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A few months ago bio fuels was the big buzz word. With what experience I have repairing vehicles for over 30 years and what I've read I have come to the conclusion that bio diesel is the best, simplest and cheapest way to go. That said why is it most everything you read about is pushing etanol. Also why is it we're pushing a fuel that isn't a direct replacement for most existing vehicles where bio diesel is a direct replacement with no added expense. Also why is it there are less diesel powered fuel efficient vehicles being sold now than before?
 

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The gov't pushes ethanol because they control it. They can't control "Joe" making biodiesel in his back yard. Plain and simple it is all because of the almighty dollar. The gov't does however fine "Joe" for using the biodiesel (that he makes) on the nation's highways, and the gov't makes a big public notice about doing so. They are trying to discourage others from following "Joe's" lead.

Kitty
 

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I would gave to agree, Bio-diesel seems to be a much better choice for many reasons but unfortunately, politics ($$$) trumps rational thought every time. just look at who is vested in corn based ethanol: Monsanto, Cargill, ADM, and American Corn growers Associations. That is only a partial list. The same reasoning goes for why we see no massive push to subsidize energy efficiency among this frenzy to subsidize bio-fuels.
 

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Bio diesel can only be readily made from a few crops whereas ethanol can be made from a wide variety. A plant going in in western Kansas will be using cellulosic material from a variety of sources. Wheat straw, corn stover, Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) grasses could be used, etc.

How many diesel vehicles are there compared to gasoline vehicles that could burn some ethanol? Gasoline numbers win hands down.

Compare the waste gases from both. A conventional diesel sure doesn't smell good in the least, I'd rather have the odor from ethanol. And that is just the odor factor, how about the pollution from each?

Don't get me wrong, diesels have their place, but I just don't think the average person would maintain them properly and probably couldn't even start them in the middle of winter.
 

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I think it has to do with the fact that an acre of corn will produce more alcohol than it will corn oil. Also more vehicles have gas engines than diesel so they are working toward an alternative to gasoline. They don't make many cars in diesel because people in the USA do not buy them......its been tried many times over the years.....for example; Oldsmobile, Toyota, Volvo, Benz, and VW have all had diesel cars for the US market and very few ever sold......even now with the Jetta diesel they do not sell well.
 

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More than half the new cars sold in Europe are diesels, and that's been true for years. Volkswagen has a diesel Passat that gets 60+ mpg, but you can't buy it in the US. VW also had the 100 mpg diesel Lupo, now replaced with the Fox. Can't get that here either. There are plenty of other European and Japanese cars that get 50+ mpg that are apparently good enough for their highways but not for ours, since the US government prohibits their import.

Something to think about.
 

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In the next few years there will be a lot more diesel cars coming to the market, even from domestic manufacturers again. There are a lot of different crops that can produce the oil needed for bio diesel, at much higher gallons of oil per acre, than that are being grown now.

I think the push for ethanol is that most vehicles on the road today will tolerate it at the e85 mixing without modification, so the short sighted types see that as the quick fix to reduce oil imports.

We have 2 vw diesels, each getting 45 mpg +, 2 jd diesel tracors, and our farm truck is a GM 6.5 turbo diesel...so we are committed to the future of diesel, converting waste vegetable oil to diesel and straight bio diesel in a big way at our house.

Algae, of all things, can produce 5000 gallons of oil usable to make bio diesel per acre.....in a sustainable fashion.

The next runner ups are Chinese tallow at 699 gallons per acre and oil palm at 635 gallons per acre, soybeans produce about 48 gallons per acre, while sunflowers produce 102 gallons per acre....I have heard mention of rapeseed as being appropriate for the midwest climate, and it produces 127 gallons per acre.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biodiesel#Yields_of_common_crops
 

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Ferment corn to make alcohol. Use a food source to make a fuel, subtracting from that food source. When sugar ferments, it creates alcohol and carbon dioxide. Trees and other plants will be happy. Then we will have another warning about the excessive co2 in the atmosphere. Biodiesel is the best choice but we won't do it for just that reason. I did see a blurb about switchgrass having more potential than corn.
 

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When diesels were offered in compact vehicles in the late 70s/early 80s gas was simply cheap.

Expect to see new compact diesels coming to the U.S. now low sulfur diesel is readily available.

Honda is set to bring a diesel Accord to the U.S. in 2010. I hear VW will bring back the diesel Jetta in 08. Both are expected to get over 60 mpg.

For those who want to experiment with WVO, you can find late 70s/early 80s VW diesels on eBay, both pickups and sedans.
 

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Hammer4 said:
I have heard mention of rapeseed as being appropriate for the midwest climate, and it produces 127 gallons per acre.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biodiesel#Yields_of_common_crops
Rape grows great in the midwest......but somebody is going to need to start giving away alot of deer tags if anybody wants to grow it for oil production.......deer mow through the stuff like it is going out of style.....that is what is in most on the wildlife deer food plot seed mixes.
 

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Currently, biodiesel is a niche fuel... ab fab for the few pioneers who have access to free used veg oil from restaurants/bakeries/grocery stores... With wider acceptance/use, those sources will dry up.... and the waste oil will be sold to processors.

Raising crops for biodiesel "may" be slightly better (from a net energy used/produced factor) than ethanol. (As anyone who's looked into ethanol production, it takes more fuel to produce ethanol, than ethanol provides).

Biodiesel is not "green". Germany requires a certain amount of their diesel to be green.......in that it's not produced from fossil fuels. Brazil and other Amazonian countries are providing the Germans with their 'green' biodiesel... by converting jungle and savannah to soybean crops...

We possibly can supply all of our fuel needs with "biodiesel" and ethanol. However, we'll probably have to convert every available acre of farmland to oil crops and corn, to do so. Then where will we get our food.

The only real answer is population decrease.... when we run out of oil, things will sort themselves out very quickly. Without oil, it's hard to plant ethanol and biodiesel crops. Of course the farmers would probably get a large portion of biofuels, to keep growing 'more' fuel... Catch 22... fertilizer can't be grown, and 'hauling' humanure uses more scarce fuel...

oh well... let's use it as fast as possible...
 

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Discussion Starter #13
sugarbush said:
I think it has to do with the fact that an acre of corn will produce more alcohol than it will corn oil. Also more vehicles have gas engines than diesel so they are working toward an alternative to gasoline. They don't make many cars in diesel because people in the USA do not buy them......its been tried many times over the years.....for example; Oldsmobile, Toyota, Volvo, Benz, and VW have all had diesel cars for the US market and very few ever sold......even now with the Jetta diesel they do not sell well.

You don't have to use corn for either fuel which is a large part of the nonsense of the ethanol/corn thing being a hoax. The large quantity of gasoline powered vehicles in the US can't just use ethanol without a conversion of sorts and without a loss of mileage whereas a diesel can just basically pour vegetable oil in the tank and go with no loss of mileage. There are a tremendous amount of 3/4 and 1 ton diesel pickups already in the US. As for diesels not selling well as someone said they attempted to market them when gas was relatively cheap and also in expensive vehicles. There have been very few economical everyman diesels marketed, the VW Rabbit was basically it and after that VW went for the higher end market.
 

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texican said:
Currently, biodiesel is a niche fuel... ab fab for the few pioneers who have access to free used veg oil from restaurants/bakeries/grocery stores... With wider acceptance/use, those sources will dry up.... and the waste oil will be sold to processors.

Raising crops for biodiesel "may" be slightly better (from a net energy used/produced factor) than ethanol. (As anyone who's looked into ethanol production, it takes more fuel to produce ethanol, than ethanol provides).

Biodiesel is not "green". Germany requires a certain amount of their diesel to be green.......in that it's not produced from fossil fuels. Brazil and other Amazonian countries are providing the Germans with their 'green' biodiesel... by converting jungle and savannah to soybean crops...

We possibly can supply all of our fuel needs with "biodiesel" and ethanol. However, we'll probably have to convert every available acre of farmland to oil crops and corn, to do so. Then where will we get our food.

The only real answer is population decrease.... when we run out of oil, things will sort themselves out very quickly. Without oil, it's hard to plant ethanol and biodiesel crops. Of course the farmers would probably get a large portion of biofuels, to keep growing 'more' fuel... Catch 22... fertilizer can't be grown, and 'hauling' humanure uses more scarce fuel...

oh well... let's use it as fast as possible...
That is one solution!!
 

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Beeman said:
A few months ago bio fuels was the big buzz word. With what experience I have repairing vehicles for over 30 years and what I've read I have come to the conclusion that bio diesel is the best, simplest and cheapest way to go. That said why is it most everything you read about is pushing etanol. Also why is it we're pushing a fuel that isn't a direct replacement for most existing vehicles where bio diesel is a direct replacement with no added expense. Also why is it there are less diesel powered fuel efficient vehicles being sold now than before?
Many in The USA are still scared by the old diesal fuel. They hear diesal and think about big trucks or pick ups with thick black smoke comming out of them.

Diesal is the way to go. Most of the rest of the world uses it as their prime auto fuel source. We use gasoline for some reason.

Our 2000 VW golf gets over 50mpg. Diesal.

The local VW dealer only keeps one or two around as they say its all they can get, but I do not belive them.

They will sell more gasoline modles.
 

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I think you are forgetting bushels per acre. Around 60 for soybeans and around 200 for corn.
 

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Oil is by far the cheapest way to do it right now. I like Bio fuels, but there is more gasoline engines then diesal engines.

Truckers will use it, Some do, but it is not as available as normal deisal. Many would be shocked at how much fuel your normal truck stop would need a day. The bio diesal just isn't there. think 6-10 tanker trucks a day per truck stop.

The pilot in Troy Illinois will sell 96000 gallons today. Not one drop of it bio.
 

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Look at the energy needed to process the 200 bu verses the 60. The fert, nitrogen and the likes. The long growth cycle. There are better crops. They say spuds are a great ethonal source.
 

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daytrader said:
Look at the energy needed to process the 200 bu verses the 60. The fert, nitrogen and the likes. The long growth cycle. There are better crops. They say spuds are a great ethonal source.

Corn grows in a huge portion if the USA, with a terrific yield per acre, it stores easily for a year or 2, we have the infrastructure to handle, store, & transport corn.

NOTHING elese out there today is able to produce a volume of fuel ethanol more cheaply. Nothing. Cane, beets, potatoes - all have potential, but they just don't work - hard to store, don't grow well, require a special soil, etc.

I do agree that biodiesel has a better potential for positive energy return.

Foruntately, Minnesota again is leading the way, and is requiring a 2% bio blend in all diesel fuel sold in the state. Been that way for over a year, & the plan is to ramp that up to 5% soon.

Many farmers are using up to 20% bio on their own.

Biodiesel has one downfall - it is made from oil crops.

Some of the high-oil output crops aren't at all proactical - plam trees take forever to establish so the actual return per acre per year is much lower than 'reported' numbers, aside from the fact they don't grow in 95% of the USA.

The oil crops that do grow well in the USA tend to be high priced for now, and so the fuel made from them is not competitive with petro diesel. Soybeans, cannola, rapeseed, sunflowers, and others.


One reason there are few diesel vehicles sold of late is govt regulations. Diesel fuel has been going through reformulations to drastically lower the sulfur content, and also add catylitic converters to them. This has left a confusing arry of fuels - low sulfur, ultra low sulfur, and so on. It is diffucult to produce a small diesel engine that will fit the govt regulations now & in the future - the govt got us on this one.

Everyone is going to mention waste vegtable oil - I think that is a cool use for something that needs to be disposed of, but it is a tiny drop in the bucket & not something that will fuel the entire nation. Cool small scale thing, but not significant volume to really matter on a national scale.

--->Paul
 

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As far as where we are going to get the land to feed ourselves, and potentially grow our fuel crops....there is a lot of CRP land where the government is paying folks not to grow crops, not to pasture livestock, etc...that could be converted to 'fuel' land.
 
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