How Feasible Is Biodiesel?

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If you want to spread the word about biodiesel, you’re going to have to be able to convincingly answer the most common question people ask about it.

The people who ask this are not skeptics. They’re not people with an agenda, or who oppose biodiesel or any other ecologically sustainable alternative fuel source from the get-go. Instead, they just ask very a basic question, and unfortunately, a lot of people championing biodiesel completely fall apart when any talk of a feasibility arises. It’s easy to see why because regardless of oil’s recent fluctuation, fossil fuels are still way cheaper than biodiesel.

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So, how do you answer this question?

It all boils down to economics

The answer to this question boils to local economics. If you live in a part of the United States where there is a lot of waste food oil, biodiesel is not only feasible, it is recommended. In fact, it should be a first choice because that food oil would be dumped. That food oil would otherwise be wasted.

There have been a lot of money, time and effort invested in coming up with food oil. It really would be a shame just to see it all go to waste. This is exactly the situation where converting such a food oil destined for the dumper makes a lot of sense. In this context, waste food oil is very feasible.

If the person asks you, “Well, in my area, there’s not much waste food oil. What next?” Take the conversation to the next level. There is also recyclable oil.

Whenever french fries or fried chicken is cooked, the cooking oil that’s used degrades more and more. In fact, it’s standard practice to replace the oil after a certain point; otherwise, it’s going to interfere with the flavor of the food prepared with the oil. See how this works? The oil has to go somewhere.

It’s not technically waste oil because it can be repurposed. There are many alternative purposes for that oil. You can turn it into soap or refine it. The good news is that it can also be turned into biodiesel, depending on the price of fossil fuels.

Feasibility really is all about local economics. If the economic numbers stack up, biodiesel is not only feasible, but it’s actually highly recommended as well.

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On the other hand, if you live in Houston or other parts of the United States where gasoline is dirt cheap and diesel is affordable, you’re going to have a tougher time. The key here is to talk in terms of local economics. This is where biodiesel is feasible.

We believe that the current low price of fossil fuels is not sustainable. Eventually, market and supply pressures will push the overall price profile of energy upwards. It is just a matter of time. Once this appears, it is our hope that all the current work done on making biodiesel more economically competitive would have matured to the point that it will achieve an economy of scale. There is always a tipping point and we hope that this point will be reached by the industry sooner rather than later.

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