Earth Island Journal: Re-Use, Recycle, Re-Fuel
From Earth Island Journal (December 3, 2012):
Don Scott is the director of sustainability for the National Biodiesel Board. Prior to joining the National Biodiesel Board, he was an environmental engineer for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.
The sustainability of personal transportation means balancing the social and economic benefits of car ownership with vehicles’ environmental, economic, and social impacts. To be truly sustainable, we must source our energy from the sun – and today biodiesel is the best way to capture solar energy for transportation. Biodiesel provides us a renewable, nontoxic, biodegradable replacement for diesel fuel that drastically reduces greenhouse gas emissions. So if you have to buy a car and you’re concerned about the environment, you should consider purchasing a vehicle that can run on biodiesel.
The internal combustion engine is king when it comes to moving people and things from place to place, and liquid fuels are the most versatile way to store energy for mobile uses. Mother Nature agrees. Plants and animals use oils and fat to store energy. Biodiesel makes use of these fats and oils to provide renewable fuel that recycles carbon. These natural oils are available to us in many ways. We can recycle used cooking oil and animal fat from beef, swine, and poultry processing. We can collect waste grease from municipal waste streams and, perhaps in the future, grow crops like algae. The biodiesel industry is very diverse, using many different raw materials to produce renewable fuel. This diversity is increasing as the industry grows to displace ever-greater amounts of fossil petroleum.