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Bio Diesel and other Alternative Renewable Fuels

In the old days it was usual for Oil to be pumped up out of the ground where it had lain for millions of years, refine it, and burn it, in motor vehicles for example. The problem with this started to come when it was pointed out by some reasonably clever people that the underground fossil fuel oil would sooner or later run out.

Faith and belief cut no ice versus the scientific fact, and terminology such as "oil producing nations" did not change the actual truth that oil was not really being produced, but was more being extracted. Similar extraction could be seen if a hard-up person was seen proudly going into a pawnbroker's shop and declaring themselves to be one of the "family silver producing citizens"!

Anyway, what's needed is some kinds of fuel that will never run out. You know, like... Oil that grows on trees! Yes, that would be good. This is where Bio Diesel comes into view. The term "bio diesel" describes any of a set of oils which are similar in some ways to old DERV / Diesel Oil, in the fact that they can be pumped into the fuel tank of a car, truck, or other machine with an engine, and it will run as per usual, but, unlike conventional diesel oil, they will not run out. That's because eco diesel comes from organisms growing in the world in recent times rather than those that lived millions of years ago.

"Spry Crisp'N'Dry" is a name more associated with delicious fried chips (french fries) than with the road transport industry, but it may be that in the eco-friendly future, filling stations will have that name up there in lights where they once had Esso, Texaco, Total, etc.

Bio Diesel can be produced from various different plants and biological organisms generally. Sunflowers, coconuts, peanuts, etc. These are grown as crops and are harvested and processed to produce oil. The oil is quite similar to diesel oil, and motor vehicles will run on it without much engineering change. The energy is ultimately coming from the sun, as that's how growing crops get their energy in the first place. Also, when burning the bio diesel, the carbon dioxide (CO2) released is not additional CO2 to the atmosphere but is CO2 captured from the atmosphere by the crops. It just goes around being recycled.

There's even a plan by a company whose name is Diesel Secret Energy to get you running your vehicle on old food oil which is a waste product previously dumped by restaurants. Their product is an oil-thinning additive which makes the freely available gunky oil into a usable form of bio-diesel, which you can use to power engines without a conversion kit. Worth looking into.

For more research on biofuels, especially of the type that don't have any problems with food resources, a good word to look up is: Jatropha. The plant is inedible, but produces plenty of oil, can survive in very poor soil, and it's also good as a barrier against animals.

So, there it is, bio diesel, a fuel that will never run out, and it doesn't add to the CO2 in the atmosphere.

Bio Diesel filling stations can be found in the UK at www.biodieselfillingstations.co.uk

Another continuously renewable fuel which can be manufactured, used for powering engines, and will never run out is Alcohol. Some people think this is very funny, having cars running on alcohol, because of associations with "don't drink and drive!". However, alcohol burns very well and it's a liquid and it can be generated by a relatively simple process of distillation of the products of fermenting organic material. Ethanol (C2H5OH) which is the same stuff as is found in booze, is also a renewable energy product generated from crops. Methanol (CH3OH) is less compatible with human biology but works efficiently in engines, although it tends to burn quite hot. The technologies for these alternative fuels is being developed, and many things will become practical well before the technology has been as long-term road-tested as that which has already gone into petrol/gasoline. For example, see http://www.journeytoforever.org/biofuel_library/ethanol_motherearth/meCh1.html#1_1.

Methane gas is a fuel which will never run out, because it can be generated from shit. And, as might be obvious, that's something which will never be in short supply.

Quite a lot of fuel is burnt up in the sky by aircraft. There has been quite a lot of fuss about the environmental issues on this, and there have even been attempts to charge airline passengers an extra tax on their ticket costs for their proportion of the environmental damage caused. But now, airlines will be cheered up to know that jet aeroplanes can be powered by alternative fuels such as ethyl alcohol (ethanol), methanol, methane gas, and hydrogen. Well Done to Aeroflot for doing concept proofs on this! It is now open for discussion that any airline introducing eco-fuel systems into their fleet of airliners may be able to avoid being charged the carbon tax. Some of the tax saving could be passed on to their customers, and this kind of thing is very good for public relations! If you're flying on a plane you might be able to save money if the airline has chosen to adopt ecological renewable aviation fuel!

It's also worth mentioning that if you are thinking of having your car converted to run on eco fuel then it's usual to make it able to run on both conventional and alternative fuel. This is the usual situation, and it typically involves having a switch or valve added to the controls. The engine remains about the same, and it's not at all like replacing the car engine with a steam engine and expecting the passenger to stoke it up.

So now let's see what governments are doing to try to encourage the use of bio diesel and other eco friendly fuels. It's relatively commonplace for governments to put tax on oil, partly because it's an easy earner but also because tax on fuel shifts the incentive of people towards saving energy. However, there should be no "carbon tax" on eco diesel as its carbon is recycled from the crops whence it came. So, it seems puzzling to see governments still levying tax on eco fuel. Surely the emphasis should on taxing fossil fuels so as to encourage people towards using environmentally friendly alternatives? The long term political view should be to get the economy less dependent on fossil fuels. That's my opinion, and you might have a different view. But in the end, it won't be a matter of opinion. Any economy still dependent on "oil", fossil fuel, when the oil runs out, will be bankrupt by the scientific fact.

Other references: Ecological stuff , oil , free heat , finance , and fuel poverty. In case you are wondering, this is at Zyra's website, which has a say about quite a lot of different things.