View Full Version : Ethanol vs Biodiesel

6th June 2008, 05:05 AM
The creation and usage of bio-diesel is brilliant; why not take something that would otherwise be considered waste and make it in to a valuable resource! But I think it is a slippery slope to create ethanol from a food source (specifically corn). Ethanol isn't even as efficient as petrol, and its creation only serves to increase the price of corn...

Sure bio-diesel can be created from vegetable oil, but when using waste vegetable oil we are truely getting more mileage from something that has already served its purpose. I hear people crying fowl about the increasing cost of corn due to ethanol production, but nothing said about bio-diesel.

Do any of you see bio-diesel taking a hit to the image due to this?

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6th June 2008, 03:32 PM
Biodiesel from waste oils is what I would call an 'opportunistic fuel' in that it's really only a 'for the individual', locally source, short term alternative- it really isn't scalable to a degree that would offset significant usage of fossil fuels, let alone be noteworthy of any importance looking to the future, or to big business for the mater - the most likely reason you don't hear much about it.

Scalability is often something that people forget (or ignore), for example tallow... sure you can get your B5 or maybe even B10... but what about after that? Personally (from a business perspective) I don't see the point in chasing options that can't replace a significant portion of petroleum demand.

Although in saying that, if you can do it now - yourself - go for it.

As for the corn argument, it's really only a mater of time before feedstocks switch to a cellulose based alternatives- however until an alternative arises, we will probably continue to see corn ethanol grow (although more efficiently I must say). You can't replace something with nothing, especially with half the world running around with green fingers.

Also in terms of ethanol efficiency, I suggest ethanol is on the way out too... give it a few months and we will all be talking about 'bio-gasoline' derivatives... but that's another discussion in itself...