Common Misconceptions About Biodiesel Dispelled.

David Quilty

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April 30, 2008

Posting will be light this week as I will be away for most of the week, so please bear with me. Thanks!

This is from Gas2.org, a website dedicated to discussing the future of fuel. This is just a very quick synopsis of only the first 5 myths, but for the entire article (and it’s a great one – 23 Myths in all!), click on over to Gas2.org.

MYTH #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.

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.

MYTH #3: Biodiesel (and other biofuels) are a total waste of time; they’ll never solve anything. This is a big one that I hear quite often.

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.

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

FACT: Let me describe the conversion process: 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. Someday, I plan on doing this with a truck.

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.

If this is the type of thing you are interested in (I know I am!), please go read the entire article and all 23 myths at Gas2.org. Some of them were eye-openers for me!

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