT: This is the most commonly held misconception about these two fuels, but ethanol and biodiesel are, in fact, completely different. Ethanol is the product of fermentation (think: SUGAR), and biodiesel is chemically-converted fat or oil (think: PLANT OIL).

  • Ethanol is made from a sugar source like sugarcane in Brazil, or corn-grain in the US. In the second example, corn is ground and mixed with water to form a slurry, and treated with enzymes to break down complex sugars (dextrose) into simple sugars (sucrose). The slurry-mash is then transferred to a fermentation vat where yeast are added. The yeast turns the simple sugars (sucrose) into carbon dioxide and ethanol. You may recognize this process, because it’s the same way moonshine is made.
  • Ethanol can also be made from more complex plant material containing cellulose—aka cellulosic ethanol—a process that is still being developed. The first major commercial cellulosic ethanol facility will go online in 2009. Some studies have shown that cellulosic ethanol has the potential to displace around 30% of US gasoline usage with major reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions.
  • Ethanol is blended into gasoline. Half the gasoline in the United States is already blended with 10% ethanol. It was commonly thought that higher blends would damage standard gas engines, but a recent study discovered that most cars can run on 20% ethanol with no problems. Ethanol is usually sold in as E10 (10% ethanol, 90% gasoline) or E85 (85% ethanol, 15% gasoline). Only Flex-Fuel vehicles can run on E85.
  • Biodiesel can be made from any plant oil or animal fat. Some examples include soybean, rapeseed, and palm kernel oils, and also animal fat left over from meat processing (disgusting I know). Biodiesel can also be made from recycled restaurant cooking-oil, often called waste-vegetable-oil (WVO), and is a major feedstock for some biodiesel producers.
  • Biodiesel is most commonly made by mixing plant oils with lye (sodium hydroxide, or NaOH) and methanol (CH3COH). This splits up the fat molecules in the oil leaving a less-viscous biodiesel and one waste product: glycerol.
  • The dream feedstock for large-scale biodiesel production has been biodiesel from algae, a nonfood source of oil with incredible yields. The first algae-to-biofuels plant went online April 1st, 2008.
  • Biodiesel can be blended into diesel fuel in any amount, but the most common blends are B5 (5% biodiesel, 95% diesel), B20 (20% biodiesel, 80% diesel), and B100 (100% biodiesel).

So, just to recap, biodiesel is chemically processed fat or oil for use in diesel engines, and ethanol is basically moonshine that can be added to gasoline.

MYTH #2: Ethanol is better than biodiesel (or vice versa).

FACT: If you read the news, you probably think biofuels are generally bad, with corn-grain ethanol being the worst of the bunch. But as usual, generalizations fail here, since every biofuel is unique in terms of manufacturing process and environmental impacts.

Corn-grain ethanol and Malaysian palm biodiesel have substantive negative impacts (like deforestation, waterway pollution) and questionable benefits. But they are completely different than US-grown soybean biodiesel or second-generation biofuels that aren’t based on food-sources—like cellulosic ethanol or algae biodiesel. Take each one for what it’s worth, and keep in mind that no reasonable person is claiming biofuels are a silver bullet. They are simply a part of the larger solution.

Here are some of the latest headlines on non-food based fuel:

MYTH #3: Biodiesel (and other biofuels) are a total waste of time; they’ll never solve anything.

Fact: This is a totally bogus argument. Here’s why: there isn’t a solution for our petroleum addiction. If you dismiss biofuels as a fantasy-land panacea, you’re right, because it’s going to take a combination of improved fuel economy, massive reinvestment in public transportation, new technology, new fuel sources like non-food based biofuels and electricity, and other factors to move us into transportation 2.0.

As they say, don’t make perfect the enemy of the good.

Biodiesel has already had major impacts in offsetting diesel fuel usage and reducing pollution, impacts that could not be realized if we just gave up on it because it will never meet our total fuel demand.

For example, biodiesel made from waste cooking oil that would otherwise be discarded or shipped to China for processing is displacing 1 million gallons of diesel fuel in Oregon each year. In total, 450 million gallons of biodiesel was produced in the United States in 2007, amounting to an emissions reduction of approximately 1,102,399,500 lbs. of carbon dioxide*.

(*My estimation assuming all soybean biodiesel, based on 40% lifecycle GHG reduction and 6 lbs of CO2 per gallon of diesel fuel).

MYTH #4: You must convert your vehicle to run biodiesel.

FACT: Let me describe the conversion process (which is also outlined under 6 Ways To Find And Use Biodiesel Anywhere): Drive to the nearest biodiesel pump, put the spout in the side of the car, and pump the biodiesel into your fuel tank (provided it’s a diesel). That’s it. You can use biodiesel in almost any diesel engine without modification. In fact, if you own a diesel vehicle you can probably fill it up today with 100% biodiesel (B100) and should experience no problems whatsoever.

That being said, there are two major exceptions for newer vehicles: if you’re worried about voiding your warranty, or if your car’s operating manual specifically prohibits using biodiesel. I’ll deal with warranty issues further down the page, but let me say here that I’ve only heard of one manufacturer explicitly prohibiting biodiesel use in a new diesel, and that’s Audi’s A3. Presumably this has something to do with the intense pressures and precise fuel injection parameters of newer engines, but VW still warranties B5 biodiesel in their brand new 2009 Clean Diesel Jetta TDI.

But for users where those two exceptions don’t apply, let me repeat this: you can use ANY amount of biodiesel (see cold weather considerations below), from B2 to B100, in a diesel engine with NO immediate or necessary modification to the engine.

Reasoning for this myth is based biodiesel’s solvent properties: over time it can degrade natural rubber, and it will clean out diesel sludge that has accumulated in older fuel lines. The second one is actually a good thing, but if you drive an old diesel vehicle, it’s a good idea to change your fuel filter after a tank or two of biodiesel, or your fuel filter could subsequently clog. I’ve only heard of this happening a few times, and it can be easily avoided by switching out the fuel filter yourself (get the filter at Napa or Autozone) or take it to Jiffy Lube.

As for natural rubber, it’s uncommon in post-1990 vehicles. Depending on the age of your car, you may need to swap out the rubber fuel lines and replace them with synthetic Viton hosing. But don’t lose any sleep over this. It only takes a few minutes, and if you can’t figure it out a mechanic should be able to do it in 15 minutes. You may not even need to change them out. The rubber fuel lines in my 25-year-old Datsun pickup truck did just fine when I switched to B100, and didn’t need replacement during the two years I owned it. For an excellent (if slightly technical) example of what the swap looks like, check out this post from the NissanDiesel Forums.

MYTH #5: You have to be a diesel mechanic to use biodiesel.

FACT: No, all you have to do fill up with a different fuel, just like switching between regular and premium. The ‘conversions’ mentioned above are easy, take minimal mechanical skill (being able to use a screwdriver), and shouldn’t take more than an hour. When I bought my first diesel, I’d never even changed the oil in a car, and I haven’t used petro-diesel since.

MYTH #6: Biodiesel will wreck your engine.

FACT: Nope. This is completely false. There have been reports of biodiesel damaging gasoline engines (just like diesel would), and I’ve heard that’s why some mechanics rail against using the fuel—they’ve had to deal with these hapless folks. While original engine manufacturers (OEMs) are especially cautious about new fuels, some of biggest names in the diesel world (like Cummins, Caterpillar, John Deere, and others) have cleared B20 or higher from doing any harm.

Biodiesel and diesel fuel are similar in chemical structure and have similar properties, so they burn similarly in diesel engines. But biodiesel has some specific advantages. Biodiesel adds significant lubricity to the fuel (something that sulfur formally did in diesel fuel, but has since been reduced, hence ultra-low-sulfur-diesel or ULSD), reducing engine and fuel pump wear and reportedly extending engine life. Adding just 1% biodiesel to ULSD will restore lubricity to the fuel.

Biodiesel has a higher cetane number (higher ignitability) and combusts more completely due to higher oxygen content. Biodiesel is also a good solvent and will clean out diesel fuel residue left in the fuel tank and lines. Over time, because it’s such a good solvent, biodiesel can degrade rubber fuel lines and gaskets. Most post-1990 vehicles don’t have rubber lines and gaskets, but some older vehicles do.

MYTH #7: Biodiesel will cause a noticeable power decrease.

FACT: Biodiesel contains about 8.5% less energy per gallon than petroleum diesel. For someone using B20, this means about a 1-2% loss in power, torque, and fuel efficiency. To put things into perspective, that’s about a 2 mph difference on the freeway if you were trying to go 55 mph. Millions of miles of onroad tests (aka trucking) have shown that B20 and diesel are practically indistinguishable. Biodiesel has also been used extensively in heavy-machinery, like tractors, loaders, and agricultural equipment, with no noticeable difference.

B100 users may notice a slight drop in fuel mileage based on the small difference in energy content, but torque and power are usually comparable. I’ve seen a 1-3 mpg drop in fuel efficiency running B100. As an FYI, biodiesel has the highest BTU (energy) content of any alternative fuel (falling somewhere between diesel #1 and #2). Energy content of various fuels (per gallon, low value of range):

  • Regular Diesel Fuel = 128,500 BTUs
  • Gasoline = 125,071 BTUs
  • Biodiesel = 118,296 BTUs
  • Ethanol = 76,000 BTUs

MYTH #8: Biodiesel use will void your warranty.

FACT: This myth is a little more problematic because it’s partially true. While all manufacturers have approached biodiesel cautiously, many now recognize and warranty B20 for use in new vehicles. See the table listing biodiesel manufacturer warranty information.

However, things get a little more complicated when you start to argue that the use of a fuel cannot void non-fuel system warranties. According to the National Biodiesel Board (NBB), “The use of biodiesel in existing diesel engines does not void parts and materials workmanship warranties of any major US engine manufacturer.”

Apparently, Federal law prohibits the voiding of a warranty just because biodiesel was used—it must be the cause of the damage, though some manufacturers will assume biodiesel caused the problem. Warranties generally don’t cover problems caused by external sources, i.e. bad fuel, but can’t be voided if the problem was unrelated (see NREL’s Biodiesel Handling and Use Guidelines, p. 47). Most manufacturers do support B5 or B20, but that doesn’t mean they necessarily prohibit higher blends.

The best thing you can do: double-check with your manufacturer!

Of course, for those of us who have never had a car warranty, no sweat! Don’t lose any sleep over this!

Update: Biodiesel’s New Approval Rating Could Ease Warranty Concerns

MYTH #9: Biodiesel doesn’t work in cold weather.

FACT: Alright, this is another potential stumbling-block, but a manageable one. Perhaps you’ve read my personal experience with biodiesel in cold weather—let me reiterate that operator error led to the breakdown. It’s true that biodiesel clouds up (starts to freeze) at higher temperatures when compared to regular diesel, and therefore it’s important to blend biodiesel with diesel fuel in the winter (depending on your climate). Here are the biodiesel cold-weather guidelines:

  • B100 can be used down to about 40 degrees F
  • B50 between 20-40 degrees F
  • B20 below 20 degrees F

Remember that the cold-flow properties (as they’re called) vary depending on what the biodiesel is made from (feedstocks with more saturated fat, like coconut oil or animal parts tend to freeze earlier). Local producers should be able to give you more information about this, though most biodiesel you will find is going to be soy biodiesel.

When I lived in the Pacific Northwest’s rather mild (in terms of temp) climate, I typically used B100 between March and November, then switched to B50 for the winter, unless I planned on hitting much colder temperatures (I mean anything approaching 0 F). I’m aware of people using B100 all year round in Corvallis, Oregon, with no problems.

By the way, if you end up using the wrong blend, or get caught in a cold snap, it isn’t the end of the world. Your engine will shut off when the fuel filter clogs from partially-gelled biodiesel. This doesn’t cause any permanent damage, but you will have to wait for a sunny day or apply some serious heat to get things running again. (After stalling out on the freeway once in 13 degrees F and being towed to a gas station, I had to fill the empty space in the fuel tank with diesel, add an anti-gelling additive (available at any gas station), replace the fuel filter, and wait for a sunny day).

The cold-weather problem is not insurmountable, made clear by biodiesel use in snow-cats at some ski areas. All you have to do is heat the fuel system, from fuel tank to injection pump, which is precisely the same thing you do to convert a diesel to run on straight-vegetable-oil. For more information and some ideas, check out the cold-weather fuel products from Arctic Fox.

MYTH #10: Biodiesel has no quality control; you could be buying anything.

FACT: While there’s definitely room to question the consistency of biodiesel quality control (see earlier post), the industry has strict guidelines in place. Biodiesel has it’s own fuel standard, ASTM 6751, which determines whether or not a substance is actually biodiesel. The National Biodiesel Board also set up the BQ-9000 quality certification program to create a nationally-recognized list of approved distributors.

I personally wouldn’t worry about the quality of biodiesel at the pump, considering the scant attention regular petro-diesel quality receives.

Quality control can be a major issue, however, if you’re using homebrew biodiesel or biodiesel purchased from a biodiesel coop. If you choose the latter, make sure they test their fuel periodically to see how close they get to ASTM 6751.

MYTH #11: Biodiesel is impossible to find.

FACT: Many people assume this without actually looking, but biodiesel could be readily available in your area. That’s why I wrote 6 Ways To Find And Use Biodiesel Anywhere. Check it out. It will tell you how to find retail biodiesel stations, how to map them on Mapquest, and how to get emergency biodiesel locations on your cell phone. Biodiesel is the most widely available renewable fuel and can be found in many major metropolitan areas.

MYTH #12: Biodiesel use requires a new fuel infrastructure.

FACT: One of the key benefits to using biodiesel is its seamless integration into existing infrastructure (unlike ethanol, which has water-collection issues). Biodiesel can be transported and stored anywhere that petroleum diesel can, and can be dispensed from the same refueling equipment.

MYTH #13: Biodiesel is too expensive.

FACT: Last time I checked, biodiesel was $3.30 per gallon. With a tax credit offered in Oregon, the final price was $2.80 per gallon. Not bad considering diesel has soared to $4.00 per gallon.

Update on 6.17.2008: Biodiesel is now $4.99 / gallon in Oregon.

Unfortunately, biodiesel is tied to petroleum prices because of complicated issues related to the web of factors influencing commodities pricing. But in areas where biodiesel is made from non-food sources, and looking to the future when we hope all of it is made from non-food sources, biodiesel can be cheaper. Sequential Biofuels of Oregon makes biodiesel out of 1 million gallons of recycled vegetable oil each year. In any case, biodiesel isn’t any more expensive than diesel fuel, and in some places it can be significantly cheaper (Pacifica, Ca: $3.23/gallon on 6.17.2008).

That being said, we could probably argue about the real price of petroleum for hours. Americans don’t see the real price of petro-diesel at the pump, which should probably include the cost of climate change (in the form of a carbon tax) and some of the most expensive aspects of US foreign policy (I’ll let you fill in the blank). It also doesn’t include the health care and societal cost of the estimated 15,000 premature deaths attributed to diesel exhaust each year.

The US will export an estimated $440 billion dollars (update: I think it’s twice that now) in 2008 to satiate its oil demand, which represents something like half of the nation’s trade deficit. Supporting US biodiesel injects some of that money back into local economies, as opposed to say, the economy of Saudi Arabia.

So which is really more expensive? I’ll let you decide for yourself.

MYTH #14: Biodiesel requires more energy to produce than is provided by the fuel.

FACT: The vast majority of literature on the subject shows a positive energy balance, meaning that more energy is available in the fuel than is used to grow the crop, press the seeds, process the oil into biodiesel, and distribute the product. The most common numbers I’ve seen say about 2-3 times more energy is produced, or 1 unit of energy in equals 2-3 units of energy out. [don’t leave it to me, see for yourself: [(1), (2)]. Compare this to corn-grain ethanol, which optimistically produces 25% more energy than is put into it (1 unit in equals 1.25 units out).

MYTH #15: Biodiesel increases net green-house gas (GHG) emissions when the entire production process is taken into account (farming, distribution, etc).

FACT: According to the University of Minnesota in 2006 (1), the production and use of soybean biodiesel decreases life-cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 41% over regular diesel (NREL says 78%, page 4), and also decreases other pollutants like Carbon monoxide, PM10, and SOx. In fact, pure biodiesel reduces air toxics by 90% when compared to diesel fuel.

As an aside, according to the same Minnesota study, the life-cycle of corn-grain ethanol reduces GHG emissions by 12% and actually increases emissions of five major pollutants.

MYTH #16: Biodiesel causes deforestation.

FACT: You’ve almost certainly read accounts of biodiesel production destroying Brazilian, Malaysian, and Indonesia rain forests, or the problems with European biodiesel mandates. The most important thing here is that you define exactly which oil feedstock you’re talking about. What’s true for oil palms is not necessarily true for crops grown in the United States.

The US already produces a great deal of biodiesel from domestically-grown soybeans. There are some decent arguments to be made about how the international commodity price of soybeans is correlated to destruction of the Brazilian rainforest. But correlation isn’t the same as causation, and you’d first have to prove that the use of soybeans as a biodiesel feedstock is significantly raising prices on the international scene. It’s worth thinking deeply about, but it’s hard to tease out the details of such a complex issue (see Myth #23 for more).

Don’t forget that biodiesel can be made from many other feedstocks, like Canola, algae, and waste-vegetable oil (WVO). Like any other crops, soy and rapeseed can be grown sustainably or unsustainably. In some areas, WVO can be a major feedstock for making biodiesel (but this might not last for long!). In Oregon, for example, Sequential Biofuels makes about a million gallons of fuel each year from WVO.

To address the overarching issue here, the National Biodiesel Board has set up a Sustainability Task Force to quantify the impacts of biodiesel production and use, and to develop sustainable industry practices. Most people really aren’t interested in importing biodiesel from parts of the world where it’s questionably produced.

Want to know where your biodiesel is coming from? Ask your distributor or the manager of the filling station! Since biodiesel is somewhat novel and people are usually interested, they can probably tell you where it’s coming from.

MYTH #17: No way can we grow enough biodiesel to make a difference.

FACT: Some advocates, like Josh Tickell, claim there’s an additional 60 million acres of fallow US farmland available for growing soybeans. If a large portion, like 40 million acres, was put into use, it could produce 2 billion more gallons of vegetable oil (Tickell’s Biodiesel America, p. 151).

While this is theoretically possible, would inject lots of money into the US economy, and would further revitalize the agricultural sector in this country, I don’t know if it’s possible. Most people don’t like making fuel out of a food crop (even if almost all soybeans are fed to cattle anyway).

Ultimately, if there’s any hope of biodiesel making a huge difference, like more than 10% of petro-diesel usage, it’s going to have to come from the commercial production of algae.

MYTH #18: Biodiesel exhaust smells bad.

FACT: Well, this one is personal preference. I have had people tell me that they think the smell is disgusting (as if they would prefer diesel exhaust). I think B100 exhaust smells great. Sort of like French fries (or whatever food was cooked in it) but somehow…cleaner, and not as potentially nauseating. But biodiesel blended with diesel sort of smells like burnt, dirty oil (thanks to the diesel exhaust). In any case, it’s hard not to smile when you recognize the smell of a car or truck running on renewable fuel.

MYTH #19: Biodiesel exhaust produces more harmful emissions than diesel.

FACT: Biodiesel is the only alternative fuel that has completed all the testing requirements of the Clean Air Act. Biodiesel contains oxygen and it burns more completely than diesel fuel, resulting in reduced emissions. All major pollutants are reduced dramatically in biodiesel exhaust (most of them at least 50% for B100), except one—nitrogen oxides (NOx)—and that’s only for blends over B20 (see my post on the subject).

The most common report when users switch to biodiesel is the noticeable decrease in diesel smoke (the black, sooty clouds). B20 reduces air toxics (the most damaging pollutants for human health) by 20-40%, while B100 reduces them by as much as 90%. Sulfur oxides and sulfates (major contributors to acid rain) are almost completely eliminated. The only caveat is that nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions can increase up to 10% with B100. If you would like to evaluate this for yourself, see the National Biodiesel Board’s emissions fact sheet.

New diesel technology like the Mercedes BlueTec and the 2009 Jetta TDI eliminate this problem by reducing NOx emissions by 80-90%.

All-in-all, biodiesel offers such a substantial reduction in emissions that it’s frequently used in sensitive areas like national parks and marine habitats. School districts all over the country have also turned to biodiesel as a way to reduce children’s’ exposure to toxic diesel exhaust.

MYTH #20: Diesel engines are more polluting than gasoline engines, so selling my car and buying a diesel is a bad idea.

FACT: It’s true that traditional diesel engines are 10-100x more polluting, in terms of soot/particulate matter, than their gasoline counterparts. But using biodiesel decreases both Carbon monoxide (CO) and CO2 emissions to levels below gasoline. Additionally, new model diesel engines are more efficient and have advanced catalytic converters that make them as clean as comparable gasoline models. When combined with biodiesel, new and old engines alike should offer significant emissions reductions.

For more information, see a timeline of all the new clean diesels that will be available in the US.

For a really sweet combination, check out the Mercedes 40 MPG diesel hybrid or VW’s 69.9 MPG diesel hybrid Golf.

While I’ve never actually seen a side-by-side comparison of B100 vs gasoline emissions in a comparable vehicles, I think it’s a safe bet that using biodiesel is better on some counts and worse on others.

No matter what, older diesels are currently in use and will continue to be used for the foreseeable future (due to long engine life). They’re also often the worst offenders in terms of air pollution. Switching these vehicles to biodiesel blends still provides tangible benefits.

MYTH #21: If I wanted to use biodiesel, there’s no way can I find a diesel to drive.

FACT: Yes, you can. I’ve written a guide to address this question. See Biodiesel Guide: 7 Steps to Buying a Diesel.

MYTH #22: Biodiesel is only used by crazy hippies and Willie Nelson.

FACT: Tell that to the US military, especially the US Navy (which is the largest single user of biodiesel), the National Parks Service, Postal Service, NASA, municipalities across the country, and more than 130 school districts and universities.

Addendum: MYTH (Or Fact?) #23: Biodiesel is Raising Food Prices

Ok, you got me. This list was only supposed to have 22 Myths, but I thought of one more that’s relatively important. Hit the link above for more…

That’s it!

Want to learn more? Biodiesel resources available at Gas 2.0:

If you choose to use biodiesel, this should be enough to get you started. Clearly, I can’t cover every issue in this post, but don’t stop here. Take a look at the following resources for more information:

Studies cited in the post:

(1) Environmental, economic, and energetic costs and benefits of biodiesel and ethanol biofuels

Jason Hill, Erik Nelson, David Tilman, Stephen Polasky, and Douglas Tiffany. PNAS published July 12, 2006, 10.1073/pnas.0604600103

(2) A Life Cycle Inventory of Biodiesel and Petroleum Diesel for Use in an Urban Bus. Sheehan et al. May 1998. NREL/SR-580-24089.

Did I forget something? Feel free to add your comments below.

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About the Author

In a past life, Clayton was a professional blogger and editor of Gas 2.0, Important Media’s blog covering the future of sustainable transportation. He was also the Managing Editor for GO Media, the predecessor to Important Media.



  • http://azsustainably.com jamest

    I think it’s time to stop the myth that biodiesel smells like french fries. I’ve ran virgin and wvo biodiesel and smelled plenty of other cars running bio and it has never smelled like fries. No one I know that runs bio thinks it smells like french fries. It doesn’t smell bad at all, but not anything like fries. :)

  • http://azsustainably.com jamest

    I think it’s time to stop the myth that biodiesel smells like french fries. I’ve ran virgin and wvo biodiesel and smelled plenty of other cars running bio and it has never smelled like fries. No one I know that runs bio thinks it smells like french fries. It doesn’t smell bad at all, but not anything like fries. :)

  • http://azsustainably.com jamest

    Great Article btw. Good info. :)

  • http://azsustainably.com jamest

    Great Article btw. Good info. :)

  • http://gas2.org Clayton B. Cornell

    Naw, I agree jamest, I never really thought it smelled like French fries either. Its cleaner and less greasy smelling that that. Definitely a distinct smell and wish I could figure out how to describe it better.

    I do think the exhaust of biodiesel mixed with diesel smells much worse than biodiesel alone, something about burning petroleum…

  • http://gas2.org Clayton B. Cornell

    Naw, I agree jamest, I never really thought it smelled like French fries either. Its cleaner and less greasy smelling that that. Definitely a distinct smell and wish I could figure out how to describe it better.

    I do think the exhaust of biodiesel mixed with diesel smells much worse than biodiesel alone, something about burning petroleum…

  • http://gas2.org Clayton B. Cornell

    Hi Everyone,

    I started a poll on the GreenOptions Forums:

    http://discuss.greenoptions.com/viewtopic.php?f=39&t=488&start=0

    If you want to add your biodiesel use information, vote!

  • http://gas2.org Clayton B. Cornell

    Hi Everyone,

    I started a poll on the GreenOptions Forums:

    http://discuss.greenoptions.com/viewtopic.php?f=39&t=488&start=0

    If you want to add your biodiesel use information, vote!

  • http://gas2.org Clayton B. Cornell

    Hi Everyone,

    I started a poll on the GreenOptions Forums:

    http://discuss.greenoptions.com/viewtopic.php?f=39&t=488&start=0

    If you want to add your biodiesel use information, vote!

  • http://gas2.org Clayton B. Cornell

    Hi Everyone,

    I started a poll on the GreenOptions Forums:

    http://discuss.greenoptions.com/viewtopic.php?f=39&t=488&start=0

    If you want to add your biodiesel use information, vote!

  • http://www.mpgomatic.com mpgomatic

    Well done, Clayton! There’s so much FUD floating around … and this blows it all away. With pricing the way it is, the numbers add up with Biodiesel … right now.

    Amazing as it may seem, I just spent hours online, looking for a place to buy biodiesel at the pump here in the Garden State, to no avail. A bunch of 55 gallon drums and something (diesel-powered) to haul them with are on my to-do list.

  • http://www.mpgomatic.com mpgomatic

    Well done, Clayton! There’s so much FUD floating around … and this blows it all away. With pricing the way it is, the numbers add up with Biodiesel … right now.

    Amazing as it may seem, I just spent hours online, looking for a place to buy biodiesel at the pump here in the Garden State, to no avail. A bunch of 55 gallon drums and something (diesel-powered) to haul them with are on my to-do list.

  • http://gas2.org Clayton B. Cornell

    @mpgomatic – Did you check out the resources in this post?:

    http://gas2.org/2008/02/25/6-ways-to-find-and-use-biodiesel-anywhere-part-i/

    I guess if you can’t find anything on Biodiesel.org’s maps, or NearBio.com, retail biodiesel might not be available. You might have to jump over into PA!

    But I would wager someone in your area is making biodiesel. Have you tried to find a coop or considered making your own fuel?

  • http://gas2.org Clayton B. Cornell

    @mpgomatic – Did you check out the resources in this post?:

    http://gas2.org/2008/02/25/6-ways-to-find-and-use-biodiesel-anywhere-part-i/

    I guess if you can’t find anything on Biodiesel.org’s maps, or NearBio.com, retail biodiesel might not be available. You might have to jump over into PA!

    But I would wager someone in your area is making biodiesel. Have you tried to find a coop or considered making your own fuel?

  • http://gas2.org Clayton B. Cornell

    @mpgomatic – Did you check out the resources in this post?:

    http://gas2.org/2008/02/25/6-ways-to-find-and-use-biodiesel-anywhere-part-i/

    I guess if you can’t find anything on Biodiesel.org’s maps, or NearBio.com, retail biodiesel might not be available. You might have to jump over into PA!

    But I would wager someone in your area is making biodiesel. Have you tried to find a coop or considered making your own fuel?

  • andris skuja

    Excellent overview of the issues. Informative and hard-hitting.

  • andris skuja

    Excellent overview of the issues. Informative and hard-hitting.

  • andris skuja

    Excellent overview of the issues. Informative and hard-hitting.

  • Brittan

    To give evidence that biodiesel is beneficial may be possible, as you have just shown.

    You are sadly mistaken, however, if you feel it is the answer to our problems.

    Algae biofuel is the only possibility; please don’t support plant biofuels, the processes involved in growing, processing, distributing, and disposing are sooo costly in every way. Do not turn a blind eye to this fact.

  • Brittan

    To give evidence that biodiesel is beneficial may be possible, as you have just shown.

    You are sadly mistaken, however, if you feel it is the answer to our problems.

    Algae biofuel is the only possibility; please don’t support plant biofuels, the processes involved in growing, processing, distributing, and disposing are sooo costly in every way. Do not turn a blind eye to this fact.

  • http://www.mpgomatic.com mpgomatic

    Clayton – Yep! I’ve spent a good bit of time combing biodiesel.org … there are no retail pumps in Jersey, only distributors (one that’s nearby) and refineries … most likely for “splash and dash” export.

    Trying the D-I-Y route might be a fun experiment, but can’t see having the time to do that on a regular basis.

    The 6-Ways post is a keeper!

    One of these days I’ll take a ride with a truck and a bunch of milk jugs, er … make that a 55 gallon drum … ;)

  • http://www.mpgomatic.com mpgomatic

    Clayton – Yep! I’ve spent a good bit of time combing biodiesel.org … there are no retail pumps in Jersey, only distributors (one that’s nearby) and refineries … most likely for “splash and dash” export.

    Trying the D-I-Y route might be a fun experiment, but can’t see having the time to do that on a regular basis.

    The 6-Ways post is a keeper!

    One of these days I’ll take a ride with a truck and a bunch of milk jugs, er … make that a 55 gallon drum … ;)

  • Paul

    There are several companies that develop biofuels in the greener way without disrupting the food cycle and deforestation. Check Sbiofuel.com

    I also think products such as biobutanol should be addressed as it is a better source than that of bioethanol due to its larger carbon chain and higher stability. Bioethanol requires a new infrastructure in most parts of the world due to its absorption of water. Biobutanol can use the existing pipeline – of course it should be derived from sources that do not negatively impact the environment.

  • Paul

    There are several companies that develop biofuels in the greener way without disrupting the food cycle and deforestation. Check Sbiofuel.com

    I also think products such as biobutanol should be addressed as it is a better source than that of bioethanol due to its larger carbon chain and higher stability. Bioethanol requires a new infrastructure in most parts of the world due to its absorption of water. Biobutanol can use the existing pipeline – of course it should be derived from sources that do not negatively impact the environment.

  • David Rochlin

    This piece is really directed at folks planning to use commercially produced biodiesel. A lot of people out there are making their own, in barrels and old clothes washing machines. If you are making your own, then quality control might be a real problem. Homemade batches of biodiesel will often only last a month or two, because they are not usually treated with preservatives. Home brewers often can be identified by their conspicuous lack of eyebrows…

  • David Rochlin

    This piece is really directed at folks planning to use commercially produced biodiesel. A lot of people out there are making their own, in barrels and old clothes washing machines. If you are making your own, then quality control might be a real problem. Homemade batches of biodiesel will often only last a month or two, because they are not usually treated with preservatives. Home brewers often can be identified by their conspicuous lack of eyebrows…

  • http://biodieselcommunity.org Maud

    What a fantastic myth-buster, Clayton! I’m going to take it with me to the Earth Day Festival where I will be working the St. Louis Biofuels Club booth. I will also refer to it when I do a presentation called “Biofuels: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.”

    I’ve been making my own biodiesel since 2004 and haven’t been to a gas station since 2005. It’s definitely a lifestyle change, but it sure makes you feel good to become unaware of gas stations. I never know what the fuel prices are until someone else complains about them.

    One thing to enhance this page: the most up-to-date how-to information on making your own biodiesel can actually be found on http://biodieselcommunity.org. One site you list actually contain some out-of-date info. On BiodieselCommunity.org you will find concise, step-by-step instructions on how to make one liter test batches, how to titrate, how to build a water heater based Appleseed processor for under $500, how to wash your fuel, and much more! I hope you’ll add BiodieselCommunity.org (most up-to-date hobbyist site) to your list.

  • http://biodieselcommunity.org Maud

    What a fantastic myth-buster, Clayton! I’m going to take it with me to the Earth Day Festival where I will be working the St. Louis Biofuels Club booth. I will also refer to it when I do a presentation called “Biofuels: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.”

    I’ve been making my own biodiesel since 2004 and haven’t been to a gas station since 2005. It’s definitely a lifestyle change, but it sure makes you feel good to become unaware of gas stations. I never know what the fuel prices are until someone else complains about them.

    One thing to enhance this page: the most up-to-date how-to information on making your own biodiesel can actually be found on http://biodieselcommunity.org. One site you list actually contain some out-of-date info. On BiodieselCommunity.org you will find concise, step-by-step instructions on how to make one liter test batches, how to titrate, how to build a water heater based Appleseed processor for under $500, how to wash your fuel, and much more! I hope you’ll add BiodieselCommunity.org (most up-to-date hobbyist site) to your list.

  • Big Dave

    The flavour is not relevant. What matters is the increase in fuel cost. It must be driven higher else America will not address the core issues.

  • Big Dave

    The flavour is not relevant. What matters is the increase in fuel cost. It must be driven higher else America will not address the core issues.

  • RealMonster

    Check out the BMW 123d as well. High 40s MPG in a sports car. The European markets get all the good cars. :/

  • RealMonster

    Check out the BMW 123d as well. High 40s MPG in a sports car. The European markets get all the good cars. :/

  • Fred Montier

    MYTH #16: Biodiesel causes deforestation

    Hi, i’m from Brazil and i have read a lot of misleading about brazilian’s biodiesel and deforestation. First of all, the rain forest climate its not good for plantations , guess what ? It rains a lot ! Actually the deforestation main causes are two: cattle (meat) and lumber for export.

    The biodiesel production here is really insignificant and recently the government has introduced a mixture in regular diesel by 2% of biodiesel. This is just to help small producers in the most poor part of the country at the other side, about 2 thousand miles away from the rain forest.

    The biodiesel productions is actually made in the northeast and the rain forest is at the northwest. Is wrong as talking about New York placing in California weather.

    About sugarcane your’re right cause the majority of the new vehicles are flex fuel (gas/ethanol in any mixture). And in the northeast you can see plantations that extends several miles across. Again, vary far away from the rain forest.

    But if you eat brazilian meat or you have a house made of brazilian lumber, you’re guilty for causing deforestation !!!

  • Fred Montier

    MYTH #16: Biodiesel causes deforestation

    Hi, i’m from Brazil and i have read a lot of misleading about brazilian’s biodiesel and deforestation. First of all, the rain forest climate its not good for plantations , guess what ? It rains a lot ! Actually the deforestation main causes are two: cattle (meat) and lumber for export.

    The biodiesel production here is really insignificant and recently the government has introduced a mixture in regular diesel by 2% of biodiesel. This is just to help small producers in the most poor part of the country at the other side, about 2 thousand miles away from the rain forest.

    The biodiesel productions is actually made in the northeast and the rain forest is at the northwest. Is wrong as talking about New York placing in California weather.

    About sugarcane your’re right cause the majority of the new vehicles are flex fuel (gas/ethanol in any mixture). And in the northeast you can see plantations that extends several miles across. Again, vary far away from the rain forest.

    But if you eat brazilian meat or you have a house made of brazilian lumber, you’re guilty for causing deforestation !!!

  • Nathan

    Add another auto maker: Ford

    I have a 2008 Ford F-450 (I tow heavy and actually need its towing and payload capability) and the manual for the 6.4L engine (made by Navistar/International, an option for any F-250/F-350/F-450/F-550 SuperDuty truck) specifically says B5 max – and any use of biodiesel automatically puts you into the severe service category with its associated costs.

    The 2008 6.4L Powerstroke Diesel Launch overview put out by Ford’s Service Engineering Operations expands on this a bit and says to use biodiesel “chemically converted from vegetable oils or animal fats (for example, soy bean)”.

    “Do not use: Raw vegetable oils/animal fats, cooking oil or recycled greases, as it is unacceptable (i.e. gels/gums up even at high temperatures)”

    See http://www.thedieselstop.com for more discussions on this topic.

    See http://www.forddoctorsdts.com/bulletins/20086.4LOverviewLight.ppt

    for the powerpoint slides detailing the above the above.

    —-

    As for Cummins engines, see

    http://www.everytime.cummins.com/every/customer/faq_biodiesel.jsp

    which says B20 max.

    —-

    Hope this helps…

  • Nathan

    Add another auto maker: Ford

    I have a 2008 Ford F-450 (I tow heavy and actually need its towing and payload capability) and the manual for the 6.4L engine (made by Navistar/International, an option for any F-250/F-350/F-450/F-550 SuperDuty truck) specifically says B5 max – and any use of biodiesel automatically puts you into the severe service category with its associated costs.

    The 2008 6.4L Powerstroke Diesel Launch overview put out by Ford’s Service Engineering Operations expands on this a bit and says to use biodiesel “chemically converted from vegetable oils or animal fats (for example, soy bean)”.

    “Do not use: Raw vegetable oils/animal fats, cooking oil or recycled greases, as it is unacceptable (i.e. gels/gums up even at high temperatures)”

    See http://www.thedieselstop.com for more discussions on this topic.

    See http://www.forddoctorsdts.com/bulletins/20086.4LOverviewLight.ppt

    for the powerpoint slides detailing the above the above.

    —-

    As for Cummins engines, see

    http://www.everytime.cummins.com/every/customer/faq_biodiesel.jsp

    which says B20 max.

    —-

    Hope this helps…

  • Perpetual motion

    WHOA WHOA WHOA

    Do not EVER say that you can get more energy out of something than you put into it. There are a lot of people in the world who don’t have a firm grasp of physics, and will take this idea and run with it.

    Biodiesel is a way of capturing the SUN’S ENERGY in a compact, transportable form. It’s a way of storing the sun’s energy, and releases more of the sun’s energy when burned than it takes to grow it.

  • Perpetual motion

    WHOA WHOA WHOA

    Do not EVER say that you can get more energy out of something than you put into it. There are a lot of people in the world who don’t have a firm grasp of physics, and will take this idea and run with it.

    Biodiesel is a way of capturing the SUN’S ENERGY in a compact, transportable form. It’s a way of storing the sun’s energy, and releases more of the sun’s energy when burned than it takes to grow it.

  • grammarnazi

    Haha. First, he tries to differentiate between ethanol and biodiesel in myth #1, and then he ends up using biodiesel to desribe ethanol in myth #2. Hilarious.

  • grammarnazi

    Haha. First, he tries to differentiate between ethanol and biodiesel in myth #1, and then he ends up using biodiesel to desribe ethanol in myth #2. Hilarious.

  • myron

    I intend to run my smart car on the stuff soon.

  • myron

    I intend to run my smart car on the stuff soon.

  • Vorlon

    You have missed the biggest single factor when considering biodiesel as an alternative fuel, that is it has dramatically effected the price of grain. The world food organisation now stuggles to pay for the primary stapples to keep people alive and for what; so you can drive your car on environmentally friendly fuel, better we stick with oil and have food on the table until a better alternative is found.

  • Vorlon

    You have missed the biggest single factor when considering biodiesel as an alternative fuel, that is it has dramatically effected the price of grain. The world food organisation now stuggles to pay for the primary stapples to keep people alive and for what; so you can drive your car on environmentally friendly fuel, better we stick with oil and have food on the table until a better alternative is found.

  • DJS4000

    hi folks,

    nice article. but be careful with biodiesel. there has been a lof of discussing going on on this subject over the last years here in germany. as you may know, the percentage of diesel-powered cars here is about 50 percent. people have tried to use even cheaper fuels than diesel in their respective cars. most diesel engines will even take standard vegetable oil without any problems. BUT! make sure your engine manufacturer specifically clears your engine for the use with biodiesel. the problem is that biodiesel is a bit more corrosive and may wear seals and rubber hoses. synthetic motor oil is also known to clog faster if used in combination with biodiesel. but i do not want to scare you, biodiesel is an excellent and cheap alternative and will work flawlessly in almost any car with only minimal increase in fuel consumption.

    regards from hamburg

    jan

    PS: despite your point about not smelling any difference…well, you do. some buses here use 100% biodiesel, and, well…when driving behind them they smell like a burgerking kitchen :)

  • DJS4000

    hi folks,

    nice article. but be careful with biodiesel. there has been a lof of discussing going on on this subject over the last years here in germany. as you may know, the percentage of diesel-powered cars here is about 50 percent. people have tried to use even cheaper fuels than diesel in their respective cars. most diesel engines will even take standard vegetable oil without any problems. BUT! make sure your engine manufacturer specifically clears your engine for the use with biodiesel. the problem is that biodiesel is a bit more corrosive and may wear seals and rubber hoses. synthetic motor oil is also known to clog faster if used in combination with biodiesel. but i do not want to scare you, biodiesel is an excellent and cheap alternative and will work flawlessly in almost any car with only minimal increase in fuel consumption.

    regards from hamburg

    jan

    PS: despite your point about not smelling any difference…well, you do. some buses here use 100% biodiesel, and, well…when driving behind them they smell like a burgerking kitchen :)

  • http://www.nerys.com/ Nerys

    I am doing this with voice dictation so please excuse grammatical and spelling errors my fingers hurt from typing too much tonight

    first ethanol sucks, ever since they replaced ethanol and/or gasoline at 10% I lost almost 15% of my fuel economy. I take rigorous records of my fuel economy on all my vehicles so that I can adjust my driving to maximize fuel efficiency. One day I noticed a sudden drop in my fuel economy and couldn’t figure out why it was happening until I noticed the sign on the gas pump said 10% ethanol. This was back when they first started doing this I found a gas station that was not using ethanol and my fuel economy went back to the way it was I calculated that I lost 14.5% of my fuel economy with the addition of ethanol.

    Let’s do the math here 14.5% loss -10% reduction in foreign fuel means I am now buying 4.5% more gasoline than I was before. ethanol sucks.

    The other problem that we have is that there is not enough arable and in order for us to use biofuels although they are developing new ways of making it. It still retains the original problem, I have to go with pump and pay someone for my fuel. The same problem persists control the fuel control the economy control the population, but there is a solution contrary to your myth number three or four, was it that there is no solution to our petroleum addiction. We have had the solution for quite a while now they just refuse to give it to us. It’s called electric cars.

    Now I am not talking about the sucky lead acid-base electric cars that are heavy expensive do not last very long and are dangerous in an accident and get crappy range of about 35 to 45 miles I am talking about NIMH battery powered cars.

    These cars were developed by General Motors over 10 years ago they were phenomenal. Even this first prototype car cost less than $80,000 to build the battery pack was only $4500 at a range of over 100 miles for some people hitting 150 190 miles on top of that the car was virtually maintenance free and virtually everlasting with aluminum frame plastic panels and everlasting battery.

    No the battery is not actually everlasting they were rated to last about 250,000 miles before Less than 80% of the battery power was left inside. They currently have RAV4’s EVs with the original NIMH E95 batteries in them and over 150,000 miles and they still have over 98% of there battery life left nearly 10 years later.

    Well, when GM crushed these cars literally with a junkyard car crusher every single one of them. They sold the Ovonics battery pack and too Texaco and a week later waiting in the winds Chevron bought Texaco and promptly crushed the batteries. They did this by spinning off the batteries into a new company ECD ebasys and retaining veto privileges over the licensing of the batteries they straight up refused to license the batteries to anybody who wants to build electric cars except to a major automaker and no major automaker wants to build an electric car and also refuse to license them for any purpose for which they could be retrofitted to electric cars.

    Quite literally the only thing stopping us from having electric cars right now is this large-format nickel metal hydride patent. Chevron is holding it refusing to license it. Sadly this is a controlling patent meaning it covers enough criteria of a large-format nickel metal hybrid battery to prevent anybody else from making a similar battery without violating the patent. This patent will not expire until 2015

    Let me dispel some more myths about electric cars.

    Electric cars will not increase the load on the electric grid, they will actually decrease the load on the electric grid. It takes one dollars worth of electricity to go 100 miles in your average two to four person electric car. The only one for comparison is the GM EV1 and this is actual recorded data from customers using the EV1.

    In a highly efficient European can’t buy here in the US TDI diesel car you can go 50 miles a gallon it’s about the same as the Prius, here in the US typically, you need 5 gallon since we average 20 miles per gallon.

    I guarantee you that it takes more electricity to get 5 gallons of gasoline from the refinery to your gas tank than it does to get one dollars worth of electricity in your electric car. This means the overall load on the electric grid will actually go down. I would even wager that 2 gallons of gasoline requires more electricity than one dollar

    Second the electric cars may increase pollution because your just transferring the pollution from the tailpipe to the power plants myth needs to be dispelled.

    Electric cars are a minimum six times more efficient than gasoline powered cars at using their energy to motivate the car. This means even if 100% of our power plants were coal-based and only 54% are coal burners we would reduce emissions to 1/6th what they are now. And this completely ignores alternative power sources, the other 46% of our power plants that are not coal burners and the potential for solar power to supplement the power grid.

    Nano solar is a company developing solar panels at a dollar a watt, Once they sell to consumers, you could put a $1000 panel on your roof. A $1600 grid interconnect in your garage sell the electricity back to the utility and your car now costs nothing to do drive, that thousand dollar panel will generate more electricity each month than a typical American will use in driving to charg their electric car. This means the cars now, after initial purchase, are 100% free to drive and 100% pollution free.

    Consider this, UPS paid one million dollars to a software engineering firm to design an application to route their drivers to avoid left turns. There were several reasons for this one they take longer two they are safer, and most importantly, it uses less gasoline.

    For you and me, this is insignificant for a shipping company that delivers packages all over the planet all over the country or the states and cities with lots and lots of gasoline being used. This can be quite lot.

    How significant? in the first year of utilizing the software they save over $3 million in gasoline!

    No, that is not a typo that is not a voice-recognition glitch over $3 million in gasoline just by reducing the number of left turns they made.

    Just think for a moment, if they can save $3 million, reducing the number of left turns they make how much can they save if they used no gasoline whatsoever.

    Trucking is perfectly ideal for electric vehicles plenty of space for batteries and usually electric vehicles using proper battery technology such as nickel metal hydride will end up being lighter than the vehicle with gasoline. gasoline weighs over 6 pounds per gallon diesel weighs almost 7 pounds per gallon do the math.

    The trickle down effect of the electric car economy is mind blowing pundits say that it will destroy our economy that’s only partially correct. Most people do not realize they’re actually multiple economies in operation in this country.

    You have the economy of the top 2% of the adult population and then at the other end you have the economy of the other 90% of us.

    Yes, electric cars will destroy the economy… of the top 2% completely obliterate it in fact as $100 a barrel oil would be worthless. Almost overnight.

    However on the other hand, the economy of the other 90% of us you know most of us the people who reside in this country would blossom it would be a new golden age consider $3 million avoiding left turns. How much could all our corporations and businesses and workers save if we used no gasoline even without the solar addition.

    Business would explode costs would be reduced by such a large margin that businesses could expand jobs would increase I could literally see an electric car economy eliminating unemployment altogether.

    Unless you consider the top 2% going out of business to be part of our economy.

    Other myths, I don’t want to drive a golf cart an electric car properly designed is faster with higher top speed and better acceleration than even a remotely equivalent gas car. In fact a well-designed electric car is better and faster than most super cars.

    Range, range is really not an issue. If you consider that most of us just need a car to drive back and forth to work. You just have two cars for now I drive 54 miles each way to work and back. A car with a 75 mile range is all I need I currently spend over $4000 a year in gasoline having a second car an electric car for work, would reduce my gasoline consumption by $3500 a year the car would be free in three years.

    How would it be free in three years? There is no reason for a properly designed a electric car to cost more than $10,000. Not only are the cars extraordinarily cheap to produce because there so utterly and completely simple in design, but they are virtually maintenance free and virtually everlasting compared to today’s cars.

    Consider that your going from hundreds of moving parts in a gasoline engine and transmission to precisely 1 moving part in an electric drivetrain. The only moving part in an electric drivetrain is the actual electric motor itself those motors are so big so heavy and so well-built that they are probably never going to break down some will of course it’s statistically inevitable, but by and large the motor will outlast you and probably outlast your kids.

    Mass: its important to have your car as light as possible, the cars will be built lighter you will start seeing racecar framed aluminum cars built which will be safer than an equivalent gas car. You’ll also see plastic panels, these components don’t corrode they don’t rust that do not wear out. They are virtually maintenance free.

    Sure you have the normal stuff brakes Bearings wheels tires wiper blades, things of that nature, but the expensive stuff the stuff you can’t do yourself that stuff goes away. there simply is little to repair. Go to your local hobby shop and asked to look inside of the typical average electric RC car you’re going to see for 5 primary components you have the receiver the speed control. The charger. The battery and the electric motor. This scales up all the way to 18 wheeler trucks it works the same way you have a charger battery speed control electric motor and in our case, a receiver is the driver. That’s it. There’s nothing more to electric car it really is that simple.

    We currently make cars that are under $8,000 brand-new. Take out the expensive gasoline engine transmission replace it with a veritably cheap in comparison electric motor and battery pack. How could the car cost more?, it would cost less!. overall your talking about a very simple, very cheap to mass produce them, in prototype form their expensive, but as with other electronic components such as LEDs once you scale up production they become very cheap per unit.

    GM says the EV1 cost $80,000 to make. They were prototypes they were virtually hand made typically in manufacturing corners prototype are 10 to 1 ratio with fully mass-produced products. This means a cost $80,000 to build the prototype would cost about $8,000 to build the actual production car and this ignores the fact that this is electronics so the ratio is even higher because the solid-state components as you ramp up production its far better than 10 to one I ould easily see that if we had not destroyed the EV1 10 years ago, we would be driving $5,000 500 mile range electric cars today

    You want more range add more batteries. Big deal. The batteries are cheap GM’s cost to build these battery packs was $4500 10 years ago. So for $9,000 you get a 250+ mile range battery pack

    The last myth to dispel is charge time. Well that depends on your charger now doesn’t it. compare how long it takes to charge an electric car, 6 to 10 hours with how long will it take for you to manufacturer 5 gallons of gasoline in your backyard. You’re making your own fuel!. It’s going to cost money, but with electricity, if you don’t need to do a quick. It’s very cheap.

    Which is where the gas station comes in instead of making your own fuel you can go to the gas station and purchase it. So they’ll install electric fuel pumps, they’ll have the high amp capacity chargers and can charge up your battery in 10 minutes even as little as five minutes about as long as it takes to feel your gas tank.

    And when you’re going home for the night, why not take advantage of the make your own fuel at home your car will be fully charged by morning and cost you about two bucks.

    Electric cars are quite literally, the answer to our problem if the car cost you less than $10,000 it would pay for itself in three years in fuel savings. I think you can afford have a second card at that price. I know I could take a loan or sell something whatever is likely to make sure I got the car in 10 years time R&D dollars invested money would be spent and we would have thousand mile 2000 mile range electric cars it’s just a matter of battery density and technology will come look what happened with GM. We had lead acid batteries in a few years when a big automaker dumps some real R&D dollars they come out with the large format nickel metal hybrid battery.

    Imagine what would happen if more car manufacturers dumped R&D dollars into the electric cars imagine what would have happened if they’d continue developing it its not a problem. It just takes time.

    We have what we need for now, we have enough technology now with the a nick metal hybrid battery to revolutionize our economy as a know it.

    All we need is a president with enough balls and enough concern for the actual citizens of this country to use eminent domain for the purpose for which it was intended to take the patent away from Chevron and put into the public domain, for they are not using this patent and to protect their right to sell the product they use in this patent as a bludgeon to prevent anybody else from making the product to retain the current profits from their current products the opposite of the purpose of the patent system.

    That’s the answer to our petroleum addiction

  • http://www.nerys.com/ Nerys

    I am doing this with voice dictation so please excuse grammatical and spelling errors my fingers hurt from typing too much tonight

    first ethanol sucks, ever since they replaced ethanol and/or gasoline at 10% I lost almost 15% of my fuel economy. I take rigorous records of my fuel economy on all my vehicles so that I can adjust my driving to maximize fuel efficiency. One day I noticed a sudden drop in my fuel economy and couldn’t figure out why it was happening until I noticed the sign on the gas pump said 10% ethanol. This was back when they first started doing this I found a gas station that was not using ethanol and my fuel economy went back to the way it was I calculated that I lost 14.5% of my fuel economy with the addition of ethanol.

    Let’s do the math here 14.5% loss -10% reduction in foreign fuel means I am now buying 4.5% more gasoline than I was before. ethanol sucks.

    The other problem that we have is that there is not enough arable and in order for us to use biofuels although they are developing new ways of making it. It still retains the original problem, I have to go with pump and pay someone for my fuel. The same problem persists control the fuel control the economy control the population, but there is a solution contrary to your myth number three or four, was it that there is no solution to our petroleum addiction. We have had the solution for quite a while now they just refuse to give it to us. It’s called electric cars.

    Now I am not talking about the sucky lead acid-base electric cars that are heavy expensive do not last very long and are dangerous in an accident and get crappy range of about 35 to 45 miles I am talking about NIMH battery powered cars.

    These cars were developed by General Motors over 10 years ago they were phenomenal. Even this first prototype car cost less than $80,000 to build the battery pack was only $4500 at a range of over 100 miles for some people hitting 150 190 miles on top of that the car was virtually maintenance free and virtually everlasting with aluminum frame plastic panels and everlasting battery.

    No the battery is not actually everlasting they were rated to last about 250,000 miles before Less than 80% of the battery power was left inside. They currently have RAV4’s EVs with the original NIMH E95 batteries in them and over 150,000 miles and they still have over 98% of there battery life left nearly 10 years later.

    Well, when GM crushed these cars literally with a junkyard car crusher every single one of them. They sold the Ovonics battery pack and too Texaco and a week later waiting in the winds Chevron bought Texaco and promptly crushed the batteries. They did this by spinning off the batteries into a new company ECD ebasys and retaining veto privileges over the licensing of the batteries they straight up refused to license the batteries to anybody who wants to build electric cars except to a major automaker and no major automaker wants to build an electric car and also refuse to license them for any purpose for which they could be retrofitted to electric cars.

    Quite literally the only thing stopping us from having electric cars right now is this large-format nickel metal hydride patent. Chevron is holding it refusing to license it. Sadly this is a controlling patent meaning it covers enough criteria of a large-format nickel metal hybrid battery to prevent anybody else from making a similar battery without violating the patent. This patent will not expire until 2015

    Let me dispel some more myths about electric cars.

    Electric cars will not increase the load on the electric grid, they will actually decrease the load on the electric grid. It takes one dollars worth of electricity to go 100 miles in your average two to four person electric car. The only one for comparison is the GM EV1 and this is actual recorded data from customers using the EV1.

    In a highly efficient European can’t buy here in the US TDI diesel car you can go 50 miles a gallon it’s about the same as the Prius, here in the US typically, you need 5 gallon since we average 20 miles per gallon.

    I guarantee you that it takes more electricity to get 5 gallons of gasoline from the refinery to your gas tank than it does to get one dollars worth of electricity in your electric car. This means the overall load on the electric grid will actually go down. I would even wager that 2 gallons of gasoline requires more electricity than one dollar

    Second the electric cars may increase pollution because your just transferring the pollution from the tailpipe to the power plants myth needs to be dispelled.

    Electric cars are a minimum six times more efficient than gasoline powered cars at using their energy to motivate the car. This means even if 100% of our power plants were coal-based and only 54% are coal burners we would reduce emissions to 1/6th what they are now. And this completely ignores alternative power sources, the other 46% of our power plants that are not coal burners and the potential for solar power to supplement the power grid.

    Nano solar is a company developing solar panels at a dollar a watt, Once they sell to consumers, you could put a $1000 panel on your roof. A $1600 grid interconnect in your garage sell the electricity back to the utility and your car now costs nothing to do drive, that thousand dollar panel will generate more electricity each month than a typical American will use in driving to charg their electric car. This means the cars now, after initial purchase, are 100% free to drive and 100% pollution free.

    Consider this, UPS paid one million dollars to a software engineering firm to design an application to route their drivers to avoid left turns. There were several reasons for this one they take longer two they are safer, and most importantly, it uses less gasoline.

    For you and me, this is insignificant for a shipping company that delivers packages all over the planet all over the country or the states and cities with lots and lots of gasoline being used. This can be quite lot.

    How significant? in the first year of utilizing the software they save over $3 million in gasoline!

    No, that is not a typo that is not a voice-recognition glitch over $3 million in gasoline just by reducing the number of left turns they made.

    Just think for a moment, if they can save $3 million, reducing the number of left turns they make how much can they save if they used no gasoline whatsoever.

    Trucking is perfectly ideal for electric vehicles plenty of space for batteries and usually electric vehicles using proper battery technology such as nickel metal hydride will end up being lighter than the vehicle with gasoline. gasoline weighs over 6 pounds per gallon diesel weighs almost 7 pounds per gallon do the math.

    The trickle down effect of the electric car economy is mind blowing pundits say that it will destroy our economy that’s only partially correct. Most people do not realize they’re actually multiple economies in operation in this country.

    You have the economy of the top 2% of the adult population and then at the other end you have the economy of the other 90% of us.

    Yes, electric cars will destroy the economy… of the top 2% completely obliterate it in fact as $100 a barrel oil would be worthless. Almost overnight.

    However on the other hand, the economy of the other 90% of us you know most of us the people who reside in this country would blossom it would be a new golden age consider $3 million avoiding left turns. How much could all our corporations and businesses and workers save if we used no gasoline even without the solar addition.

    Business would explode costs would be reduced by such a large margin that businesses could expand jobs would increase I could literally see an electric car economy eliminating unemployment altogether.

    Unless you consider the top 2% going out of business to be part of our economy.

    Other myths, I don’t want to drive a golf cart an electric car properly designed is faster with higher top speed and better acceleration than even a remotely equivalent gas car. In fact a well-designed electric car is better and faster than most super cars.

    Range, range is really not an issue. If you consider that most of us just need a car to drive back and forth to work. You just have two cars for now I drive 54 miles each way to work and back. A car with a 75 mile range is all I need I currently spend over $4000 a year in gasoline having a second car an electric car for work, would reduce my gasoline consumption by $3500 a year the car would be free in three years.

    How would it be free in three years? There is no reason for a properly designed a electric car to cost more than $10,000. Not only are the cars extraordinarily cheap to produce because there so utterly and completely simple in design, but they are virtually maintenance free and virtually everlasting compared to today’s cars.

    Consider that your going from hundreds of moving parts in a gasoline engine and transmission to precisely 1 moving part in an electric drivetrain. The only moving part in an electric drivetrain is the actual electric motor itself those motors are so big so heavy and so well-built that they are probably never going to break down some will of course it’s statistically inevitable, but by and large the motor will outlast you and probably outlast your kids.

    Mass: its important to have your car as light as possible, the cars will be built lighter you will start seeing racecar framed aluminum cars built which will be safer than an equivalent gas car. You’ll also see plastic panels, these components don’t corrode they don’t rust that do not wear out. They are virtually maintenance free.

    Sure you have the normal stuff brakes Bearings wheels tires wiper blades, things of that nature, but the expensive stuff the stuff you can’t do yourself that stuff goes away. there simply is little to repair. Go to your local hobby shop and asked to look inside of the typical average electric RC car you’re going to see for 5 primary components you have the receiver the speed control. The charger. The battery and the electric motor. This scales up all the way to 18 wheeler trucks it works the same way you have a charger battery speed control electric motor and in our case, a receiver is the driver. That’s it. There’s nothing more to electric car it really is that simple.

    We currently make cars that are under $8,000 brand-new. Take out the expensive gasoline engine transmission replace it with a veritably cheap in comparison electric motor and battery pack. How could the car cost more?, it would cost less!. overall your talking about a very simple, very cheap to mass produce them, in prototype form their expensive, but as with other electronic components such as LEDs once you scale up production they become very cheap per unit.

    GM says the EV1 cost $80,000 to make. They were prototypes they were virtually hand made typically in manufacturing corners prototype are 10 to 1 ratio with fully mass-produced products. This means a cost $80,000 to build the prototype would cost about $8,000 to build the actual production car and this ignores the fact that this is electronics so the ratio is even higher because the solid-state components as you ramp up production its far better than 10 to one I ould easily see that if we had not destroyed the EV1 10 years ago, we would be driving $5,000 500 mile range electric cars today

    You want more range add more batteries. Big deal. The batteries are cheap GM’s cost to build these battery packs was $4500 10 years ago. So for $9,000 you get a 250+ mile range battery pack

    The last myth to dispel is charge time. Well that depends on your charger now doesn’t it. compare how long it takes to charge an electric car, 6 to 10 hours with how long will it take for you to manufacturer 5 gallons of gasoline in your backyard. You’re making your own fuel!. It’s going to cost money, but with electricity, if you don’t need to do a quick. It’s very cheap.

    Which is where the gas station comes in instead of making your own fuel you can go to the gas station and purchase it. So they’ll install electric fuel pumps, they’ll have the high amp capacity chargers and can charge up your battery in 10 minutes even as little as five minutes about as long as it takes to feel your gas tank.

    And when you’re going home for the night, why not take advantage of the make your own fuel at home your car will be fully charged by morning and cost you about two bucks.

    Electric cars are quite literally, the answer to our problem if the car cost you less than $10,000 it would pay for itself in three years in fuel savings. I think you can afford have a second card at that price. I know I could take a loan or sell something whatever is likely to make sure I got the car in 10 years time R&D dollars invested money would be spent and we would have thousand mile 2000 mile range electric cars it’s just a matter of battery density and technology will come look what happened with GM. We had lead acid batteries in a few years when a big automaker dumps some real R&D dollars they come out with the large format nickel metal hybrid battery.

    Imagine what would happen if more car manufacturers dumped R&D dollars into the electric cars imagine what would have happened if they’d continue developing it its not a problem. It just takes time.

    We have what we need for now, we have enough technology now with the a nick metal hybrid battery to revolutionize our economy as a know it.

    All we need is a president with enough balls and enough concern for the actual citizens of this country to use eminent domain for the purpose for which it was intended to take the patent away from Chevron and put into the public domain, for they are not using this patent and to protect their right to sell the product they use in this patent as a bludgeon to prevent anybody else from making the product to retain the current profits from their current products the opposite of the purpose of the patent system.

    That’s the answer to our petroleum addiction

  • pumpduse

    The reason that you shouldn’t use biodiesel in an audi and in fact any other VAG tdi pump-duse (pump-inyector) diesel vehicle is that the PD direct injection works at more than 2000 bars of pressure. Far more than all other diesels that use common rail or indirect injection systems.

    Biodiesel does not offer enough lubrication for the injectors, very expensive repair bill.

  • pumpduse

    The reason that you shouldn’t use biodiesel in an audi and in fact any other VAG tdi pump-duse (pump-inyector) diesel vehicle is that the PD direct injection works at more than 2000 bars of pressure. Far more than all other diesels that use common rail or indirect injection systems.

    Biodiesel does not offer enough lubrication for the injectors, very expensive repair bill.

  • Benjamin

    Nerys,

    You must be an idiot.

    A tank of gasoline contains more USABLE energy than an equivalent weight of batteries. I don’t care what kind. NIMH, Lead Acid, NiCad, whatever. None compare to the energy potential of a tank of gas.

    So there’s no way an electric vehicle will outperform a gasoline or “fuel based” vehicle. Sorry. Can’t be done.

    Moving on, Nano Solar’s $1/watt is PEAK POWER. EG: 1:00 in the afternoon in an area with no pollution. Not 24×7. Your $1,000 watt PV array will produce on average something more like 350 watts in most areas. If you think the average household will operate on 350 watts, INCLUDING THE CAR, you are sadly mistaken.

    Right now, I’m burning well over 350 watts just in lights and computers, (with CFL lights!) in my household, when I’m NOT running my washer, dryer, dishwasher, or central heat/air.

    I want whatever you’re smoking if you think that your $1000 to Nano-solar is going to solve much. Are you nuts?

    Now let’s talk charge time. As you say: Well that depends on your charger now doesn’t it.

    No, that depends on your batteries, which can only absorb so much power per hour. Average NiMH batteries take a minimum 4-6 hours to charge to full capacity.

    Yes, EV can be useful. But you paint this panacea that’s simply untrue. Personally, my bet is on Bio-Diesel. It has a power/weight ratio that matches (or beats) gasoline, and mixes seamlessly with ordinary diesel without having to replace… anything.

    You can use “green” fuel now, and still use fossil fuels when the green stuff is unavailable.

    You can have your EV. I want a diesel VW!

  • Benjamin

    Nerys,

    You must be an idiot.

    A tank of gasoline contains more USABLE energy than an equivalent weight of batteries. I don’t care what kind. NIMH, Lead Acid, NiCad, whatever. None compare to the energy potential of a tank of gas.

    So there’s no way an electric vehicle will outperform a gasoline or “fuel based” vehicle. Sorry. Can’t be done.

    Moving on, Nano Solar’s $1/watt is PEAK POWER. EG: 1:00 in the afternoon in an area with no pollution. Not 24×7. Your $1,000 watt PV array will produce on average something more like 350 watts in most areas. If you think the average household will operate on 350 watts, INCLUDING THE CAR, you are sadly mistaken.

    Right now, I’m burning well over 350 watts just in lights and computers, (with CFL lights!) in my household, when I’m NOT running my washer, dryer, dishwasher, or central heat/air.

    I want whatever you’re smoking if you think that your $1000 to Nano-solar is going to solve much. Are you nuts?

    Now let’s talk charge time. As you say: Well that depends on your charger now doesn’t it.

    No, that depends on your batteries, which can only absorb so much power per hour. Average NiMH batteries take a minimum 4-6 hours to charge to full capacity.

    Yes, EV can be useful. But you paint this panacea that’s simply untrue. Personally, my bet is on Bio-Diesel. It has a power/weight ratio that matches (or beats) gasoline, and mixes seamlessly with ordinary diesel without having to replace… anything.

    You can use “green” fuel now, and still use fossil fuels when the green stuff is unavailable.

    You can have your EV. I want a diesel VW!

  • tuksedara

    What ever mith that stated here.. for me biofuel or ethanol or green fuel is a lot more better than fossil fuel that make some country attack another country.. even they do plant oil palm or corn that have substantive negative impacts (like deforestation, waterway pollution), but they plant trees.. some country have done mass deforestation but they never plant anything, they pay other country for reducing CO2 emmision so that they can produce more CO2.. but have anyone question that?.. nobody dare ..

  • tuksedara

    What ever mith that stated here.. for me biofuel or ethanol or green fuel is a lot more better than fossil fuel that make some country attack another country.. even they do plant oil palm or corn that have substantive negative impacts (like deforestation, waterway pollution), but they plant trees.. some country have done mass deforestation but they never plant anything, they pay other country for reducing CO2 emmision so that they can produce more CO2.. but have anyone question that?.. nobody dare ..

  • Brock Lesnar

    Emissions are not the issue, efficiency is. More hype.

    No matter what fuel you choose, if it’s controlled by the ruling elite you can bet your bottom dollar the net societal effect will be negative. They won’t rest until it is.

    Want to help? Reduce your consumption. More efficient consumption is a myth.

  • Brock Lesnar

    Emissions are not the issue, efficiency is. More hype.

    No matter what fuel you choose, if it’s controlled by the ruling elite you can bet your bottom dollar the net societal effect will be negative. They won’t rest until it is.

    Want to help? Reduce your consumption. More efficient consumption is a myth.

  • Hadam

    Myth #14 is bogus. It is physically impossible to get more energy out of a fuel than you put into it. In fact, biodiesel is at best (when produced by algea) about 14% efficient at converting energy (solar, in this case) into energy stored in the fuel. And that doesn’t include transportation costs getting the fuel to the pumps and then on to your car.

  • Hadam

    Myth #14 is bogus. It is physically impossible to get more energy out of a fuel than you put into it. In fact, biodiesel is at best (when produced by algea) about 14% efficient at converting energy (solar, in this case) into energy stored in the fuel. And that doesn’t include transportation costs getting the fuel to the pumps and then on to your car.

  • Phil L.

    Very interesting article.

    But note that diesel vehicle availability is still a huge problem in the US.

    I’ve got three kids – all still in car seats. I have yet to see a diesel minivan or anything comparable that would make sense for a family. Is there *ANY* diesel vehicle available in the US with 3 LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) positions?

    I like what I see from Mercedes – but they’re far outside my budget range. VW tempts me now and again – but their gasoline models have a reputation for good design, but poor implementation that results in pricey maintenance. I hope their diesel models avoid this history. I was hoping the DCX merger would create a BlueTec Grand Caravan; it won’t happen now.

  • Phil L.

    Very interesting article.

    But note that diesel vehicle availability is still a huge problem in the US.

    I’ve got three kids – all still in car seats. I have yet to see a diesel minivan or anything comparable that would make sense for a family. Is there *ANY* diesel vehicle available in the US with 3 LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) positions?

    I like what I see from Mercedes – but they’re far outside my budget range. VW tempts me now and again – but their gasoline models have a reputation for good design, but poor implementation that results in pricey maintenance. I hope their diesel models avoid this history. I was hoping the DCX merger would create a BlueTec Grand Caravan; it won’t happen now.

  • alberto

    Nice posting. Regarding the issue of diesel gelling at low temperature, and easy fix is to remember to add 1/2 gallon of regular gasoline on a full tank (~10 gallons) of diesel when driving in cold conditions. I grew up in northern Italy, where winters are cold, and my father always drove Diesel cars. He taught me the trick and he never had a problem. This underline a fundamental difference between Diesel and Gas engines. The latter are very finicky re what you put in the tank. The former can take a lot of “abuse”…

  • alberto

    Nice posting. Regarding the issue of diesel gelling at low temperature, and easy fix is to remember to add 1/2 gallon of regular gasoline on a full tank (~10 gallons) of diesel when driving in cold conditions. I grew up in northern Italy, where winters are cold, and my father always drove Diesel cars. He taught me the trick and he never had a problem. This underline a fundamental difference between Diesel and Gas engines. The latter are very finicky re what you put in the tank. The former can take a lot of “abuse”…

  • Fred Montier

    grammarnazi: I think you should read it again. The first is about showing that ethanol and biodiesel are different things. The second shows different economic impacts and in that sense, they have different impact to the environment and the whole system chain.

    read it…

  • Fred Montier

    grammarnazi: I think you should read it again. The first is about showing that ethanol and biodiesel are different things. The second shows different economic impacts and in that sense, they have different impact to the environment and the whole system chain.

    read it…

  • larry

    Ok! People its time you got the facts straight about oil. When you were still learning to add the oil companies were headed down this route, we were boxing US made equipment and shipping it to China & Russia via Canada in 1968. The oil sands in Canada have enough reserves to supply oil for 300 hundred years. TRW was running a Ford on hydrogen on a test track in Edmonton, Alberta in 1983. The politician regardless of party are making money on this as well as corporate America. Check out Equiva or Equilon on the web. You will find that one company controls over 3600 stations and 3,600,000 gallons a day of fuel distribution. Or just keep buying the TV BS, remember big oil spends 10 million in TV advertising a week.

  • larry

    Ok! People its time you got the facts straight about oil. When you were still learning to add the oil companies were headed down this route, we were boxing US made equipment and shipping it to China & Russia via Canada in 1968. The oil sands in Canada have enough reserves to supply oil for 300 hundred years. TRW was running a Ford on hydrogen on a test track in Edmonton, Alberta in 1983. The politician regardless of party are making money on this as well as corporate America. Check out Equiva or Equilon on the web. You will find that one company controls over 3600 stations and 3,600,000 gallons a day of fuel distribution. Or just keep buying the TV BS, remember big oil spends 10 million in TV advertising a week.

  • http://cozybeehive.blogspot.com Ron

    Great post. Two things though :

    1. Myth # 14 You said the vast majority of literature says theres an energy balance but the internet is filled with stuff about the joint Cornell-Berkeley study on how biodiesel is a net energy loser. Seems like bad press hangs high over optimism.

    2. Myth 9 “It’s true that biodiesel clouds up (starts to freeze) at higher temperatures when compared to regular diesel, and therefore it’s important to blend biodiesel with diesel fuel in the winter (depending on your climate).”

    You meant to say ‘lower temperatures’ I believe?

  • http://cozybeehive.blogspot.com Ron

    Great post. Two things though :

    1. Myth # 14 You said the vast majority of literature says theres an energy balance but the internet is filled with stuff about the joint Cornell-Berkeley study on how biodiesel is a net energy loser. Seems like bad press hangs high over optimism.

    2. Myth 9 “It’s true that biodiesel clouds up (starts to freeze) at higher temperatures when compared to regular diesel, and therefore it’s important to blend biodiesel with diesel fuel in the winter (depending on your climate).”

    You meant to say ‘lower temperatures’ I believe?

  • Robert Kirsten

    Great post. Thanks for the info.

  • Robert Kirsten

    Great post. Thanks for the info.

  • Kirk Leonard

    Clayton,

    Super good work, thanks.

    A correction, though. Cellulosic ethanol is happening quietly already. Google this and you will see:

    Cellulosic Ethanol a Reality First American Plant in Production.

    Kirk

  • Kirk Leonard

    Clayton,

    Super good work, thanks.

    A correction, though. Cellulosic ethanol is happening quietly already. Google this and you will see:

    Cellulosic Ethanol a Reality First American Plant in Production.

    Kirk

    • Nicole Collins

      Hi Kirk,

      I am desperately trying to make contact with you to request permission to republish an article you wrote in 2009. If you could please get in touch with me as soon as possible, I would be extremely grateful.

      Thank you,
      Nicole Collins
      Independent Contractor

  • Paul the chemist

    OOOPS There is a mistake in fact #3. One gallon of fuel produces a lot more than 6# of CO2. Please take a closer look at the link at the end of #3.

    CO2 emissions from a gallon of gasoline = 2,421 grams x 0.99 x (44/12) = 8,788 grams = 8.8 kg/gallon = 19.4 pounds/gallon

    CO2 emissions from a gallon of diesel = 2,778 grams x 0.99 x (44/12) = 10,084 grams = 10.1 kg/gallon = 22.2 pounds/gallon

  • Paul the chemist

    OOOPS There is a mistake in fact #3. One gallon of fuel produces a lot more than 6# of CO2. Please take a closer look at the link at the end of #3.

    CO2 emissions from a gallon of gasoline = 2,421 grams x 0.99 x (44/12) = 8,788 grams = 8.8 kg/gallon = 19.4 pounds/gallon

    CO2 emissions from a gallon of diesel = 2,778 grams x 0.99 x (44/12) = 10,084 grams = 10.1 kg/gallon = 22.2 pounds/gallon

  • http://jameshandley.blogspot.com James Handley

    Under Myth #20 you admit that diesel engines produce a 100x more respirable particulates than gasoline engines. (Actually, it’s more like 1000x.) That’s very important. Respiriable (very fine) particulates are a major health hazard. Try riding your bike behind a diesel. Burning lungs will quickly ensue.

    But then you change the subject to other pollutants, where diesel does have (slight) advantages. But let’s stick to particulates for a minute.

    Even so called “clean diesel” is only about 90% cleaner than dirty diesel. Which means a clean, biodiesel engine is making at least TEN TIMES more respirable particulates than a gasoline engine.

    DIESEL KILLS. At least from a health perspective, biodiesel is NOT GREEN. Get a bike!

  • http://jameshandley.blogspot.com James Handley

    Under Myth #20 you admit that diesel engines produce a 100x more respirable particulates than gasoline engines. (Actually, it’s more like 1000x.) That’s very important. Respiriable (very fine) particulates are a major health hazard. Try riding your bike behind a diesel. Burning lungs will quickly ensue.

    But then you change the subject to other pollutants, where diesel does have (slight) advantages. But let’s stick to particulates for a minute.

    Even so called “clean diesel” is only about 90% cleaner than dirty diesel. Which means a clean, biodiesel engine is making at least TEN TIMES more respirable particulates than a gasoline engine.

    DIESEL KILLS. At least from a health perspective, biodiesel is NOT GREEN. Get a bike!

  • Willy Bio

    Couple of things:

    Fuel lines: I have personally seen brand new, synthetic Goodyear line turn to liquorice gummy worms due to the use of B100. There is currently no ranking in line/compatibility, except for Viton. Same goes for seals such as the Injection Pump seal.

    Temperature: Depends on the feedstock. Even so, B100 may still be “liquid” at a low temp, but it is putting much more strain on the injection pump and the fuel itself may not combust properly, resulting in possible crankcase oil contamination.

    New (07+), 50 state legal light duty diesel vehicles: Most manufacturers will say NO BIODIESEL. Some may allow 5%. Nothing more than that from anyone, not VW, Merc, Ford, Dodge, etc. This is because the new exhaust systems, which are necessary for T2B5 compliance, employ a very complicated diesel particulate filter, as well as NOX treatment. Biodiesel may very well cause the particulate filter to clog up when it tries to regenerate itself. Don’t dismiss this, its a serious issue that a lot of people are just sticking their heads in the sand about.

    Fuel quality: you already saw the study which showed a huge variance in the percentage of biodiesel at gas stations when compared to what it was labeled as. Some pumps labeled as B20 were B70! That would suck in a cold climate. Bacterial contamination is an issue at pumps too. No serious quality control measures are in place to make any percentage biodiesel as safe as diesel. This has to be rectified.

  • Willy Bio

    Couple of things:

    Fuel lines: I have personally seen brand new, synthetic Goodyear line turn to liquorice gummy worms due to the use of B100. There is currently no ranking in line/compatibility, except for Viton. Same goes for seals such as the Injection Pump seal.

    Temperature: Depends on the feedstock. Even so, B100 may still be “liquid” at a low temp, but it is putting much more strain on the injection pump and the fuel itself may not combust properly, resulting in possible crankcase oil contamination.

    New (07+), 50 state legal light duty diesel vehicles: Most manufacturers will say NO BIODIESEL. Some may allow 5%. Nothing more than that from anyone, not VW, Merc, Ford, Dodge, etc. This is because the new exhaust systems, which are necessary for T2B5 compliance, employ a very complicated diesel particulate filter, as well as NOX treatment. Biodiesel may very well cause the particulate filter to clog up when it tries to regenerate itself. Don’t dismiss this, its a serious issue that a lot of people are just sticking their heads in the sand about.

    Fuel quality: you already saw the study which showed a huge variance in the percentage of biodiesel at gas stations when compared to what it was labeled as. Some pumps labeled as B20 were B70! That would suck in a cold climate. Bacterial contamination is an issue at pumps too. No serious quality control measures are in place to make any percentage biodiesel as safe as diesel. This has to be rectified.

  • dude…..

    “Biodiesel adds significant lubricity to the fuel (something that sulfur formally did in diesel fuel,”

    May I point out that sulfur does not act as a lubricant. But the process to reduce sulfur levels in diesel also reduces the fuels ability to lubricate.

    Good read.

  • dude…..

    “Biodiesel adds significant lubricity to the fuel (something that sulfur formally did in diesel fuel,”

    May I point out that sulfur does not act as a lubricant. But the process to reduce sulfur levels in diesel also reduces the fuels ability to lubricate.

    Good read.

  • grammernazi

    Fred Montier: Thanks I can read. The wording of Myth #2 has since been changed. Now it falls in line with disproving myth #1. Wherever you see biofuel, it was biodiesel before.

  • grammernazi

    Fred Montier: Thanks I can read. The wording of Myth #2 has since been changed. Now it falls in line with disproving myth #1. Wherever you see biofuel, it was biodiesel before.

  • Patrick

    Clayton, I know it’s Gas 2.0 so you’ve got to have some articles about the non sustaible alternatives like this one. The fact is that crop fuels are really just fields of solar collectors. The difference crops and solar panels is that so much energy goes crops with each rotation it and it won’t become cleaner or more efficiant than solar already is when part of a solar power plant. Crop fuels are dirty and they ‘milk’ the consumer, making them pay for all parts of the process, over and over again with each rotation. I think we waste so much time researching and talking about crop options that will never be better than just straight up solar. Use solar near the oceans to separate h20 into hydrogen and use hydrogen in the fuel cell + Battey cars. Batteries are charged by the sun and the fuel cells kick in where needed.

    I hope you’ll one day see the light Clayton, and see that you’re actually doing a disservice to the consumer and the environment by promoting these lesser options. You’re helping to create a market that will be as difficult to get rid of as oil. It will still pollute and it will still rip off the consumer. As recent articles have showen, solar can power the entire US year round for a once cost of $400 billion on solar fields. After that, it’s simple maintainance.

    Come to the ‘light’ side Clayton!

  • Patrick

    Clayton, I know it’s Gas 2.0 so you’ve got to have some articles about the non sustaible alternatives like this one. The fact is that crop fuels are really just fields of solar collectors. The difference crops and solar panels is that so much energy goes crops with each rotation it and it won’t become cleaner or more efficiant than solar already is when part of a solar power plant. Crop fuels are dirty and they ‘milk’ the consumer, making them pay for all parts of the process, over and over again with each rotation. I think we waste so much time researching and talking about crop options that will never be better than just straight up solar. Use solar near the oceans to separate h20 into hydrogen and use hydrogen in the fuel cell + Battey cars. Batteries are charged by the sun and the fuel cells kick in where needed.

    I hope you’ll one day see the light Clayton, and see that you’re actually doing a disservice to the consumer and the environment by promoting these lesser options. You’re helping to create a market that will be as difficult to get rid of as oil. It will still pollute and it will still rip off the consumer. As recent articles have showen, solar can power the entire US year round for a once cost of $400 billion on solar fields. After that, it’s simple maintainance.

    Come to the ‘light’ side Clayton!

  • Mr NY’ker

    Great article, lots of interesting info. In fact, I recently read an article about the Brazilians and their ethanol based on sugarcane, as well as their technology with flex-fueled vehicles. It really amazes me that a 3rd world country such as Brazil can become less dependent on foreign oil, but the US cannot. From what I read, it took them awhile but they finally did it. It makes me wonder sometimes why we haven’t even gotten closer to having an answer to our national problems. My props to the Brazilians!

  • Mr NY’ker

    Great article, lots of interesting info. In fact, I recently read an article about the Brazilians and their ethanol based on sugarcane, as well as their technology with flex-fueled vehicles. It really amazes me that a 3rd world country such as Brazil can become less dependent on foreign oil, but the US cannot. From what I read, it took them awhile but they finally did it. It makes me wonder sometimes why we haven’t even gotten closer to having an answer to our national problems. My props to the Brazilians!

  • Rich

    I disagree with biodiesel if it is made from agricultural crops or agricultural land required for food production. It is a good idea, however we do have a food crisis and using prime ag land for fuel rather than food does not compute.

    Algae biodiesel, or waste ag materials may be a good fit.

    Thanks for the info.

  • Rich

    I disagree with biodiesel if it is made from agricultural crops or agricultural land required for food production. It is a good idea, however we do have a food crisis and using prime ag land for fuel rather than food does not compute.

    Algae biodiesel, or waste ag materials may be a good fit.

    Thanks for the info.

  • Julian

    From a technological point of view, biodiesel seems great. But given that it competes with food production, I can’t really endorse it or support it. As the poster above me said, we’re in the middle of a world wide food crisis, and feeding food to engines does not compute.

    Biodiesel could have been great at the times of the Green Revolution when food was cheap. Right now, adopting biofuels would mean starving hundreds of millions to death in the third world, in order to keep first world engines running.

    Specially, since we have other alternatives such as hydrogen. There are ways to generate hydrogen all over the world, for a true democratization of energy production and consumption, without displacing other imprescindible activities such as farming.

  • Julian

    From a technological point of view, biodiesel seems great. But given that it competes with food production, I can’t really endorse it or support it. As the poster above me said, we’re in the middle of a world wide food crisis, and feeding food to engines does not compute.

    Biodiesel could have been great at the times of the Green Revolution when food was cheap. Right now, adopting biofuels would mean starving hundreds of millions to death in the third world, in order to keep first world engines running.

    Specially, since we have other alternatives such as hydrogen. There are ways to generate hydrogen all over the world, for a true democratization of energy production and consumption, without displacing other imprescindible activities such as farming.

  • ROBERT

    I have read about mixing as much as 30% gasoline with diesel in winter to keep fuel from gelling. What happens if I mix up to 30% E85 with Biodiesel. What will I get into and will I have problems. I’m thinking of trying, and wondered if someone else might have tried this. I will be running it in my 1981 Mercedes 240D. Am I just asking for troubles, or is this a workable fuel. I was thinking of starting with a 10% E85 to 90% biodiesel mix and work up from there to see what happens.

  • ROBERT

    I have read about mixing as much as 30% gasoline with diesel in winter to keep fuel from gelling. What happens if I mix up to 30% E85 with Biodiesel. What will I get into and will I have problems. I’m thinking of trying, and wondered if someone else might have tried this. I will be running it in my 1981 Mercedes 240D. Am I just asking for troubles, or is this a workable fuel. I was thinking of starting with a 10% E85 to 90% biodiesel mix and work up from there to see what happens.

  • http://www.boredquiz.com Fuel Quiz

    I always thought that Biodiesel was too expensive for the average consumer unless they went over to every local restaurant in town and asked them for some leftover cooking oil

  • http://www.boredquiz.com Fuel Quiz

    I always thought that Biodiesel was too expensive for the average consumer unless they went over to every local restaurant in town and asked them for some leftover cooking oil

  • http://www.biobustours.com.au Scott

    Great article Clayton, very well written…

    As fellow B100 user from DownUnder I can attest to all that you have spoken about. Biodiesel, while not a panacea to all the worlds fueling needs, is important fuel source if we are to move toward a cleaner more renewable transport industry, and needs to be promoted as such.

    cheers

    Scott

  • http://www.biobustours.com.au Scott

    Great article Clayton, very well written…

    As fellow B100 user from DownUnder I can attest to all that you have spoken about. Biodiesel, while not a panacea to all the worlds fueling needs, is important fuel source if we are to move toward a cleaner more renewable transport industry, and needs to be promoted as such.

    cheers

    Scott

  • Lee

    I think that anyone who says BioDiesel is not a “Greener” fuel is really off base. BioDiesel produces so much less emissions than gasoline, or your petro-diesel.

    People who are saying biodiesel is not viable or not easily made, probably never made it or even looked how its made.

    The main supply of good biodiesel is from restaurants waste veggie oil. There are so many restaurants that fry food, and how are we getting rid of the waste oil? Anyone want to guess? We are burring it, or feeding it to our livestock, or chickens. I know that I would not eat or buy chicken meat that was fed with waste veggie oil. Would you?

    BioDiesel solves this problem as well. The waste veggie oil is renewed into a fuel for a majority of big rigs, and consumers. This would cut emissions, and the huge need for oil supplies.

    I do agree that solar, hydrogen and all other alternatives are something we also really need, but here is something that is proven to be a better alternative to oil companies, and if you disagree, do some research to know what is going on first.

    I make enough biofuel in my back yard to power 4 Siverado 6.6 Duramaxes for 1 week. I do this in my spare time. This is not a job. Start doing your part in the environment, and stop trying to over think things and STOP the what ifs.

  • Lee

    I think that anyone who says BioDiesel is not a “Greener” fuel is really off base. BioDiesel produces so much less emissions than gasoline, or your petro-diesel.

    People who are saying biodiesel is not viable or not easily made, probably never made it or even looked how its made.

    The main supply of good biodiesel is from restaurants waste veggie oil. There are so many restaurants that fry food, and how are we getting rid of the waste oil? Anyone want to guess? We are burring it, or feeding it to our livestock, or chickens. I know that I would not eat or buy chicken meat that was fed with waste veggie oil. Would you?

    BioDiesel solves this problem as well. The waste veggie oil is renewed into a fuel for a majority of big rigs, and consumers. This would cut emissions, and the huge need for oil supplies.

    I do agree that solar, hydrogen and all other alternatives are something we also really need, but here is something that is proven to be a better alternative to oil companies, and if you disagree, do some research to know what is going on first.

    I make enough biofuel in my back yard to power 4 Siverado 6.6 Duramaxes for 1 week. I do this in my spare time. This is not a job. Start doing your part in the environment, and stop trying to over think things and STOP the what ifs.

  • ben

    Just so you know in Myth #1 you’ve listed your sugars wrong. Sucrose is a complex sugar (disaccharide), while dextrose (aka glucose) is a simple sugars. Sucrose is a fructose and glucose combined. Also, cellulose is a complex sugar made up of multiple glucoses (from a few to thousands) in a chain .

  • ben

    Just so you know in Myth #1 you’ve listed your sugars wrong. Sucrose is a complex sugar (disaccharide), while dextrose (aka glucose) is a simple sugars. Sucrose is a fructose and glucose combined. Also, cellulose is a complex sugar made up of multiple glucoses (from a few to thousands) in a chain .

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  • http://www.jatrophacurcasbiodiesel.com Sharon

    Alternative fuel source for the fossil fuel by making use of the oil extracted from jatropha

    curcas seeds, which is then converted into biodiesel for industrial and automotive uses.

  • http://www.jatrophacurcasbiodiesel.com Sharon

    Alternative fuel source for the fossil fuel by making use of the oil extracted from jatropha

    curcas seeds, which is then converted into biodiesel for industrial and automotive uses.

  • biobiobio

    Is there any reason to believe that the 2009 jetta tdi cannot run on B99? I have heard rumors that blends over B5 causes problems with the new emission system. I want this car, but only if I can run it on B99!

  • biobiobio

    Is there any reason to believe that the 2009 jetta tdi cannot run on B99? I have heard rumors that blends over B5 causes problems with the new emission system. I want this car, but only if I can run it on B99!

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  • Jim Andrews

    In Myth #4, you mention the use of natural rubber (NR) in diesel fuel hoses. NR has NEVER been used for any type of fuel hose in any type of vehicle because it will swell and soften in a matter of hours upon exposure to almost any hydrocarbon fuel.

    Most oleder fuel hoses were been made with of NITRILE rubber (NBR or Buna-N) liners, which will hold up to biodiesel for a while. Newer hoses and seals are being made with hydrogenated NBR (HNBR) or fluorocarbon (FKM, or Viton) liners.

  • Jim Andrews

    In Myth #4, you mention the use of natural rubber (NR) in diesel fuel hoses. NR has NEVER been used for any type of fuel hose in any type of vehicle because it will swell and soften in a matter of hours upon exposure to almost any hydrocarbon fuel.

    Most oleder fuel hoses were been made with of NITRILE rubber (NBR or Buna-N) liners, which will hold up to biodiesel for a while. Newer hoses and seals are being made with hydrogenated NBR (HNBR) or fluorocarbon (FKM, or Viton) liners.

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  • Andrew

    I think you’re confused about efficiency. There’s no way any fuel is more than 100% efficient. You can’t get more out than you put in, only the opposite.

  • Andrew

    I think you’re confused about efficiency. There’s no way any fuel is more than 100% efficient. You can’t get more out than you put in, only the opposite.

  • http://gas2.org/2008/04/10/biodiesel-mythbuster-20-twenty-two-biodiesel-myths-dispelled/ Sam Glotz

    This is not a repeat.

    Is this website for real? http://www.valcent.net/i/misc/Vertigro/index.html

    Sam

  • http://gas2.org/2008/04/10/biodiesel-mythbuster-20-twenty-two-biodiesel-myths-dispelled/ Sam Glotz

    This is not a repeat.

    Is this website for real? http://www.valcent.net/i/misc/Vertigro/index.html

    Sam

  • Mack

    THANKS

    GREAT GUIDE

    made me understand the whole biodiesel thing a lot better and helped me to understand more about what im currently studying in chemistry

    cheers

  • Mack

    THANKS

    GREAT GUIDE

    made me understand the whole biodiesel thing a lot better and helped me to understand more about what im currently studying in chemistry

    cheers

  • Micah Mizell

    You can make biofuel out of common garden weeds, such as jetropha, a plant that grows is the Sahara (where no food crops can grow). Ergo yes we have plenty of plants to make biofuel from.

  • Micah Mizell

    You can make biofuel out of common garden weeds, such as jetropha, a plant that grows is the Sahara (where no food crops can grow). Ergo yes we have plenty of plants to make biofuel from.

  • http://www.bbr-llc.com Batchelder Biodiesel Refinerie

    Batchelder Biodiesel Refineries (BBR) was formed 2 years ago when the demand for alternative fuels started to boom. BBR has perfected their refining process to include yellow and brown grease taken from the surrounding communities. BBR has developed a state of the art process to convert this waste grease into 100% ASTM certified biofuel as well as bioheat. Both processes meet and exceed ASTM D6751 standards. Because BBR uses waste grease to create their product there is no food vs. fuel controversy, as there is with using non-waste products such as Ethanol from corn. By utilizing a waste stream BBR is diverting a product that would ultimately be disposed of in a land fill. With fewer and fewer landfills excepting grease for disposal and the amount of waste continuing to grow, the question we should be asking ourselves is, what will we do with it all?

    BBR will be providing the ability to convert this waste to a usable product, it will convert our communities waste into a clean form of energy, which results in a cleaner environment.

    BBR’s knowledge base comes from over 60 years of manufacturing experience while maintaining a quality of work, which compares to none. BBR is also currently in the process of working with Keene State College and the City of Keene in a collaboration known as The Monadnock Biodiesel Collaborative (MBC) to bring green fuels to the Monadnock region.

    http://www.monadnockbiodiesel.com

    http://www.bbr-llc.com

  • http://www.bbr-llc.com Batchelder Biodiesel Refineries

    Batchelder Biodiesel Refineries (BBR) was formed 2 years ago when the demand for alternative fuels started to boom. BBR has perfected their refining process to include yellow and brown grease taken from the surrounding communities. BBR has developed a state of the art process to convert this waste grease into 100% ASTM certified biofuel as well as bioheat. Both processes meet and exceed ASTM D6751 standards. Because BBR uses waste grease to create their product there is no food vs. fuel controversy, as there is with using non-waste products such as Ethanol from corn. By utilizing a waste stream BBR is diverting a product that would ultimately be disposed of in a land fill. With fewer and fewer landfills excepting grease for disposal and the amount of waste continuing to grow, the question we should be asking ourselves is, what will we do with it all?

    BBR will be providing the ability to convert this waste to a usable product, it will convert our communities waste into a clean form of energy, which results in a cleaner environment.

    BBR’s knowledge base comes from over 60 years of manufacturing experience while maintaining a quality of work, which compares to none. BBR is also currently in the process of working with Keene State College and the City of Keene in a collaboration known as The Monadnock Biodiesel Collaborative (MBC) to bring green fuels to the Monadnock region.

    http://www.monadnockbiodiesel.com

    http://www.bbr-llc.com

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  • kendall

    I just came from the Audi dealer. The service manager says people who’ve been running bio-diesel have to replace their injector pumps at around 40,000 miles. My tune-up, fuel and emmissions class had a little field trip. Why do people say ”Bio-ethanol”? I prefer Bombay Gin myself. The stuff my 1983 Fiat Panorama ran on was a lot more like Cachasa. E-100. It’s just Ethanol. The EPA’s current life cycle GHG models, as part of the renewable fuel standard goes a long way to address food cycle and land use concerns. The biggest auto industry ctiticism of Bio-diesel (not including SVO) is the lubrication of the injector pump. Those old Diesels that almost won WW-II and 300 D’s etc. Those pumps are engine oil lubed. This is the third B-Diesel info website I’ve been to and this is not being clearly addressed. I find what you’ve said about sulfur content to be counter to what Diesel 101 would tell me. Reducing lubrication will not pro-long engine or more importantly inj-.pump life. Maybe I’ve missed something, but I thought sulfur reduction was all about particulate emissions. We should be able to do better than B5 in a TDI. I’ll bet the engineers at VW and Audi can’t really say for sure what B20 or B 100 would do to the pump. As long as your burning completely your not going to hurt the engine. It’s frustrating. I can’t find a strait answer and perhaps there isn’t one. I’d like to run a new TDI on the most available B-Diesel 12 miles from here. But that’s an experiment I can’t afford. I’m stickin with ethanol for now. It should be less CO2 at the tail pipe, and CA’s new LCFS will help create competition for a low carbon 2nd generation fuel. The question is will a conversion kit communicate with my 88′ Bosch Jetronic???

  • kendall

    I just came from the Audi dealer. The service manager says people who’ve been running bio-diesel have to replace their injector pumps at around 40,000 miles. My tune-up, fuel and emmissions class had a little field trip. Why do people say ”Bio-ethanol”? I prefer Bombay Gin myself. The stuff my 1983 Fiat Panorama ran on was a lot more like Cachasa. E-100. It’s just Ethanol. The EPA’s current life cycle GHG models, as part of the renewable fuel standard goes a long way to address food cycle and land use concerns. The biggest auto industry ctiticism of Bio-diesel (not including SVO) is the lubrication of the injector pump. Those old Diesels that almost won WW-II and 300 D’s etc. Those pumps are engine oil lubed. This is the third B-Diesel info website I’ve been to and this is not being clearly addressed. I find what you’ve said about sulfur content to be counter to what Diesel 101 would tell me. Reducing lubrication will not pro-long engine or more importantly inj-.pump life. Maybe I’ve missed something, but I thought sulfur reduction was all about particulate emissions. We should be able to do better than B5 in a TDI. I’ll bet the engineers at VW and Audi can’t really say for sure what B20 or B 100 would do to the pump. As long as your burning completely your not going to hurt the engine. It’s frustrating. I can’t find a strait answer and perhaps there isn’t one. I’d like to run a new TDI on the most available B-Diesel 12 miles from here. But that’s an experiment I can’t afford. I’m stickin with ethanol for now. It should be less CO2 at the tail pipe, and CA’s new LCFS will help create competition for a low carbon 2nd generation fuel. The question is will a conversion kit communicate with my 88′ Bosch Jetronic???

  • Alicia

    There are other renewable diesel fuels other than the ones discribed in this artical. For example a product called SunFuel uses woody biomass. This wood does not have to be freshly cut trees, in fact the FT Proccess workes great with left over scraps from saw mills and wood that would be trash. This fuel is very different from biodiesel in its carbon structure and is CO2 neutral.

  • Alicia

    There are other renewable diesel fuels other than the ones discribed in this artical. For example a product called SunFuel uses woody biomass. This wood does not have to be freshly cut trees, in fact the FT Proccess workes great with left over scraps from saw mills and wood that would be trash. This fuel is very different from biodiesel in its carbon structure and is CO2 neutral.

  • http://diybiodieselkits.com Paul

    Great, clear and precise coverage of the Biodiesel way.

    This provides another good reason for people who still seem to think this is not a good or viable option.

  • http://diybiodieselkits.com Paul

    Great, clear and precise coverage of the Biodiesel way.

    This provides another good reason for people who still seem to think this is not a good or viable option.

  • bill

    I agree with the person who says we should all promote ALGAE as an alternative fuel. It is not a contaminate or pollutant, and we can make it in your own country. We do not need to import it from countries that hate us, use the money we pay for the oil to buy guns to kill us with. We could make a great start in stopping terrorism all over the world by simply growing algae at home in our own countries. It would also create jobs. I think algae, along with solar and wind, would make this world a better place for all, including the terrorists.

  • bill

    I agree with the person who says we should all promote ALGAE as an alternative fuel. It is not a contaminate or pollutant, and we can make it in your own country. We do not need to import it from countries that hate us, use the money we pay for the oil to buy guns to kill us with. We could make a great start in stopping terrorism all over the world by simply growing algae at home in our own countries. It would also create jobs. I think algae, along with solar and wind, would make this world a better place for all, including the terrorists.

  • http://Web Mike

    I love the concept of biodiesel especially when it is 100% biodiesel. There is one major problem here in CA………I cannot find it !! They have 20% biodiesel and it cost more than regular diesel fuel does. Where can anybody who has a diesel engine find 100% biodiesel fuel?

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  • Toby

    Clay,
    Thanks for the article. You can see from number of posts that it’s an ongoing hot topic.
    It’d be nice if you could go back and delete all the duplicate posts, as there are some good, cogent arguments here.

    The things that stand out for me, and the reason I’m compelled to post, is that regular diesel fuel is horrible to smell and breathe. I cannot stand to drive behind a diesel truck that is not brand new, and school buses are some of the worst offenders. Thinking of all the children who ride these things, waiting at bus stops breathing the fumes is a terrible thing.

    I was encouraged when I read about Imperium Fuels beginning production of biodiesel here in the Pacific Northwest, but when the bottom fell out of their plan, due apparently the cost of production vs. importation, it was a big let down.

    The concept of producing a motor fuel (especially one that may be used in trucking and in ships) that is renewable and locally/domestically produced AND is far less toxic to the enviroment is a sort of holy grail. Algae, yes, and rapeseed, sure. Biomass, of course.

    But the bottom line to the overall success of biodiesel is that it will not come to fruition unless I can drive my diesel car down to the Shell station and pump in a tank full of B100 for less than the current cost of sulfured diesel. This, coupled with the lack of auto manufacturers who could create a line of cars and trucks that are factory equipped to run B100 is the reason we cannot get any traction with this solution. In other words, despite those who pooh-pooh the idea, it seems quite true that oil companies still control the fate of the world.
    If you disagree with this, consider how much of this countries resources go into fighting wars for the control of the black gold. Sad, but true.

    • http://importantmedia.org/members/joborras/ Jo Borras

      So, “the bottom line is” that YOU PERSONALLY will never buy a fuel that’s renewable and better for the people around you, your health, your children’s health, and the general national security of your fellow Americans … UNLESS IT COSTS LESS than the alternative?

      You are a horrible piece of human garbage. Die in a fire.

  • Toby

    Jeebus, Jo….who spit in your coffee?

    I’m speaking metaphorically. When I say ‘I’, I’m talking about people in general.
    So, apparently, this does not include you, since you are single-handedly saving the world by buying biodiesel. Sure, it’s a start, but unless the infrastructure is financed by big oil, we almost certainly will never see a full scale alternative fuel in our lifetimes.

    Grow up Jo.

    • http://importantmedia.org/members/joborras/ Jo Borras

      Fair points, but you said “I”, I didn’t. I think, sadly, you’re right: people “in general” do what’s best for them in the short-term, and don’t really care about child labor, pollution, etc. until it’s “too close to home”.

      Sorry I got cranked up – but if that doesn’t crank you up, maybe the switch to decaf was a bad move.

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  • AudreyA

    Another reason to go with diesel, whether bio or not, is that mileage is so much better in a diesel. The Europeans figured this out–yes, a gallon of diesel produces more particulate matter, but if you burn three gallons of gas to go the same distance as 1 gallon of diesel, you pollute much more per mile driven. That’s too complicated for Americans to grasp though.

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