Red Shoulder Hawk

Red Shoulder Hawk

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Biodiesel: Journey to Forever

Biodiesel: Journey to Forever: "According to a comparative life-cycle study by the US Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, biodiesel requires only 0.31 units of fossil energy to make 1 unit of fuel. By contrast, it takes 1.2 units of fossil resources to produce 1 unit of petroleum diesel, the study says."

Note that we could use biodiesel fueled tractors to grow biodiesel crops, eliminating fossil fuels altogether!

I couldn't leave you on a downer (my previous post). There really is a way out of our petro-fuel nightmare. If we discover the boundary conditions for the use of solar energy, both to grow plants for oil and through the use of photo-voltaic, there really is enough energy to sustain ourselves.

By the way, soybeans really aren't the most efficient crop for oil production. Rapeseed (canola) yields twice as much per acre (100 US gallons) and still requires only 9 gallons of oil for fuel and fertilizers. It's just that the soybean lobby (and Monsanto!) are highly invested in pushing this crop.

The most amazing possibility is using algae to grow oil; as much as 20,000 US gallons per acre! (from the Wikipedia entry on biodiesel). If this technology came out of the lab, less than 1% of the US land area would be needed to provide fuel oil for our current needs. So you see, there really are wonderful possibilities available to us, to care for ourselves.

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