Here’s an interesting biodiesel stat:
[T]he region’s supply of fryer grease is limited. Each Oregonian contributes about a gallon of used cooking oil a year to the grease market, according to Sequential Pacific. If all the used grease went to biodiesel production, the state’s producers would have only half of what they need to meet demand for the fuel.
That’s really not much grease—especially considering that Oregon residents consume about a gallon and a half of highway fuels per person each day. So as much as I love biodiesel, fryer grease just isn’t going to power rush hour.
But that’s no reason to dismiss fryer grease as one among many possible sources for biodiesel production. And biodiesel as one among many possible alternative fuel sources. Right?Or were we expecting fryer grease to completely replace gasoline? I’m not a biodiesel wonk, I really don’t know the answer to these question.
Right, Jeffy.I think Clark is pointing this out to fight inflated expectations about biodiesel. It’s one tool in the kit. Efficiency, compact communities, pricing reforms, transit, bikeways, and a couple dozen other things are other tools. Each has its job to do.
That’s right, Alan. I just don’t want people to see biodiesel as a cure-all—as I think some people do, or at least as some people have in the past. The supply of waste oil is tiny, so ramping up biodiesel, by necessity, means using virgin (ie., never-used) oils. And in the short term, that means a) upward pressure on food prices, as we substitute foods for fuels, and b) increased incentives to maximize plant oil production—e.g., more acres of soybeans on fragile cropland, and more tropical forest converted to palm tree plantations.I understand that algae holds good promise for relatively benign biodiesel, but the technology isn’t ready for prime time. In the meantime, the biggest challenge isn’t ramping up biodiesel; it’s designing our cities, cars, and lives so that we require less transportation energy in the first place.
I agree that biodiesel is not a short term silver bullet. But long term Algae Biodiesel is an amazing tool for both CO2 reduction and fuel.There are two power plants currently using algae to reduce the C02 from the flue gas from the fossil fuels. They are experiencing a 40% reduction in C02. Then the algae can be harvested every day to create biodiesel. They have recently even figured out how to use one of the by-products of biodiesel (glycerine) into ethanol.The only question I have is whether anything in the CO2 lifecycle has been gained if you burn the biodiesel. We would still be ultimately releasing the C02 from the power plants. But I suppose that at least the oil/gasoline/diesel has been removed from the cycle.We need to bulldoze the coal power plants and only build solar, wind, nuclear, geothermal, tidal going forward.