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Energy Quote

The world is full of tradeoffs, and sometimes 'renewable power' activists fail to recognize that. Solar energy collectors must displace a tremendous amount of natural landscape to produce any significant amount of energy. And anything less requires a great deal of financial expenditures for very little and very inconsistent power.

Ben Lieberman

Biodiesel

A Brief Description:

Biodiesel refers to a diesel-equivalent, processed fuel derived from biological sources. Though derived from biological sources, it is a processed fuel that can be readily used in diesel engined vehicles, which distinguishes biodiesel from the straight vegetable oils (SVO) or waste vegetable oils (WVO) used as fuels in some modified diesel vehicles.

Chemically, transesterified biodiesel comprises a mix of mono-alkyl esters of long chain fatty acids. The most common form uses methanol to produce methyl esters as it is the cheapest alcohol available, though ethanol can be used to produce an ethyl ester biodiesel and higher alcohols such as isopropanol and butanol have also been used.

Biodiesel can be distributed using today's infrastructure, and its use and production is increasing rapidly. Fuel stations are beginning to make biodiesel available to consumers, and a growing number of transport fleets use it as an additive in their fuel. Biodiesel is generally more expensive to purchase than petroleum diesel, but can be made at home for much cheaper than either. This differential may diminish due to economies of scale, the rising cost of petroleum and government tax subsidies.

30 Jan 2007 11:55:46

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