Move over Fossil Fuels, Biodiesel has arrived.
If one takes a look at the History of the modern world they will see a clear evolution that gravitates toward technological solutions and away from agrarian life. And why not? Having a 200 horsepower tractor to plow your fields is a lot better than trying to do it with 2 mules and a bucket of oats dragging a ‘pig iron plow’. But just as the mules needed oats, our increasingly mechanized society needs fuel to feed our tractors, machines and automobiles. During the early days of industrialization man turned to hydro-power to turn his factory turbines. And while hydro-power does work, our ever increasing desire for automation, efficiency and mechanized solutions has driven an ever increasing need for new fuels including biodiesel derived from used cooking oil and custom crops. There simply is not enough viable hydro-power to fuel a modern society. Thus, the mechanized world began in earnest to look at alternative fuels, Nuclear, Solar, Wind, Coal, Petroleum and now bio-fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel.
The balance of fuel distribution in the world is far from ‘balanced’. The middle east and Venezuela and parts of Russia have vast supplies of fossil fuels in its most easily harvest-able and valuable form known as ‘sweet crude’. Throughout the Twentieth century, most alternative fuels were impractical. Biodiesel simply did not make any economic sense when in the Middle east and OPEC regions, Petroleum could be pumped out of the ground at a fraction of the cost. It is basic economics, in a free market, a process that cost 1.00 per gallon such as biodiesel cannot compete with something that can be pumped out of the ground for practically free.
During the twentieth century the United States and Europe were the only real consumers of fuel, with one seller and one major buyer in the market. But now we move into the Twenty-First century and the global economy. With China, India and Pakistan craving ever more of the oil from OPEC, Fuel has become much more of a free market commodity. With fuel prices remaining high because of competitive bidding between the world powers. There is increasing room for alternative fuels that can’t be undercut due to competitive nature of the free market and free market agreements under the World Trade Organization.
Windmills that harvest predictable wind resources in selected areas of the United States, New processes for extracting natural gas from the shale deposits, ethanol from corn, and biodiesel from Waste Vegetable Oil are all the latest rage in the USA. Largely because of the increased viability of such fuel sources in the global economy, but also because of a grassroots interest in the United States to find a ‘greener’ way to do things. Here in the USA the cost of industrialization without environmental responsibility is well known to us. Many are concerned with finding a more environmentally friendly method of fueling our vehicles even if it does cost just a bit more. So now we have the president of the USA using branding terms like ‘America’s Energy Mix’ to describe the myriad of fuel alternatives present in USA market.
In 2005 President Bush signed into law the RFS ‘Renewable fuel standard’ which requires an increasing amount of biofuel
diversity to limit dependence on foreign fuels.
Annual fuel consumption in 2013 is projected to be 134 billion gallons of fuel, of which 16 billion will be comprised of biofuels ethanol and biodiesel. Simple math will tell you that America can not completely wean itself off of OPEC Crude through use of biofuels alone, but in the Near term Biodiesel is expected to increase in 2013 from 1 billion gallons to 1.3 billion gallons. Whatever the ultimate Energy fuel, in the immediate future, biodiesel from used cooking oil is here to stay.
The History of the Modern world is the History of Oil