Technology with attitude

Alternative Fuel Watch: Bio-Diesel

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Dean Esmay links to an interesting story about do-it-yourselfers who convert the oil used to cook french fries into extremely cost efficient fuel.

From the Smithsonian:

Every few weeks, Etta Kantor goes to a Chinese restaurant and fills a couple of five-gallon pails with used cooking oil. Back in her garage, the 59-year-old philanthropist and grandmother strains it through a cloth filter and then pours it into a custom-made second fuel tank in her 2003 Volkswagen Jetta diesel station wagon. Once the car is warmed up, she flips a fuel toggle on the dashboard to switch to the vegetable oil. Wherever she drives, she’s trailed by the appetizing odor of egg rolls.

Sean Parks of Davis, California, collects his cooking oil from a fish-and-chips restaurant and a corn-dog shop. He purifies it chemically in a 40-gallon reactor that he built himself for about $200. The processed oil can be used even when his car’s engine is cold, at a cost of about 70 cents a gallon. Parks, 30, a geographer for the U.S. Forest Service, makes enough processed oil to fuel his family’s two cars.

But it is clean? Well…pretty much.

Another benefit of burning biodiesel is cleaner air. Compared with fossil fuels, it emits less carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons, as well as sulfur compounds related to acid rain. Pure biodiesel also substantially reduces overall emission of carbon dioxide, a major contributor to climate change, because the plants from which the oil was extracted absorbed atmospheric carbon dioxide while they were growing. A bus running on pure biodiesel would emit 32 percent less particulate matter, which has been implicated in the dramatic increase in asthma cases in cities. The only air pollution downside of pure biodiesel, according to the 1998 U.S. study, is a slight increase of smog-inducing nitrogen oxides.

I’m telling you people, some may think this is just hippie-dippie stuff, but alternative energy will allow us to slowly, but surely, remove ourselves from the Arab oil teet. The result will be a more common sense involvement in the region where we actually have more leverage. This will put pressure on the leaders to truly do away with the terrorists within their borders once and for all because they’re threatening the sustainability of the nation’s wealth.

Because no matter how much a government is dedicated to Islamic ideals, they are ultimately motivated by two very simple things: fear and greed.