ETHANOL (”moonshine”, “white lightnin’”) is NOT BIODIESEL

Posted on May 6, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized |

From OILGAE TEST DRIVE: Algae Power Hits the Road
….DO NOT CONFUSE ETHANOL (“moonshine”, “white lightnin'”) with BIODIESEL (derived from fatty oils, mainly from plants like soybeans, mustard seed, palm oil, waste cooking oil from restaurants, and about 115 other species of plants, but also animal fats). Rudolf Diesel invented his engine in the late 19th century, and perfected in the early 20th century, to run on peanut oil. So-called “diesel” fuel, derived from third level fractionation of petroleum, was a later invention of Standard Oil et al, after Diesel mysteriously died in transit across the English Channel, from France, on the eve of WWI. Biodiesel is derived from a much more energy efficient process than ethanol, and can be used DIRECTLY in diesel buses, trucks, trains and ships without having to modify the diesel engines. Over 40% of the passenger cars in Europe are more efficient diesel, and also has a more active biodiesel retail industry.
The problems we all face with the rapid growth of the biofuels industry, driven by the multinationals like ADM and Cargill, is that they are willing to sacrifice large tracts of viable food farmland, rainforest and other habitat, releasing additional CO2 into the atmosphere with burnoffs, and heavy use of petroleum-based fertilizers, for the sake of short-term speculative profit. This is NOT sustainable. Our co-op and other affiliated organizations are involved in the Sustainable Biodiesel Alliance, to promote the development of so-called second-tier biofuels, such as Solazyme’s cellulosic sugar-based, intensive algae farming, which are far less dependent on food-based sources of oil and sugar, and much more energy-balanced. Google any of these names to get more info. Also check out the National Biodiesel Board website,

Bio-diesel and synthetic-diesel are much better choices – however for the immediate future because a majority of the passenger cars, commercial trucks, construction equipment and military vehicles run on diesel and could run on bio/syn-diesel with no modifications (and run better and longer due to their superior lubrication over petroleum based diesel).

Algae based diesel could be a big player if a plan could be executed that utilized 3 existing factors that are currently problems for us:
1. The extreme amount of runoff from farms going down the Mississippi river creates large growths of algae in the Gulf of Mexico on an annual basis
2. Large amounts of trash are dumped annually into the ocean because we don’t have enough landfills for the amount of trash we produce
3. The commercial fishing industry is in decline due to more dead zones reducing catches.

Does anyone else see a possible solution through the use of open water algae farms?

We could utilize the run off that creates dead zones in the gulf to help solve our energy needs and restore some fishing industries. Where does the trash come in? Certain algae love to eat our trash. You just have to find one that does makes a good bio diesel too!

Offshore bio-diesel algae farms could be initiated with very little startup cost. Production would also help revitalize the gulf coast which already has the infrastructure in place for oil production and processing. As I recall, don’t they have a history of sugar production down there too? Cane based alcohol would be better than paying not to grow sugar (ref: tariffs and world sugar production).

Seems like the U.S. has been paying attention to the wrong gulf region of this planet.


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