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Energy Bill Legislation: A Blow to Alternative Energy.
On December 13th, the US Senate voted on a watered down version of the bill that left renewable energy supporters agast... read more

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New Energy Standards for Automobiles
While the Recent Energy Bill passed by the senate and approved by the president left the renewable energy industry out to dry, the bill did pass improved standards in the auto-industry...
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What is Bio-diesel?

Biodiesel fuel is clean burning (low emissions), biodegradable, non-toxic, and made from 100% renewable resources. It can be made from various plant oils and animal fats, although some are clearly better than others. In choosing an oil with the highest energy yield per acre, I've read that hemp is the best currently, but some contend that algae has a higher potential. That being said, the amount of land mass needed to create enough biofuel to replace petroleum products is more than we have. As such, biodiesel cannot replace petroleum on it's own accord, but it can take a "healthy" bite if used to it's potential.

Modifying Existing Diesel Engines

leaf Blends of 20 percent biodiesel with 80 percent petroleum diesel (B20) can generally be used in unmodified diesel engines. Pure biodiesel (B100) may require certain engine modifications to avoid maintenance and performance problems. I am told that for $500, certain mechanics can convert a regular diesel engine to run on pure biodiesel.

Affordability & Accessibility

I've read that countries with a basic infrastructure and demand for biodiesel, like Germany, are producing and selling biodiesel commercially for less than petroleum diesel. It is hard to find commercially sold biodiesel in the US. As far as homemade biodiesel, I've read reports ranging from 50 cents to $1.50 per gallon as the cost of the products (add labor).

I am aware of two places in San Diego that commercially sell Biodiesel - one in Escondido, the other in El Cajon. I've also heard of cooperatives that make large batches and share costs on usage bases.

Making Your Own Biodiesel

Biodiesel can easily be made at home by anyone. The process uses simple ingredients that can be bought in your local grocery store (lye, alcohol, and vegetable oil). You can use old plastic bottles to mix and create the biodiesel or purchase a Biodiesel fuel kit. During the process of transesterification, the glycerin is removed from fat or vegetable oil. Aside from creating methyl esters (the chemical name for biodiesel), the major byproduct of this process is glycerin, which can be used to make soap (or composted).