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< Talk:Biodiesel
This is an archive of past discussions. Do not edit the contents of this page. If you wish to start a new discussion or revive an old one, please do so on the current talk page.
  • 7Removed redundant section
  • 17External Link for Biodiesel Fuel: News removed
  • 83US study
  • 89Yield Table
  • 93Environmental Benefits
  • 96Biodiesel lead section
    • 96.6How much is there?
  • 98Talk page maintenance

Older discussion

I deleted the reference to NRDC. See http://www.nrdc.org/air/transportation/biofuels.asp

Note that that is basically an advocacy piece with insubstantiated numbers and that it never mentions biodiesel. The NRDC has always favored ethanol over biodiesel even though ethenol has a lower energy balance. Cellulosic has potential to be better of course. But anyway I couldn't find the NRDC position paper that I used to support the bit on them, so it's fine removing it. - TaxmanTalk 18:47, 28 April 2006 (UTC)

R1 : Alkyl radical.

? This should be alkyl group, not radical. You won't be doing any radical chemistry in a solution that has -OH's floating around, not to mention the amount of energy it would take to generate alkyl radicals.

CodeCannon 10:05, 18 Nov 2003 (Eastern)

I reverted the removal of the description of the army study that encountered problems with filter clogging. If you wish to remove it, please state your reasons. Kat 16:09, 6 Aug 2003 (UTC)

These statements puzzle me and seem contradictory 'It is practically immiscible with water.' and 'Biodiesel is hydrophilic. Some of the water present is residual to processing, and some comes from storage tank condensation.' It does not seem like both can be true.

This paragraph puzzles me:

'The issue is economic: one of the exceptions Nassau Senior noted to the idea that machines aren't harmful to wages is, where the machines themselves make demands on resources that would have gone into food production. So the important question isn't whether biodiesel can be produced as whether that it is the most efficient use of resources, and the expense of biodiesel in comparison to traditional forms of diesel suggests that the answer is no.'

Is it badly written or some kind of economic theory (not my strong suit)? Can anyone elucidate? Rmhermen 16:24, 6 Aug 2003 (UTC)

I didn't write it, but I believe it is a response to critics of biofuels. Two common cricisism are: (1) it is said that there is no net gain because more than a gallon fossil fuel is used in production of a gallon of biodiesel; (2) biofuels are bad because they displace food production, and everyone knows we don't have nearly enough soybeans as evidenced by their high price. I don't buy into either of these arguments, especially not (2). The paragraph in question appears to be an attempt to address one or the other or both. Kat 17:13, 6 Aug 2003 (UTC)

If 1 is correct it needs to be added to the article but I don't know if it can be. Certainly the debate should be clarified. Rmhermen 17:16, 6 Aug 2003 (UTC)

As for (1), why isn't the negative net gain for biofuel research from David Pimentel (Cornell University) and Tad W. Patzek (Berkeley) not brought up in the article? The news link from Cornell is here: http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/July05/ethanol.toocostly.ssl.html

Summary: This research indicates that using plants for fuel sources results in a net energy loss, e.g. system wide, it takes more energy to create biofuel than the resultant biofuel contatins.

To the frequent editor with no username: Please provide evidence where biodiesel is cheaper than petrodiesel. As I have added to the article it is still more expensive in the U.S. (but getting closer all the time). A different tax structure in another country could easily make up this difference. Also the sentence you keep adding is trying to change a necessary rebuttal paragraph into another advocacy paragraph. The article has to present an balanced point of view (NPOV). If you can find evidence, please put it in the appropriate place. By the way, in the U.S. at least diesel and gas are cheaper in real and inflation-adjusted dollars now than at the time of the gas crisis. And the wars (which?) have never produced a permanent price change. Rmhermen 18:29, Aug 8, 2003 (UTC)

The U.S. is not the only country in the world, for sure (wikipedia is world neutral, not national encyclopedia). But you don´t see the historic movement. Biodiesel wasn´t used in the original diesel engine, but VEGOIL (peanut vegetable oil). Ones say the change from vegoi ( not biodiesel, read, no biodiesel, no biodiesel) was because of a conspiration, and another because of the cheaper petroleum prices.

But this nowadays is no true. Vegetable oil is cheaper than petroleum ( the original fight was between vegoil , read again vegoil, and petroleum).

Is vegetable oil cheaper than petroleum? . For sure:

  • ' .. if you want to use waste vegetable oil, which is often free.. (http://journeytoforever.org/biodiesel_svo.html)
  • And for biodiesel : There are already a few small scale producers of bio-diesel in the country, selling their product for a few pence cheaper than normal diesel ( http://www.sciencenet.org.uk/news/2003/0103/lpg.html)
  • The alternative fuel, made by chemically separating glycerin from fat or vegetable oil, is cheaper and burns much cleaner than diesel (http://www.bbiethanol.com/news/view.cgi?article=808)
  • Jacobs said biodiesel performed better and was cheaper than petroleum diesel (http://www.suntimes.co.za/2001/12/16/news/news22.asp)
  • Furthermore, Hop Shing Bio-diesel is cheaper than the petroleum diesel.(http://hk.geocities.com/hopshing66/)
  • And biodiesel process: the process, Leue notes on his Web site, is far simpler and cheaper than what's needed to refine petroleum (http://www.spinninglobe.net/connbio.htm).
The problem with those web pages is that they contradict direct experience. In the United States, diesel currently costs about $1.50/gallon and about a third of that is tax. Home fuel oil is about $0.90/gallon. Vegetable oil here costs about $4.00/gallon from a supermarket. If you can show me some actual price quotes where fuel vegetable oil is cheaper than diesel, I would be appreciative.
Also waste vegetable oil is nowhere near free. It's about $1.00/gallon. There is heavy demand for waste oil to make animal feed.

In the midwestern US, where soybean oil is produced, biodiesel is still more costly than fossil fuel. I can get price quotes, or you can ring the local petroleum dealer if you want. And biodiesel production is subsidized where fossil fuel production is not. Some of the animal tallow based formulations are showing more potential for low cost, since the tallow is cheaper than soybean oil.

I must say that I am skeptical of claims regarding biodiesel made from waste oil sources. The fiddly engineering problems in waste oil processing affect transesterification just as they do building a burner or engine. To my knowledge, they have not been solved in an economically effective way. Can you cite any sources--newspaper, magazine, etc-- to back up your claims? Kat 01:41, 9 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Reworking the external links

I removed the following links:

Not very relevant, only sketchy information or what is already well understood:http://www.eere.energy.gov/biomass/http://www.nrel.gov/http://www.biodieselnow.com/http://www.greenfuels.org/biodiesel/index.htmhttp://www.biofuelcanada.ca/

http://www.intertek-cb.com/newsitetest/news/biodiesel03102003.shtml - not authoritative site on ASTM specifications

http://www.journeytoforever.org/biodiesel.html - NPOV - more advocacy than objectivity

-- 17:43, 14 April 2006 (UTC)

I removed some links for the following reasons

  • http://www.green-trust.org/ Is now just an advert for a consulting firm
  • Your first batch of biodiesel - Needs to be put into the making biodiesel articles, not here
  • http://www.biodieselcanadainc.com/ - Was a link to a single producers site. Innapropriate as advertising

Thanks - Taxman 17:17, Jul 31, 2004 (UTC)

green-trust.org was recently added again. The site seems barely tangentially connected to biodiesel, with not much to offer as a reference directly related to biodiesel it seems. Especially in comparison to the other listed external links. It is primarily a blog with links to articles on other sites, and a copy of some wikipedia material. Therefore I am considering removing it, but would like comment from others. - Taxman 16:46, Sep 9, 2004 (UTC)
Remove. It's an interesting site, but isn't a direct resource on biodiesel. I think the links are a bit cluttered. I'm also not sure that we need a see also link to Batch. - Satori 20:04, Sep 10, 2004 (UTC)

Ok I removed a bunch more. This article really seems to be a magnet for every site that mentions biodiesel to want to get linked from here. Here are the ones I removed:

  • BioDiesel & Alternative Fuel Cars .
  •] Water heater based biodiesel reactor
  • http://www.green-trust.org/wiki/index.php?title=Biofuels (Again again)

They are all either not very directly related to biodiesel or not high quality. - TaxmanTalk 15:02, Jun 15, 2005 (UTC)

I think this link is worth including: http://i-r-squared.blogspot.com/2006/03/biodiesel-king-of-alternative-fuels.html It is written by a chemical engineer, and has a good comparison of ethanol versus biodiesel in the first section.

Major need for a picture

One of the requirements to be a featured article is for a GFDL or PD picture or diagram representing the topic. Does anyone have one or can think of one to use? - Taxman 17:17, Jul 31, 2004 (UTC)

Having a picture is not actually a requirement for a featured article; however, it would not ever be shown on the front page without some kind of associated picture which could be something that need not be in the article itself. Something like a gas pump would probably do. Of course a labeled biodiesel pump would be even better. Rmhermen 02:55, Aug 1, 2004 (UTC)
Well, the current pic is a good one, and a pic is a de-facto requirement if not an actual one. Essentially no article without a picture goes un-objected. - Taxman 21:00, Aug 3, 2004 (UTC)
Is there a reason for the picture being such a small thumbnail? - Quirk 13:13, 8 September 2005 (UTC)

Legal Ramifications in UK

I did add a little bit (since removed) that pointed out the UKP2,000 fine and possible jail sentence for using your own biodiesel in the UK. Don't the Poms deserve some kind of warning?

A few things, per your account they were not using biodiesel. 'mixing cooking oil with methanol' is not biodiesel. Second is that you didn't make sure to narratively fit what you wrote in with what came before it. Third is any country will try to enforce the fuel tax on any fuel for road use, whether produced by a big refinery or by a town. That tax pays for the roads. It's not a fine for using biodiesel, it is a fine for tax evasion. So what you added has very little relevance to biodiesel. - Taxman 12:17, Aug 4, 2004 (UTC)

I think the press reports I referred to that talked of 'mixing methanol with cooking oil' may have missed out the necessity of adding caustic soda.

I did try to fit it in nicely. I'm a journalist and used to doing that kind of thing thank you very much.

And thirdly they were fined for using biodiesel, and avoiding the tax on it - not just one person but a whole bunch of them. To me that makes it relevant to biodiesel. There's a lot of information on cost comparison in the page, which is economics but which you leave in. Do try to run your page on consistent lines. - Vik :v)

If it's 'non-flammable,' how in the ever-lovin' blue-eyed world can it be burned in a diesel engine?User:sca

  • The technical definition of flammability is that it will support a fire at normal temperatures (OSHA defines as 100 degrees F.). The inside of a diesel engine is intentionally much much hotter. I notice that we don't have an article on the topic. Rmhermen 20:40, Aug 10, 2004 (UTC)

78.45% instead of 100% CO2 reduction?

From the article: Biodiesel reduces emissions of carbon monoxide (CO) by approximately 50% and carbon dioxide by 78.45% on a net basis.. Mmm.. if net emissions of CO2 are reduced by 78.45%, where do the 21.55% come from? Where does the extra carbon we are releasing into the atmosphere come from? --Deragon 17:15, 11 Aug 2004 (UTC)

The study that number is quoted from is the lifecycle analysis one referenced in the article. I believe it takes into account the carbon released from using fossil fuel to produce the methanol needed for the reaction, but I haven't re-read the paper in a while. Currently it is more efficient to use methanol produced from fossil fuel. - Taxman 22:57, Aug 16, 2004 (UTC)

I'm not an expert on fuel technologies, but these statistics appear biased to me and undermine the article. In common usage, a claim that product x reduces emissions vs. product y implies a measurement at the tailpipe. Not the lifecycle measurement. In fact, the energy to grow, process, and transport a soybean product, for example, certainly generates some amount of CO2 emission to offset the amount claimed captured by the soybean. Also, growing, harvesting, processing/refining soybeans is certainly more energy-intensive than drilling for oil or gas. Consequently, as a layperson, I find the claims of reduced emissions disingenuous at best. --[User:Guest]] 22:59, Jun 7, 2005

Well, the number is directly from the 1998 NREL lifecycle study, and that is far better than us trying to come up with a number, or original research to explain the issue. Now that you point it out though, it would be better to create a citation in the text to the study and note that the number is on a lifecycle basis, so I'll do that. If you read the paper you'll find it accounts for many of the things you mention. Also please sign with four tilde's like ~~~~. Thanks - TaxmanTalk 13:48, Jun 8, 2005 (UTC)

Per Capita use?

The article states that the United States uses more energy per capita than any other country. I'm not sure that this statement is entirely true. I believe I once found that Canada actually had a higher per capita energy use than the United States.Perhaps someone could investigate this possibility futher? --Silver86 06:15, 26 Nov 2004 (UTC)

According to this [1] the US is actually fourth, Canada is third. United Arab Emirates and Kuwait are one and two. Rmhermen 16:14, Nov 26, 2004 (UTC)

Thanks for looking into the possibility. While it may not have seemed important to some, I like to point out the small things I see in articles. --Silver86 06:07, 4 Dec 2004 (UTC)

And wikipedia is better for having you do it. Please keep it up. - Taxman 06:40, Dec 4, 2004 (UTC)

Removed redundant section

The following was already in the intro and there is already a section covering the properties. Possibly if much more detailed list of chemical properties was produced, it could be added back as a subsection. - Taxman 13:46, Nov 29, 2004 (UTC)

Physical and Chemical Properties

  • Flash Point - 150 °C

More removed material

I couldn't find a source to verify the following, and I believe it is out of date, and not entirely correct, so I removed it. In any case, it would be better to include a more general discussion of availability in Europe. So far the only sources I can find in English are about the US. I do know production is as high or higher in Europe though. Anybody have any good sources? - Taxman 00:12, Dec 8, 2004 (UTC)

Biodiesel is available in the United Kingdom, at prices comparable with petroleum-based diesel - high fuel taxation making the cost of production a small fraction of the retail cost - but is so far not widely available or in very great demand.
See this article from Guardian for some recent European and British info. Rmhermen 01:08, Dec 8, 2004 (UTC)

Farming drawbacks to biodiesel production

The article states:'Some environmental groups, notably NRDC object to the vast amount of farming and the resulting over-fertilization, pesticide use, and land use conversion that would be needed to produce the additional vegetable oil.'

I'd like to see references to flesh out this point. My own search of the NRDC web site does not substantiate this idea. It's an important point, though, which is why I'd like to get more information.

I wrote that. I didn't cite a reference because the NRDC's position papers are not published, so it would just be a website. I should have linked the position paper anyway. If you have something that shows them as less negative on biodiesel I would be interested too. Basically the position paper that I read from them was against biodiesel for the above reasons, and also because it is usually mixed with petroleum diesel in actual usage. Their position was that this allows people to not switch to even better, cleaner options. That is odd because they seemed to support CNG, which is a fossil fuel. They also seem to be on the ethanol bandwagon even though ethanol has a much poorer energy balance than biodiesel currently. Another bit that made their position odd. Here is one link were they oppose diesel, but don't even consider biodiesel over CNG. Here is another where every alternative is considered except biodiesel. Another point is that a search for biodiesel on their site leads to almost nothing, while a search for CNG gets lots. I cannot find the original research paper that I found the point in the article, but read the link provided in the above section, it basically supports the same farm problem idea. - Taxman 13:01, Dec 9, 2004 (UTC)
I too have searched the NRDC web site, and have found nothing but neutral to positive statements on biodiesel. The article concerning diesel you reference does not explicitly mention biodiesel, though it very quietly suggests it is superior to CNG: 'NRDC has helped show that compressed natural gas is an affordable, cleaner alternative fuel for buses and some trucks.. A more far-reaching solution: change the chemistry of diesel fuel itself. .. Reducing sulfur levels in diesel fuel to near-zero levels .. will make an enormous positive impact on public health by enabling the use of advanced pollution-control devices in diesel vehicles that can make them more than 90 percent cleaner.' Biodiesel of course contains a zero or near-zero level of sulfur [citation needed] and offers an almost across the board reduction in emissions. Other pages on the site (123) mention biodiesel in a positive light or talk of the benefits of reducing sulfur levels, explicitly mentioning biodiesel. No doubt many environmentalist groups object to the practices of conventional and industrial agriculture, but it is possible to increase biodiesel production without over-fertilization or pesticide use (using organic methods in their stead) or land conversion (e.g. if demand for the soybeans currently being grown was reduced due to a mass conversion to vegetarianism or an EPA ban on trans fatty acids)--indeed even without using land or fresh water as stated elsewhere in the Wikipedia article--so without a reference to an environmental group that actually opposes biodiesel, I feel the sentence should be reworked or removed. --M.R.

Disambiguation with straight vegetable oil

I've added a disambig after people repeatedly confused the two at Wikipedia:Votes for deletion/French fry car, which rather spectacularly demonstrates a need for greater clarity on this point. I'd hope this is an ugly temporary measure, and that the link can be incorporated into the text. And perhaps there is a better name for straight vegetable oil? Like most people it seems, I had assumed that the term biodiesel included the peanut oil on which the early demonstration diesel engine ran, but that seems not to be strictly true. At least that's the way the article reads now. Andrewa 19:39, 14 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Well I guess this article could be made clearer on that point yes. Part of the problem is that no matter how clear we are in this article people will still have their pre conceived notions and be confused anyway. That is because there is already a lot of confusion out there about the two concepts with lots of uninformed people calling unrefined vegetable oil biodiesel because it is from biological sources and it can be burnt in a diesel engine as SVO. Biodiesel, is what meets various standards for a motor fuel, and correctly speaking is always the transesterified stuff. SVO is related and is the very common term used to distinguish between proper biodiesel and unrefined vegetable oil. So there is not another term for it, SVO is the common one. Yes this article talks about peanut oil in the history, but it is just talking about the history of using vegetable oil sources, but never says they were transesterified. I hope I cleared that one up a bit. I'll try and think of how to make the intro more clear on this point to avoid the disambig message. - Taxman 23:07, Feb 14, 2005 (UTC)
Sounds good. I've learned something. It seems to me the distinction is very important, as there's considerable potential for damage to engines and bad rumours (which vested interests would love) if people do confuse the two approaches.
Let me know if I can help in any way. Andrewa 23:31, 14 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Yes that is correct. Have an idea for how the intro can make that clear without butchering itself too bad? - Taxman 00:09, Feb 15, 2005 (UTC)
Have a look at the refactor I just did of waste vegetable oil. Feel free to correct, modify, copy or move material if it helps (I shouldn't need to say that but it probably doesn't hurt) to get a set of articles which work well both together and individually. Note the copy, I don't think a bit of duplication between the biodiesel, waste vegetable oil and straight vegetable oil articles is necessarily a bad thing. Of course we don't want excessive duplication. Andrewa 12:26, 15 Feb 2005 (UTC)

The one complaint I have is the reference to 3 million gallons annual in America of WVO. Other sources on the web (such as biodiesel.org and Willie Nelson's BioWillie) state a much higher number at 3 billion. I am not sure if the poster had a typo or what. Currently millions (if not billions) of gallons of WVO are being dumped into landfills. Can someone confirm?

Well I got that 3 million gallons figure from one of the sources I used. I should really mark more of these because I can't recall which one now. In any case the Business Management for Biodiesel Producers reference does include some recent numbers for total vegetable oil production in the US which does work out to 3 billion(US) gallons a year. This is apparently the number those you refer to are using. Now certainly not all of this is wasted, since some is consumed, some is made into animal feed etc. The EPA number is the number that only restaurants produce as waste, ignoring every other user of vegetable oil, so that makes the two numbers measurements of two very different things. That said the 3 million number sounds low, but it is from the source I had, so that is what I went with. If you don't agree with it please do try to find a more accurate source. - Taxman 01:56, Apr 14, 2005 (UTC)

Among other references - http://www.business2.com/b2/web/articles/0,17863,683903,00.html - shows the 3 billion gallon mark. If further references are needed - please let me know. A more interesting reference from a University - http://www.me.iastate.edu/biodiesel/Pages/bio1.html. I think Im getting into Wiki now - so I better sign up - TW. I signed up and the reference from Iowa State approximates to 2.95 billion gallons per year of vegetable oil, close to the 3 billion mark. Check the Iowa State reference. It seems as if all the million reference points should be billion (3 billion gallons, 23 billion lbs of vegetable/animal oil etc). And the Iowa state link has references itself, albeit from 2002 or 2003. Taxman can you update it?

More importantly, welcome to the Wiki, you'll be an addict soon. :) But on topic, I don't think it is prudent to update the numbers yet because: 1) You've missed the distinction I noted above between total vegetable oil produced, and that wasted (by restaurants and total) 2) You're not being careful with the difference between pounds and gallons in your first calculation 3) Neither of those are reliable sources for the amount of wasted vegetable oil (that is oil that is used in some way but is still oil) that is dumped or otherwise disposed of. Again, the number for total vegetable oil produced is not the same as the amount that becomes waste. The sticking point is a lot of people and sources confused those issues, so it is important to find a source that is well aware of the distinction. So if a reliable source can be found for the amount that is wasted that differs from the source I had, I'd be more than happy to update the article. I have noticed the number I put for vegetable oil is actually the total fat number so I need to fix that.(done) - Taxman 13:21, Apr 15, 2005 (UTC)
I have read that WVO is sold on the commodities market as 'yellow grease' which may provide another way to track down the amount. I also think 3 million is too low. Rmhermen 17:50, Apr 15, 2005 (UTC)
No, yellow grease is animal fat, not vegetable oil. The Van Gerpen reference shows that. Anyway, I found a pilot demonstration paper from an EPA office that gives a more reasonable sounding number than 3 million gallons. It lists 2.5 billion pounds, which works out to about 300 million gallons. The reason I don't find that source overly reliable is that a report from the same office puts the number at over 3 billion gallons, which is impossible since that is 100% of the countries' total production. Now the 2.5 billion number is the collected number, so the actual waste is some (probably small) percentage higher due to amounts that are not properly disposed. For a restaurant or potato chip factory for ex., improper disposal is a waste violation, so it is probably not too large, but who knows. This also only covers restaurant, not home use and waste, either down the drain or in the trash. I've not seen any studies or source that actually try to accurately estimate all sources of actual waste vegetable oil, so the article can't go into speculation, which is why I limited it to what information the source actually says. What we do know is the 3 billion gallon figure a lot of people claim is wrong, since not all vegetable oil produced in the country is wasted. - Taxman 14:44, Apr 19, 2005 (UTC)


What about using fat obtained via Liposuction to produce biodiesel? Think about all of the fat lazy americans who drive two blocks to the corner 'convenience store' for a pack of cigarettes, a bag of potato chips, a box of ho-ho's and a rack of cheap 'beer'. If they got liposuction and we turned the fat into biodiesel, then they actually walked to the corner gymnasium, it would save tons.

Perhaps a scented oil should be added to biodiesel, to make it smell nice when it's burned, similar to scented lamp oil you can get for 'kerosene' lamps?

It's happened/will biofuel promoter to power boat using human fatGoogle:biodiesel+boat+liposuction--E-Bod 02:32, 28 April 2006 (UTC)

Army study

In a study at a U.S. military base, a biodiesel blend was used as a replacement for heating oil at housing on the base.

A citation is needed for this paragraph; when was the study, and where? Tempshill 22:59, 1 September 2005 (UTC)

Yeah, I'll have to see if I can find that one, or else I'll remove it. Try a quick google search. I don't have time at the moment. - TaxmanTalk 23:42, September 1, 2005 (UTC)
U.S. military uses quite a bit of biodiesel. I remember that in that particular case they had to install filters because the biodiesel was dissolving 'sludge' out of the old oil storage tanks. I can't find the reference though. Rmhermen 13:34, September 6, 2005 (UTC)

I still can't find the Military study, but I'm against removing the material because the information there is correct according to a number of other sources I've seen. Also, the NBB website has a page on heating oil that lists a couple of studies, the best of which doesn't appear available for free. - TaxmanTalk 14:43, September 6, 2005 (UTC)

Some comments (20:53, 5 November 2005 (UTC))

I just read through the article and thought it was very good. There were a couple of minor things I thought might be improved:

  • Experiment with 50% biodiesel are underway
As of when? Later in the article, it talks about 100% having been successfully tested in certain cases, so 50% seems minor.
  • gel point and cloud point
These are both mentioned but not defined; A wikilink would be ideal, but neither term seems to have an article.
  • Situation in the UK
I saw a bit on Biodiesel on [Working Lunch] last week sometime, talking about biodiesel in the UK (Whales, specifically). Progress is quite minor compared to the other countries in the article and might not be notable, but it's worth checking up on (which I plan to do unless someone beats me to it). There's no information about the clip I saw, and I figure is not worth further research effort to say there's one pump in Whales somewhere –Jwanders 21:07, 5 November 2005 (UTC)
  • References
The article uses two reference styles; I've seen this objected to in FACs so fixing it should probably be added to the to-do list.

I like to help get this article to FA status, and think the next step is to take it through peer-review. Thoughts?

—Jwanders 20:53, 5 November 2005 (UTC)

If you notice the restructuring section above, I've been planning a reworking of the article because I believe it needs it. But I've even reworked that outline again into a format I think is even better, but I didn't post it because making a wiki outline is a pain. I have though assembled hundreds of source materials totalling umpteen thousands of pages (most of which I've read or skimmed), and unfortunately haven't been able to allocate the time to do the actual rewriting. I could figure out a way to make them all available to you if you wanted to go for it, and I will certainly try to upload my reworked outline, which I would appreciate if you would comment on. As for the two referencing styles, I split them into a notes section for the in line citations left the general references I used in the references section. That's a fairly common way to do it, but it could still use some clean up for consistency, as I've used Harvard references in places. - TaxmanTalk 13:58, 6 November 2005 (UTC)
Great! Yeah, I'd be happy to take a crack at filling in your (new) outline. The concept of reading through 'umpteen thousands of pages' shockingly doesn't strike me as a fun thing to do—perhaps you could send me the updated online and a short-list of the most useful sources (max: about 10 pages). I can use that to draft a revamped article which we can use the rest of the sources to build on as necessary.
What's the best way to pass contact info across Wikipedia? Describing an email address on a page which is accessible to anyone and will always exist strikes me as a Bad Idea. —Jwanders 15:21, 6 November 2005 (UTC)

The issue in this article (effect of deforestation) should be addressed in the Wikipedia entry. Rd232talk 14:42, 8 December 2005 (UTC)

Algal cultivation for the production of biodiesel

Moved in from Talk:Algae:Hi, i'm writing this to get some information about biodiesel production fromalgae. I first got interested in biodiesel when i came across somedo-it-yourself tutorials on how to make your own biodiesel, using wastevegetable oil. I was very interested in this, especially since thetutorials said that you could get the WVO for free from fast foodresturaunts. But with energy shortages, the high price of gas, and thelack of significant public transportation, once fast food chains andslaughterhouses see their waste being used to produce something valuableit seems that it will only be a matter of time until that free-supplywill be taken away, either by no longer giving the oil away, but sellingit, or having it contracted out,(which seems more likely once ultra-lowsulfur requirements go into effect for regular diesel). Without astable supply of oil, any investment into a biodiesel system,(aproccessor, a diesel car, diesel generators for electricity), seemdangerous. I started looking at oil crops, and was surprised by theyields, you hear so much about soy-biodiesel, but it turns out to be oneof the worst of the oil producing crops. There were a couple of cropsthat were slightly better than the rest,(jatropa, and palm), but they'reboth regional, and no good unless you live in those areas. Then I seethe next leap, from 635gpa for palm oil, to 5,000 to 20,000gpa for sometypes of algae. The implications of something like that seemed amazing,a single family doesn't use anywhere near the equivalent of 10-20thousand gallons per acre of oil, and to meet their energy needs couldset up a system at a tenth of that size, or use a swimming pool, andessentially be energy independent. But then there was no informationabout it. After searching around the internet I found the DOE's AquaticSpecies Program www.eere.energy.gov, and I found the University of New Hampshires; Widescale Biodiesel Production from Algae page www.unh.edu The DOE's report presented alot of information that I didn't know before, but overall it seemed to describe a program that didn't work, at least for a cost-efficient meansfor producing biodiesel. And then there was the UNH page, which gave thesame numbers, but then went on to talk about how great such a systemwould be, and presented next to nothing about details. Since thenI've been searching the internet for anything about algal cultivation,harvesting, or processing, and have found out alot about algae; it's usein CO2 mitigation, for the production of hydrogen, as a health food, fordyes and medicines, but most all of the information that i've found forthe production of biodiesel seems to be rehashed, always citing the samefew papers. Every once in awhile I find some specific information aboutan aspect of production, but i haven't found anything about anintegrated, fully functioning system that is successfully producinganywhere near the quantities that have been estimated, i've gotten theimpression that there is alot of private research going on, but i can'tfind any specifics about it.

For the efficient cultivation of algae for the production of biodiesel, this is a list of specific questions that i am tring to find answers to:

what algal species are proving most successful for producing the largestamounts of oil, including the whole process, cultivation, harvesting,and extraction of oil.(much of the information i've found will cite aspecies that only performs well in one aspect, ie. it will grow well,but is expensive to harvest, or it's easy to harvest, but has a loweroil content.)

what temperature range do they do best in

is there an optimum depth for a tank or pond(ie- 4 inches of water, 5 feet, etc), in which the algae grow best, or is it more a matter of light penetration

do freshwater, or saltwater species seem to be more promising

if saltwater, does the salt you put into the water get consumed, needingto be replaced often, or is it a one-time thing

where can you inexpensively obtain specific species of algae,(i know ofthe university of Hawaii, i was looking for cheaper sources, perhapssomeone doing research themselves within the connected U.S.)

what are the most cost-efficient means that are being used to harvesthigh-oil content algae, (i know of microscreens, flocculation, andcentrifugation.)

how do you extract oil from algae(the only method i've seen is to dry itand then press it out)

what is the most efficient means of growing algae, open-pond,photobioreactor, green-house pond, polyethylene sleeves, tanks.

where do you get the nutrients for the algae, aside from expensive'fresh' fertilizer used for food crops,(i know about waste water, andfertilizer runoff, but i'm looking for efficient sources for if youdon't live by a stream, or a sewage plant)

i've read that algae need only 1/10 the amount of light they recieve togrow, and was wondering whether it can be grow successfully usingflorecents, i don't know what spectrum light algae need to grow

how do you get CO2 into the water of an algae system,(do you have tocompress it and pump it in, or some type of permeable membrane?)

how do you collect or seperate CO2, from the air, or from smoke, like ina coal plant

could a modification of a septic tank be used as an algae pond, thehuman waste being used as nutrient for the algae

what scientific equipment do you need to start an oil-producing algaepond, for a basic, home system(microscopes, ph-meter, etc)

could the exhaust from a wood stove be used to supply a pond with CO2

do you know of anyone, -university, corporation, individual-, who iscurrently doing research on biodiesel production from algae, espesciallyactual working systems.

If anyone reading this post has information about any of these questions please post it under the Wikipedia entry:

  • www.bio.utexas.edu/ algal cultures available for purchase www.ccap.ac.uk algal cultures available for purchase(UK)
  • biodieselnow.com biodiesel production-biodiesel from algae
  • europa.eu.int Biofuels production from microalgae after heterotrophic growth.(pdf file)
  • www.phyco.org; a wiki-based site that is focused on energy production from algae.
  • www.ornl.govOak Ridge National Laboratory, photobioreactor system using glow plates.
  • [2]Greenfuels photobioreactor at M.I.T.
  • www.aquasearch.comMethods of microalgae cultivation, photobioreactor.
  • www.bgu.ac.il Use of polyethylene sleeves for outdoor cultivation, Glass-tube bioreactor.
  • www.fao.org Algal production.
  • www.dabney.com Closed-pond system.
  • www.martekbio.com fermentation tanks for algal production

Algae resources(general)

posted by Daemon(not registered-wikipedia requires cookies) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:36, 26 January 2006 (UTC)

Moved to bottom of talk page as per standard convention. Well, this is the main article about biodiesel. It's not appropriate to go into a detailed discussion in the article about biodiesel production from algae because there is so much else that needs to be covered. Further detail could be covered in an article dedicated to the topic such as Algal biodiesel. But remember Wikipedia is a place centered around collaboratively building reference material, not to discuss how to's. I'm also not sure why you left a long list of questions and also a long list of links. If you already have the links, why are you posting them for us if they don't have your answers? But to answer your overall question, it is not yet publicly known if there's going to be a cost efficient way to produce oil from algae. The current research into it seems to be being done by private companies that are trying to commericallize the method so they're not releasing details in order to try to gain a competitive advantage. So basically most of your questions are not publicly known. And registration here does require cookies, but they don't do anything sneaky with them and it actually allows more privacy by not making your IP address public. - TaxmanTalk 22:20, 26 January 2006 (UTC)

In case somebody manages to have the time, I found an article which may give extra material for either this article, or the Algal biodiesel article proposed above. Essentially a company in NZ has managed to produce biodiesel using a variety of algae commonly found in sewage ponds. Link here: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/story.cfm?c_id=1&ObjectID=1038140483.67.100.39 21:57, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

Question about environmental benefits

Biodiesel reduces emissions of carbon monoxide (CO) by approximately 50 % and carbon dioxide by 78 % on a net lifecycle basis because the carbon in biodiesel emissions is recycled from carbon that was already in the atmosphere, rather than being new carbon from petroleum that was sequestered in the earth's crust. (Sheehan, 1998)

Does anyone have a link to the source matireal for this?

This statement only works if the crops that you get your oil from were organically grown, otherwise you're discounting the all the CO, and CO2 that went into the production of the chemical fertilizers, which are made from petroleum sequestered in the earth's crust. If chemical fertilizers are made specifically for the production of oil crops for biodiesel, then chemical fertilizers are part of the 'lifecycle' productiion of biodiesel

If the statement is just about the emissions of biodiesel from a diesel engine, then it may be true, but that isn't a 'lifecycle' estimate.


The source is cited in the article. It's the second source in the references section. It did in fact include many if not all of those factors you list. You can read the report for more details. - TaxmanTalk 16:01, 19 February 2006 (UTC)

Questioning Environmental and Efficiency Benefits

I am not an expert on biodiesel, but a few points in this article seem to be flawed in my opinion. In the case of biodiesel made from oilseed, certain energy and environmental costs are not mentioned in the article.

The article does not mention the following environmental costs:

1) the cost of clear-cutting natural ecosystems to produce any significant percentage of current diesel in use

2) the cost of monoculture crops on biodiversity

3) the cost of fertilizers used on watershed quality

4) the costs of soil fertility depletion by industrial agricultural practices

In the case of efficiency, the TVA study by Van Dyne and Raymer does not look convincing for the following reasons:

1) The energy inputted seems unreasonably low. This would make sense if it only included on-farm consumption of liquid fuel. A true look at energy return on investment would include all of the energy inputted to produce, transport and process the involved fertilizers and pesticides, as well as the energy inputted to process the oilseed. The energy efficiency ratios included in this article are better than that for extracting light crude oil, which seems absolutely impossible. As far as I know, there has been no comprehensive study looking at the energy efficiency of biodiesel. One such study has been done for ethanol by David Pimentel, which shows ethanol to be an energy-negative fuel.

2) Different crops require different energy inputs due to their specific needs and cultivation time requirements. The study is reported to just provide a national average, rather than being specific to oilseed crops

3) There is no reference for the study (neither citation nor year), and a Google search yielded only citations by biodiesel advocacy groups, in exactly the same language as this article.Jfeldman Feb. 20, 2006

I moved your comment to the bottom because that's where new conversations go by convention. A few points. 1) I'd be fine taking out the whole bit referring to Van Dayne and Raymer because I don't think it adds anything not already covered with specific sources. Pimental's study is not taken seriously by anyone in the scientific community. It was easily shown that he used old numbers and poor methods. It seems his piece wasn't about getting at the truth. There are plenty of studies looking at the energy efficiency, read the sources cited in the article. 2) If you want to cover the environmental costs find high quality studies on them and cite them or point them out here for discussion. We can't add material we don't have references for. - TaxmanTalk 09:39, 21 February 2006 (UTC)
I restored some edits of mine concerning land use for palm oil production that were removed by an anon editor in January and replaced with the following: 'Palm oil so far proved to be efficient as biodiesel.' I don't think this new edit was particularly informative. The restored paragraph refers to a report by Friends of the Earth and a column by George Montbiot. These are not (especially the Montbiot column) primary sources. But, they do cover the ongoing debate in the environmental community over the net benefits of biofuels. Any better sources would, of course, help. Anyone familiar with the peer-reviewed literature? Gwimpey 20:58, 21 February 2006 (UTC)
Addendum: I have modified the restored edits for style and NPOV. Even my writing isn't always perfect ;) Gwimpey 21:05, 21 February 2006 (UTC)

External Link for Biodiesel Fuel: News removed

I placed the following link in the external links section:

I am not sure why the link was removed - I thought it was related to the subject, and a good resource.

Thanks! User:Alex Ramon

Follow up on Biodiesel Link

March 22, 2006

I am still curious as to whether or not my external link will be allowed on this page. Biodiesel Fuel: News. I have been checking back here for a month and no reply. I work very hard to build and maintain the site where you can get the latest news about Biodiesel Fuel - updated daily.

Is that relevant for this page?

It's not irrelevant, but that's not really the point. It's a news aggregator more or less. I'll put it in my personal bookmarks, but there are already too many links in the external links section. Everyone wants links to their own website in there, but we can't do that. We have to pick only particularly prominent or important ones. - TaxmanTalk 13:18, 23 March 2006 (UTC)

Ok, thanks - I will keep linking to this page from my website regardless as I think this is an excellent resource.

That's right - the section should only have one link to Dmoz - any more than that is too many!

# 2.1 Two real-world issues involving the use of biodiesel

I think this section needs to cite more sources. And perhaps some touch-ups? Who is 'we' that section refers to and where did the 'see operations'? Did they just copy that text from somewhere?-- 16:31, 1 March 2006 (UTC)

Numbering of Notes

The numbering of the notes is seriously off. Note 12 and should be at 16 for example.. 06:25, 11 March 2006 (UTC)

biodiesel power 'blook' wins award

In the Guardian yesterday http://books.guardian.co.uk/news/articles/0,1745535,00.html there is a report on the Blooker Prize, a new prize for books which have resulted from blogs. The runner-up in the non-fiction category was BIODIESEL POWER: The Passion, the People, and the Politics of the Next Renewable FuelBy Lyle Estill, http://www.biofuels.coop/book.shtml and the source blog was http://energy.biofuels.coop/. Should this get a mention? --Salix alba (talk) 11:08, 4 April 2006 (UTC)

Biodiesel around the World

I split off the topic 'availability' to a new page to make the parent page more readable. I hope this is a positive change. If anyone disagrees, perhaps we can discuss it here. --Rifleman 82 15:36, 28 April 2006 (UTC)

Makes sense, it was getting too long. This article needs a summary though, properly balanced in coverage and POV, if you want to try your hand at it. See Wikipedia:Summary style. - TaxmanTalk 18:42, 28 April 2006 (UTC)
Good work on the page. I concur, we should still maintain a summary regarding the new 'availability' page.
Mytwocents 05:04, 7 May 2006 (UTC)


Ibp 115 2 Crack Fully Working Solar

I rewrote the article to try to reduce the duplicating information generated by the piecemeal nature of edits, and tried to reorganize the information from the most important (Biodiesel#Description, Biodiesel#Applications) to the less important (Biodiesel#Historical background, Biodiesel#Current Research). Edits were made in good faith, and I hope it is a positive change.

Biodiesel#Environmental benefits is a tarbaby. It is messy and some claims appear dubious to me. It needs to be un-listed and wikified. Perhaps someone can take on this task.

I suggest that Biodiesel#Efficiency and Economic Arguments be spun off to a new article, leaving a summary of the major arguments for and against.

Comments on my edits? --Rifleman 82 21:04, 4 May 2006 (UTC)

oxymoron? paradox? just plain stupid statement?

Biodiesel is a light to dark yellow colorless liquid.

How can something colorless be described as light, dark, or yellow?

Perhaps 'they mean light to dark yellow clear liquid.'?
Mytwocents 04:56, 7 May 2006 (UTC)
Crude biodiesel is a cloudy pale yellow liquid, while washed biodiesel is still a straw yellow color and it is transclucent. The image at the top of the article page does not appear to be a biodiesel sample but rather the glycerol containing byproduct of the synthesis (in other words the waste result). I will try to upload a better photo over the next few weeks as larger amounts of biodiesel are made. Das Nerd 23:36, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
Actually, it depends on the feedstock and the processing. The image could very well be pure biodiesel. - TaxmanTalk 20:51, 12 June 2006 (UTC)

Biodiesel from sewage

A New Zealand company has announced that it has successfully extracted biodiesel from sewage [3]. I'm not sure whether this should be included on this page, I just thought I'd bring it to the attention of the regular editors here.

Actually this is another application of biodiesel from algae. Rmhermen 03:26, 12 May 2006 (UTC)

Sulfur Content of Biodiesel

A number of paragraphs in the above discussion and the associated wiki entry claim that biodiesel is sulfur free without providing evidence. Sulfur is common in nature and is part of many biological substances, such as amino acids. Some biodiesel manufacturers use sulfuric acid and other sulfur containing species as a catalyst, and the sulfur is not recovered. Also, the term 'sulfur-free' is highly subjective. Do you consider less than 10 ppm sulfur free? 1 ppm sulfur is enough to degrade fuel cells. 10 ppm or less may deactivate certain catalysts over time. UPDATE: I found a page on Pacific Biodiesel's site that shows nominal sulfur content: http://www.biodiesel.com/why_biodiesel.htm According to this, it is typically between 0.012 and 0.023% by weight, between 33% and 66% the sulfur content of low sulfur diesel. Clearly this is not sulfur free. I notice Willie Nelson's biodiesel site claims that biodiesel reduces sulfur emissions by 100%. It seems this misinformation is widespread. According to Chevron, 0.05% sulfur diesel is currently in use in the US, and starting in 2007, we will be switching to 0.015% Sulfur diesel (ULSD). So based on current Diesel fuel, it is only a 50-75% decrease in Sulfur, and based on next year's diesel it is anywhere from a 20% decrease, to a 60% increase in Sulfur. This indicates that not all biodiesel is ULSD. I don't believe the Pacific Biodiesel numbers include sulfur added from sulfur containing catalysts. It seems most claims on the internet of biodiesel being sulfur free are based purely on speculation and not fact.

Good catch. In fact lots of promotional information about biodiesel is just repeated from other promotional material without checking. I've tried to rectify that for everything in this article, but I haven't gotten to the whole thing. Soy biodiesel does have nearly negligible sulfur unless treated with sulfuric acid, and that would only be done if acid esterification is needed to reduce the FFAs to an acceptable level. Virgin vegetable oil feedstocks wouldn't need that. I did find a paper Biodiesel Performance, Costs, and Use by Anthony Radich that notes 'Yellow grease biodiesel may have up to 24 parts per million sulfur, which exceeds the limit for ultra-low-sulfur diesel.' There isn't much yellow grease biodiesel produced due to it's cold flow properties though. In addition the sulfur could be processed out of course. - TaxmanTalk 20:48, 12 June 2006 (UTC)
I just noticed a miscalculation I made in the ULSD numbers. The sulfur content for S500, and S15 (ULSD) is 500 ppmw and 15 ppmw respectively, which would correspond to 0.05% and 0.0015% sulfur by weight. Now, if the Pacific Diesel website is correct, biodiesel contains between 120 and 230 ppmw of sulfur. From what I've seen, the sulfur content of the fuel has a somewhat exponential relationship with catalyst life, so these sulfur levels would render catalytic converters inoperable in a short amount of time, possibly within several thousand miles/km. It is interesting the numbers you found for the yellow grease. That is about an order of magnitude less than the Pacific Biodiesel's numbers. I am curious whether there are any papers out there with the results of running biodiesel through a gas chromatograph to measure sulfur. I know the content of petrodiesel can vary by more than an order of magnitude from one barrel to the next, and I would imagine the same might be true of biodiesel. And it leaves the question of how will the economics of biodiesel be impacted if its necessary to perform hydrodesulfurization to keep the sulfur levels in check. If anyone finds any other sources which have measured sulfur levels, please do post them! Smilla0 12:56, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
Just found another source, Brownfield Biodiesel. They say 'Biodiesel typically contains less than 15 parts per million (ppm) sulfur (sometimes as low as zero). Some biodiesel produced today may exceed 15 ppm sulfur, and those producers will be required to reduce those levels by 2006 if the biodiesel is sold into on-road markets.' (http://www.brownfieldbiodiesel.com/wst_page5.html) Smilla0 13:30, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
Here's another from the US Department of Energy: (http://www.eere.energy.gov/afdc/altfuel/whatis_biodiesel.html) The table on this page lists it as being between 0 and 24 ppmw. Yet on the same page the text declares it to be under 15 ppm. I'm beginning to wonder if the Pacific Biodiesel numbers were missing a zero, as this would correlate better with other numbers I've been seeing. Smilla0 13:57, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

Latest Edits

I removed the chart on oil production levels to trim it the article to length. I also removed the dead notes, which are a waste of bytes. Ordered the 'see also' section by alphabets, and removed a duplicated link (appropriate technology). Added the expert tag on the claims of the benefits of biodiesel - some dubious, some just need a cite.

Tried to clean up the language for consistency as well.

--Rifleman 82 17:56, 1 July 2006 (UTC)

I strongly suggest the table be restored. It concisely illustrates key characteristics of biodiesel viability from a yield standpoint. This is one of the most misunderstood elements of any alternative transportation fuel, and the table helped clarify that. Joema 13:49, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
In line with the above, restored yield table and provided reference. Reworded intro paragraphs to make more logical and readable. Any questions, please discuss here. Joema 15:47, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

Minnesota mandate

I recommend adding something like this to the history:

In Sept 2005 Minnesota became the first state to require that all diesel fuel sold in that state contain part biodiesel. The Minnesota law requires at least 2% biodiesel in all diesel fuel sold.[4]

-- 16:21, 7 August 2006 (UTC)

Better alternatives-section

I think that a section should be added labeled Better alternatives in witch the following is mentioned:

  • That biodiesel still pollutes (+how much)
  • That is thus more environmentally friendly to switch to a non-polluting fuel (e.g. air engine, hydrogen engine)
  • That biodiesel can only be regarded as a temporary measure to ease transition between conventional fuels and hydrogen/or compressed air

-KVDP 09:09, 10 August 2006 (UTC)

It takes energy to extract hydrogen and/or compress air and they make poor general transportation fuels because of limited range. The energy in biodiesel comes from the sun. The recent (new) design diesels do not smoke. The new (fed mandated) limits on sulfur allow catalytic converters which limit nox. Replacing petrodiesel with biodiesel reduces the country's need for foreign oil and reduces the net amount of co2 that gets added to the atmosphere. Biodiesel is about 7 times more effective at reducing our need for foreign oil than corn-ethanol. 16:58, 11 August 2006 (UTC)
The goal of an encyclopedia article is to describe the topic, not critique it. Unlike biodiesel, hydrogen is not an energy source -- it consumes energy. You must get energy from somewhere else -- petroleum, coal, nuclear, wind, solar -- to make hydrogen. It's not practical to make sufficient quantities of hydrogen via electrolysis from solar or wind power to power a significant fraction of the world vehicle fleet. Anybody can do the math:
World transportation energy consumption is 100 quadrillion BTU per year (2.93E16 watt hours). Average solar cell efficiency (including aging, environmental, and transmission losses) is about 10%. Also you can't use crystalline cells on a huge industrial level, but must use less efficient amorphous or other PV technologies. Hydrogen electrolysis is about 70% efficient, transport 90% efficient, vehicle/depot storage about 80% efficient, fuel cells about 70% efficient, electric motors about 92% efficient, for total end-to-end efficiency of about 32%. Average annual solar insolation at mid-North America latitudes is about 4500 watt hrs per square meter per day, or 133,225 watt hrs per year: http://www.windsun.com/Solar_Basics/Solar_maps.htm
To provide just 1/2 of annual world transportation energy (1.45E16 watt hrs) via solar/hydrogen/fuel cell vehicles would require: 1.45E16 watt hrs / (133,225 watt hrs/m^2/yr * 0.1 PV conversion efficiency * 0.32 hydrogen chain efficiency) = 3.4E12 square meters of solar cells, or 3.4 million square km, which is very roughly 1/2 the continental United States.
Note I'm not making this argument in the article -- it doesn't belong there any more than statements about 'hydrogen is better'. Rather just explaining here why even if we made such advocacy statements in an encyclopedia article, we couldn't say technically incorrect things. Joema 18:06, 11 August 2006 (UTC)
I forgot to add liquefaction efficiency, which is only about 70%. You've got to liquefy or compress hydrogen to move it somewhere, so the end-to-end chain efficiency is 22% or less. That increases the required solar PV area to at least 5 million square km, or about 2/3 of the continental U.S, to supply only 1/2 of world transportation energy need. Those are very rough numbers and don't consider savings from fuel cell vehicle efficiency. However these improvements may be much less than is commonly thought: [5]Joema 21:57, 11 August 2006 (UTC)

Footnote problems

I'm having problems adding a footnote, if anybody could help I'd appreciate it. I tried using proper web cite reference format, and it looks OK in preview. However when saving the page, there are duplicate A and B backpointers in each footnote ref at article bottom. I tried switching to an in-line external link, still same problem. Finally gave up and totally removed the link, still same problem. Copied and pasted entire article to my sandbox and experimented with deleting various article portions; couldn't isolate problem. Duplicate A/B refs still appear with article truncated to just one line with one footnote reference. Would appreciate any help or advice. Sorry about the problem if I did something wrong. Joema 13:55, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

There is a problem with footnotes. See Wikipedia talk:Footnotes. (SEWilco 14:43, 29 August 2006 (UTC))
Joema, I think there must be a problem with the rendering engine today -- I tried looking at every version through the history, both looking at individual versions and at each diff, and couldn't see the problem you mentioned. I experimented to try and replicate it with various edits and to my surprise, I couldn't even replicate a known problem that I've seen before (the one that happens when someone forgets the slash in a </ref> tag) which truncates just after a footnote. Then clicking the 'Article' button showed me the exact problem you described. And, in the time I've been writing this, it has changed again, because refreshing produces a perfectly well-formatted article with no footnote problems -- even though it's the same article version. My suspicion is that someone was trying something new to fix the problem I described, and end up breaking more than they fixed, so they undid the fix. -- Antaeus Feldspar 15:02, 29 August 2006 (UTC) (Late edit: and apparently the problem's known..) -- Antaeus Feldspar 15:02, 29 August 2006 (UTC)
I confirm there's still a problem with footnotes. Even the most simple footnote reference using <ref> and </ref> isn't working right. A single new footnote reference creates multiple reference links under the <references/> section. It doesn't happen for preview, only when you save the page. I'm giving up for now and just added the footnote as an external link at article bottom. Joema 23:26, 29 August 2006 (UTC)
Since the footnote problem is almost certainly temporary, I'm restoring the change and also making a few other fixes. Even if it doesn't look right at the moment, it will when the larger problem is fixed. -- Antaeus Feldspar 00:43, 30 August 2006 (UTC)
Reported problem at bottom of this page under heading 'Footnotes Missing: [6]. It's now filed as bug 7162Joema 05:16, 30 August 2006 (UTC)

External links

I would add http://www.biodieselcommunity.org/

I realise links need to be kept to a minimum but (as per the request in the External Links section) I recommend adding: http://biodieselinthenews.com/ - it's right up-to-date every day and has a full archive of previous news. IMHO it complements this article.

No offense, but it's just another news aggregator. I don't see how it is more important than the other links on the list. - TaxmanTalk 17:37, 12 September 2006 (UTC)

I've got a good idea. Why doesn't Wikipedia hand all external links over to dmoz. That would stop any argument ever over them. So let's remove the Edit facility from the External links because it's not needed any more seeing as that section's now dmoz. Now I think about it, there are quite a few sections you could take the edit facility away from - yeah - I think I'm onto something here.. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk • contribs) .

How about a link to http://www.bettybiodiesel.org/? It's a nice non-profit website.--Tdkehoe 00:24, 26 November 2006 (UTC)

I clicked the biodiesel link whose only content beside further links to biodiesel.org (portal) and biodieselamerica.org (buy the book) is 'To Book Betty for schools, presentations, festivals, conferences, etc. Contact Lindsay Hassett'. The betty link is a plug for where to buy 'eco-hip' clothing the kind Betty Biodiesel wears. You're kidding, right? Femto 12:57, 26 November 2006 (UTC)

Biodiesel from Zebra Mussels?

Crazy idea, and maybe it's even based on my once hearing something about this (though a Google search turned up nothing.), but I was wondering if the heavy economic toll of the Zebra mussel invasion could be partly compensated by turning the mussels they remove into biodiesel. I'm not suggesting that it's any kind of solution to the problems of the Zebra mussel invasion and biodiesel supply, just that if they are removing large quantities of mussels from ships and infastructure, would it be a good idea to convert the biomass into biodiesel? The alternative is it being thrown away and not used at all. Could such an endeavor possibly break even once the animal-remains-to-biodiesel infastructure is in place?

Certainly a interesting idea. There are existing rendering facilities for most livestock. The yields would be pretty low, however. IIRC, the triglyceride content of typical livestock ranges between 15% and 30%. I would expect shellfish to be near the bottom of this scale, if not significantly below it, since they are mostly shell and muscle. As the price of oil increases, niche products like this will become more and more viable.Hillgiant 15:04, 3 October 2006 (UTC)

Re: Water contamination

The first line of this section was recently changed (Oct. 3) to state that biodiesel is 'hydrophobic'. Previously, it had stated that biodiesel is 'hydrophilic' -- the opposite of hydrophobic. (This change was made several days after a question was raised in the 'To-do list' -- the original statement seems to have gone unchallenged for a considerable period of time.) The change to 'hydrophobic' seems to me to be consistent with the statement in the 'Description' section that biodiesel 'is practically immiscible with water..'

On the other hand, these statements appear to flatly contradict the assertion in the WP article on Hygroscopy, which states that 'An example of a hygroscopic substance is biodiesel, which absorbs water to about 1200 parts per million (PPM).' I checked around and found that this claim is repeated widely on numerous websites, but I could not find definitive substantiation -- merely repetition of the same statement. I was hoping this apparent contradiction would be explored here on Wikipedia -- but this specific claim is not addressed anywhere in the Biodiesel article.

This is not a minor point. If biodiesel is indeed hygroscopic -- meaning that it has a strong tendency to pull water molecules out of the atmosphere -- there are serious implications in terms of its use, storage, etc., which would need to be addressed in the article. Currently, the problem of 'Water contamination' is stated to arise because 'Some of the water present is residual to processing, and some comes from storage tank condensation.' But there's no mention of continuing accumulation of water due to its alleged hygroscopic properties.

Ibp 115 2 Crack Fully Working Solar Light

So I pose the following question: Is it, in fact, possible for a substance be BOTH hydrophobic AND hygroscopic?? In other words, can it, somehow, both repel water molecules and also absorb them? One way or the other, this question needs to be settled.Cgingold 14:10, 22 October 2006 (UTC)

Again, my apologies for adding the Verification tag. My sense is that the explanation given is probably correct, but there is nonetheless a serious question re Hygroscopy, as I detailed above. I was hoping to elicit a response on that question, but it's been over a week now, so I thought it was time to give it another try. Cgingold 13:59, 28 October 2006 (UTC)

As to your question a to whether a hydrophobic compound can also be hygroscopic, the simple answer is 'yes to a point.' Organic compounds can elicit both behaviors simultaneously when they have varying functional groups with a wide enough separation. BioDiesel is an ester with a very shot side and a long side, the short side can exhibit polar qualities due to the presence of oxygen while the long chain exhibits nonpolar qualities. The polar side is what attracts the water, while the long chain repels the water. Cells of living organisms utilize a similar method to control the amount of materials crossing the membrane. I hope this explanation helps. Das Nerd 20:08, 28 October 2006 (UTC)
Thank you! I think your explanation may well get us 'half way there', so to speak. As I said, it's widely stated elsewhere that biodiesel 'absorbs water to about 1200 PPM' -- something which is not mentioned at all in the 'Water contamination' section. If this is indeed a scientifically verified fact, then it needs to be included here, along with the other two reasons that are given. Again, none of the websites I consulted cited a source for the claim -- my impression was that they were all simply repeating a statement originally made by a single person or publication, which I was unable to locate. Do you have any idea where to find scientific validation (or lack thereof) for this assertion? Or, given your reply to my question, do you at least find it credible enough to include here without further confirmation? Cgingold 21:10, 28 October 2006 (UTC)

Biodiesel definition

Surely pure plant oil without any processing qualifies as 'Biodiesel'because it is made entirely from biomass and will operate many kinds of diesel engine!If one uses Methanol and caustic soda (neither of which are biomass)to make FAME, fatty acid methyl ester, this surely disqualifies it from being called bio-diesel!replies appreciated <email removed>

No, 'diesel' fuel is a specific fractional distillate of crude oil, containing certain chemicals. It is not anything that will burn in a diesel engine. The processing of biomass converts it to diesel. Rmhermen 16:43, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

protection requested

Due to the volume of ongoing vandalism of this article, I have just made a request for semi-protection at Wikipedia:Requests for page protection. This would prevent anonymous users from editing the page. Keep your fingers crossed. Cgingold 11:04, 6 December 2006 (UTC)

Questionable Source

I've been trying to find the actual source for the yields from crops section, and I can't find it anywhere. User Ddelpercio cited globalpetroleumclub.com as his source, but that website has no actual information on it. All it has is a forum with zero substantial information, and an RSS news feed. I think that these data look reasonable, but without a source I don't think Wikipedia should display it. But if someone can find a source for it, I'd be more than interested.

Try Googling on the names of the more exotic plants. I did and I got this, which only contains some of the information of the chart but seems to match up with it at a quick glance, and also identifies its source. -- Antaeus Feldspar 22:05, 28 February 2007 (UTC)


Should it be noted that on one episode of the mythbusters, they created biodiesel using used cooking oil? They just took used cooking oil from a resturant, filtered it, and were able to run a car on it. see MythBusters (season 3)#The Great Gas Conspiracy—The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 21:54, 4 March 2007 (UTC).

Straight vegetable oil and vegetable oil blends can be used in diesel engines, but they are different than biodiesel. Vegetable oil is transesterified to make biodiesel, so they are close relatives, but not the same thing. Vincecate 13:31, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

Vegetable Oil Economy

I propose that some of the sections in this article would really fit better in Vegetable oil economy as they apply to straight vegetable oil and vegetable oil blends just as well. I am thinking of most parts of the following sections:

  • # * 6.1 Biodiesel feedstock
  • # 7 Yields of common crops
  • # * 7.1 Efficiency and economic arguments
  • # * 7.2 Thermal depolymerization
  • # 8 Environmental benefits
  • # 9 Environmental concerns
  • # 10 Current research
  • # * 10.1 Algaculture

What do other people think?

Vincecate 22:20, 7 March 2007 (UTC)

Every article should cover all the most important subtopics in relation to their importance to the overall topic. So much of the above material does need to be covered in this article because it is important to biodiesel. But it should be done in Wikipedia:Summary style, and if there is too much detail that calls for moving the excess detail off and leaving a proper summary. If a subtopic can't justify importance to the overall topic, only then should it be removed. - TaxmanTalk 14:23, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

Last edit

What is the basis for the significant changes at 18:45:50 by If no rationale is presented, this will be reverted. Skyemoor 19:42, 23 March 2007 (UTC)

reverted. Skyemoor 18:23, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

Wintron in the 'Gelling' section

A portion of the gelling section is essentially an advertisement for Wintron. While I've heard that the claims made are true, there are no citations; further, this seems to be inappropriate context for an encyclopedia. At very least, this needs a citation or it will be deleted.E8 23:42, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

I'm going to delete the Wintron segment unless it's referenced.E8 02:38, 9 May 2007 (UTC)

Deleted Wintron advertising segment as no support was provided.E8 00:43, 22 May 2007 (UTC)


  1. Data to include in the article: there are 115 biodiesel plants in the USA with combined production capacity of 865 million gallons (¿liters?) a year.
  2. Among major firms that have announced forays into the biodiesel market, vegoil giant ConocoPhillips and meta producer Tyson Foods Inc are joining forces to produce biodiesel from animal fat.
  3. Can be biodiesel transported in a pipeline? ( I think yes, but nowadays there is small quantities that would it economic to put it though a pipeline).

—The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 13:57, 7 May 2007 (UTC).

  • Citations are needed for 1) and 2). Biodiesel Magazine discussed use of pipelines to move Biodiesel; there is concern of cross-contamination of application-sensitive fuels like jet fuel. E8 20:19, 2 June 2007 (UTC)


To me the lead spends a disproportionate amount of text on negative feedback from vehicle manufacturers. It reads almost like non-biodiesel advocacy by the car companies, and some might think it is skirting WP:SOAP. The lead does not serve as a proper summary of the article, per WP:LEAD. I think it is in need of a significant rewrite—no offense intended though. Thanks. — RJH (talk) 18:46, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

Use in locomotives

Consider this link describing tests of biodiesel use in a US railroad locomotive. Does this belong in the external links section? User_talk:David Jordan 5/21/2007.

  • There are hundreds (likely thousands) of studies on Biodiesel-related subjects. Does this article provide any information of significance? E8 00:41, 22 May 2007 (UTC)


I found this sentence in the Description section, added in this edit:

'The industry standard for the amount of time it takes to produce biodiesel used to be 4 hours, but a San Antonio based company is currently experimenting, and has claimed to produce biodiesel fuel in a fraction of what it formerly was, with a 1.4 minute contact time.'

First of all, 4 hours or 1.4 minutes to do what, exactly? Produce one liter? Produce 55 gallons? Secondly, it doesn't seem to be referenced; accordingly I'm putting a {{fact}} tag on it. Thirdly, wouldn't it be better placed in the Production section? Fourthly, is it just vandalism? Nibios 23:35, 10 August 2007 (UTC)

Amount of waste vegetable oil

I am deleting this statement: 'According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), restaurants in the US produce about 3 billion US gallons (11,000,000 m³) of waste cooking oil annually.[20]'

If that were correct, with 300 million people in the U.S. that would equal about a thousand gallons a year per capita. That's a hell of a lot of french fries. The document linked to as a source is unreferenced and therefore, while it does meet WP:RS guidelines, it doesn't reach WP:V standards.

The figure is also in complete disagreement with a peer-reviewed journal article, which trumps a government white paper in terms of reliability: Mustafa Canakci. 2007. The potential of restaurant waste lipids as biodiesel feedstocks. Bioresource Technology 98(1):183-190. That paper says that 23.09 pounds of waste vegetable oil are produced in the U.S. annnually per capita.

If someone wants to fight for the sentence, that's fine, but I'll add a 'disputed' tag to it.--Margareta 16:30, 15 August 2007 (UTC)

Another sketchy statement re: WVO deleted

I've also deleted this: 'According to a report from Cornell University, used cooking oil has an available potential to produce almost 1.7 billion gallons of biodiesel which is 1.1% of petroleum imports today. [7]' The document cited doesn't say that the 1.7 billion gallons could come from waste cooking oil; it says it could come from all oil produced in the U.S., including virgin oils. Someone might want to add the reference back in with the correct information and in the appropriate context.--Margareta 16:51, 15 August 2007 (UTC)

Citation Mismatch

The German-language article cited in support of '60% less net carbon dioxide emissions than petroleum-based diesel' states that (google translation) '60% of the energy result from plant growth', which is quite a different thing. I've replaced the footnote reference with a citeneeded, but left the reference at the bottom. Megacz 17:04, 2 September 2007 (UTC)

Biodiesel from blackfly larvae?

I heard recently, from some people who were experimenting with making biodiesel, that there is a certain type of blackfly larvae that can be processed to make biodiesel. Can anyone provide specifics and add to this article? This is definitely a renewable resource. -- Auric 00:10, September 12, 2005 (UTC)

North Carolina State University had a pilot project on the use of the black soldier fly for hog waste reduction. Sprinkling maggots into the hog waste, they found the flies would ingest vast quantities of hog waste, and at the right moment in their life cycle, would 'self harvest' by climbing up runways and falling into chutes where they could be easily crushed. The resultant oil, which was black and smelled horrible, was sent to the Becon Center at Iowa State University to be reacted into biodiesel. That never happened. And the pilot ended. Leaving everyone to wonder if we missed an important biodiesel feedstock.

Fuel is fuel. Any hydrocarbon based material can be oxidised to produce fuel. In fact, it probably makes more sense to just burn all the dried raw material at a central plant and produce electricity from it rather than using so much energy to extract the oil and refine it into biodiesel. This just makes it useful as a automotive fuel that requires no change in current infrastucture and technology. A centralised plant capable of efficiently reducing emissions is much more environmentally friendly than at the tailpipe of a car. Halogenated 23:41, 28 October 2007 (UTC)

Changes to the fuel properties section

Recent changes refer to various studies supporting the added info but do not actually cite them. The one that caught my eye was that government studies supported the less toxic than table salt. That seems like an uncareful attribution to a source as that's not the type of thing the government sources would explicitly say. I'm tempted to revert, but I thought it was better to ask for explicit sources before doing so. - TaxmanTalk 23:22, 10 January 2006 (UTC)

Sorry for not posting my sources, I am new to this process.
The four additions that I made to the, 'environmental benefits in comparison to petroleum based fuels,' were quoted from a pamphlet entitled, 'Biodiesel: The Intelligent Solution to Today's Energy Security and Environmental Issues,' produced by The National Biodiesel Board (www.biodiesel.org).
Right, then the problem is proper attribution to the source. Using the NBB source to say another source says something is not good from a verifiability standpoint. Best citation practices call for having the actual source and citing it. Most of the government reports the NBB pamplet is referring to are available for download too. Do you have the direct link to the pamphlet your referring to? I didn't immediately see it. See WP:V and Wikipedia:Citing sources for more information on citing sources. There's no firm rule on what citation form you have to use, but it's generally best to follow a consistent style within an article. You can use either Harvard style referencing (Briggs 2004) like this one does or footnotes to cite specific facts to specific sources. Also if you sign up for an account it makes it easier to interact with you. - TaxmanTalk 13:05, 12 January 2006 (UTC)
There is nothing under the citation where it lists that biodiesel is less toxic than salt and as biodegradable as sugar. It may be less toxic than salt, but it definitely is not as biodegradable as sugar! Halogenated 23:33, 28 October 2007 (UTC)
This citation is questionable. It is physically impossible for biodiesel to be as biodegradable as sugar due to the nature of the Krebs cycle. It requires more work to break down fatty acids than sugar, as it passes through the glyoxylate cycle that breaks down fatty acids to acetate, pyruvate, and eventually converts this to glucose - a sugar. This is especially true under the anaerobic conditions which spilled oil will most likely be broken down under, as other pathways are required. Here are citations that shows the basic workings of this system:
Halogenated 17:46, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
    • Biodiesel being as easy to biodegrade as sugar has been quoted in literally dozens of places. If it isn't true, we would need to find a reliable source stating so, as it would be very easy to get 3rd party quotes saying it is, since it has been reported so often. I appreciate the revert back, as the additions were all made in good faith. If it isn't as biodegradable, I would certainly want to know. Being that biodiesel is in some ways just paraffin oil, breaking down so easily is plausible but I am open to any reliable info that is counter to this. Pharmboy 01:52, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

Well I wouldn't suggest it is like parrafin oil, that it a short to long chained alkane from petroleum that is certainly much more difficult to degrade than sugar, and composes the bulk of petroleum diesel. My concern is that the reference itself seems unreferenced - it is a simple statement made on the Bentley website without a source AFAIK. Since the very sentiment of the statement is to try to highlight how benign biodiesel is, and it seems to be made without any real scientific basis, I am concerned over the placement of the statement - it seems somewhat partial and idealised, and therefore not appropriate. If someone can find a reference that actually demonstrates this from an actual scientific point of view, then it would be a lot more convincing. Halogenated 16:03, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

I have found one primary source discussing the degradation of vegetable oils and biodiesel in lab trials in comparison to petroleum diesel, and it indicates that rates are significantly quicker for biodiesel than for petroleum diesel, and that the addition of biodiesel can facilitate the degradability of the petroleum diesel. I have found another example of the sugar statement, but again the source is a tertiary one. It also states that biodiesel biodegrades 4 times faster than petroleum diesel. This all has to be put in perspective though however - these are lab trials, not field studies, and may have little bearing on real world situations. In virtually all cases of oil spills (petroleum or vegetable), human intervention is required to facilitate bioremediation by the addition of a significant amount of nutrients (N,P,K, etc) and electron receptors (generally oxygen in some form). Biodiesel could sit and contaminate soil or waterways for years to decades in many cases, similar to petroleum diesel. However due to its non-toxic status, associated ecosystem health problems are significantly reduced. But the organic carbon load on the environment can induce significant problems such as decreasing oxygen concentrations in bodies of water (leadinging to loss of aquatic life), contaminating sensitive tissues of organisms (e.g. amphibians, birds, benthic organisms), contaminating aquifers and source waters, aesthetic problems, etc. So as you can see biodegradation is not as simple as it spills, it disappears 'naturally'. Halogenated 04:44, 31 October 2007 (UTC)


Another meaning of biodiesel exists, which is the mixture of the fuel produced by transesterification of vegetable oils/animal fats and conventional petroleum based disel fuel or the diesel fuel (gasoil) fraction of petroleum. I shall alter the first sentence, to include this meaning or add an other statement as a second sentence, unless somebody objects, or does the job before me. LouisBB 16:00, 1 November 2007 (UTC)

  • LouisBB - You're referring to a 'blend' of Biodiesel, often referred to by the layman (and marketers) as Biodiesel. This is outside the technical definition of Biodiesel. The 'B' rating (e.g., B20, B100) is discussed in the 'Description' section. Just my $.02. E8 21:55, 1 November 2007 (UTC)

Thermal Depolymerization

This section should be moved. TDP does produce a product Biodiesel (by the given Wikipedia definition), though it doesn't produce Alkyl Esters. Thus, it should be listed as a type of Biodiesel, rather than being discussed in the feedstock section. As is, it's a bit out of place.E8 06:10, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

  • I finally removed this section and replaced it with a 'disambiguation' link in the header. E8 (talk) 17:10, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

Biodiesel lubricity

In the 'Applications' sections it is stated that biodiesel has better 'lubricity' than conventional diesel fuel. This statement, with its Ref 17 has to be checked. I have not managed to get access to the article.To my knowledge, the lubricity of the neat transesterification product is worse than that from petroleum source and an additive needs to be added to resolve the problem, otherwise it has to be used in (low concentration?) blends. If Ref 17 is confirmed is there a secondary evidence? LouisBB 09:29, 2 December 2007 (UTC)

  • Information on the superior lubricity of B-100 Biodiesel fuel is easy to acquire as it's one of major selling points. Where did you source your information? Here's some information from the NBB: http://www.biodiesel.org/pdf_files/fuelfactsheets/Lubricity.PDFE8 17:49, 2 December 2007 (UTC)
    • Thank you very much for the info. However, I was unable to download the pdf file to be able to read it. Does it say how it was verified etc ? Is biodiesel.org a scientific body or a commercial organisation? LouisBB 22:19, 3 December 2007 (UTC)
      • The pdf is primarily a literature review of other studies, not a study. Further, there is a plethora of information (from U.S. Gov't sources and universities) on Biodiesel lubricity easily available on the web. You still have yet to explain the basis for your knowledge; please do. E8 03:19, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
Ok, out of the plethora you can bring up one citation and one confirmation and that will convince me. As far as my information is concerned it comes from memory of the work reported by the work of several South African universities, and NMERI. I don't claim that I am absolutely right, but still need convincing a bit. Perhaps the citations that Taxman gives will do that. I shall have a go at downloading them. Thanks to you both for the effort. LouisBB 13:10, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
  • I do believe that is one of the driving forces behind using blends, such as B2 or B5: Biodiesel is just a GREAT lubricator, it can be blended into ultra low sulphor fuel as a replacement for the missing sulphor. Blends in the B2-B5 range also don't have the higher cloud point problems that pure B100 have, as it doesn't change the cloud point more than a single degree or affect emissions of NOx enough to matter. Pharmboy 22:09, 2 December 2007 (UTC)
    • I tend to believe you although you don't state references. LouisBB 22:19, 3 December 2007 (UTC)
      • I'm not sure why you can't get access to the source, it's a free pdf.
It is possible that the PDF files are too large? LouisBB 13:10, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

But I just checked it again and it's very direct on the claim of improved lubricity. That term shows up probably 20 times in the document, including in the section heading 'Biodiesel Improves Lubricity '. Specifically it gives:

        • Lubricity SLBOCLE, grams Diesel: 2000-5000 Biodiesel: >7,000
        • Lubricity HFRR, microns Diesel: 300-600 Biodiesel: <300
      • I can't say I know what those measurements are, but other sources support the lubricity claim as well. Here's a pretty good summary of NREL's publications on biodiesel. On the side note the NREL actually commissions or summarizes research and the NBB is basically a marketing organization, primarily influenced by the soy industry. - TaxmanTalk 01:25, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
Thank you very much, I shall try to look at the references. See my response above to EB. Perhaps you could check back on those, as I have no library access. LouisBB 13:10, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

Hello everybody, I have managed to see all the titles of the NREL review, but still have not managed to download any of the PDF files you mentioned.

However, I guess I have probably worked out where our differnces come from:My information comes from a time when the sulphur content of the diesel fuel was higher than today, namely late 70s, early 80s, so probably we are mixing apples with pears. With suppression of diesel fuel sulphur content by hydrogenation, which will also take out some of the other reactive compounds in the fuel (beneficial for boundary lubrication), the lubricity would become worse, so biodiesel might compare better against such fuels. The differences might be found there, but unfortunately I cannot get access to relevant literature you quote.

The lubricity measuring rig might either be a dedicated device which contacts two surfaces under load in the presence of the lubricant and measures the size of the wear trace optically, or measures the wear after a given period at strategic points in a lubricated piece of equipment such as a high pressure pump, which again may be optical or perhaps by the collection of wear debris; in both cases back to back against two fuels (presumed to be acting as lubricants) or a fuel with a reference lubricant. Of course other sorts of ingenious devices or ways of measurement are also possible.

If anybody finds out any direct citations/description of fuels and methods I shall be very interested. Thanks again. LouisBB (talk) 15:01, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

Clarification of the lubricity issue

I managed to download the reference EB quoted above (http://www.biodiesel.org/pdf_files/fuelfactsheets/Lubricity.PDF), (my modem is playing up) and indeed my suspicion was well founded. It is since around 1993 (when I retired !) that, due to environmental pressures about sulphur dioxide emissions, causing acid rain, the manufacture of severely hydrotreated diesel fuel has started in earnest, which caused the conventional diesel fuel lubricity to drop precipitously. It is easy to be better than abominable. Well, at least I got that sorted out for myself.

I have edited the article accordingly.

An erroneous remark in the same section talking about methanol catalyst which does not exists, has been removed.

It is interesting to see the figures of Stanadyne, quoted by the above report, claiming dramatic improvement by the addition of biodiesel to a hydrotreated conventional fuel even in small proportions. Right enough, the lubricity mesurement using the HFRR rig does shows a good improvement in these circumstances, but the benefit flattens out pretty quickly, in fact after 2% the improvement is pretty negligible. This gives me the suspicion, that it is not necessarily the ester fuel which does the boundary lubrication effect, but its impurities (like unreacted oil for intance) Vegetable and animal oils have been used for a long time (by the oil companies themselves) as lubricants/lubricating oil additives for difficult situations.

Thanks again LouisBB (talk) 12:55, 8 December 2007 (UTC)

  • Louis: there is a technical difference between neat alkyl esters, produced only in a lab, and biodiesel, produced commercially for fuel; I suspect this difference in terminology is where we disagree. As you've noted, the difference is the impurities like FFAs and glycerides. From this review, 'The lubricity tests showed that contaminants of biodiesel such as free fatty acids and monoglycerides possess better lubricity than neat alkyl esters and are largely responsible for the lubricity of low-level blends of biodiesel with petrodiesel.' Since these contaminants are regulated components (bounded by reaction kinetic limitations and set standards) of biodiesel, biodiesel produced for fuel will have superior lubricity. E8 (talk) 17:10, 8 December 2007 (UTC)
    • Now it seems more confused than ever with the recent changes. Pharmboy (talk) 19:45, 8 December 2007 (UTC)
      • E8: I do not disagree at all with what you are saying here. In fact I did not disagree with the original stateement, but I wanted some proof. In fact, as I remarked above my information was old, i.e. from the time when diesel fuel lubricity was remarkably good. However, if you read the references of the reference you gave me from biodiesel.org you will see that everybody is talking about highly refined diesel fuel, which is nothing like the old stuff.
        • I also doubted the good lubricity of pure biodiesel, because it just did not sound right. If commecial biodiesel is not really pure then the situation changes again: I don't know about FFA, how much of that is allowed to stay in the fuel finally according to the specifications, but it is extremely well known that vegetable oils/animal fats (e. g. neatsfoot oil, tallow, whale oil) are excellent boundary lubricants, and the oil companies have been using them as additives for yonks. Please have a look at my notes in the lubricity article and its references, which were cited in your source. I do hope Pharmboy, that this clears things a bit.
      • What you say E8 makes me even more convinced than before, that using the expression pure biodiesel in the article is wrong, and it should be changed to neat biodiesel. That is what people call it elsewhere. I shall do this in the article unless somebody disagrees and tells me why I ought not. LouisBB (talk) 06:23, 12 December 2007 (UTC)


Before I get into 3RR issues, I am pretty sure that www.evolvingenergies.net doesn't meet wp:links and should not be included. Please feel free to explain why a commercial links belongs here in talk before adding it again. Pharmboy (talk) 15:53, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

Removal of link

Hi - I made a couple of alterations, and should have put them into the 'discussion' first, I think. The one was with a link to CSIRO about greenhouse gas savings, and one about supercritical method of production. Perhaps the first was better placed in the 'Environmental Benefits' section, but I was responding to the 'citation needed' about recycling carbon added during plant growth. I don't understand what citation is needed here, a citation that photosynthesis takes CO2 from the air and turns it into biomass? For the other, I can offer different links, for example from the Journal Energy and Fuels -Continuous production of biodiesel via transesterification from vegetable oils in supercritical methanol, Bunyakat, K et al. 2006, a web link: http://www.biodieselgear.com/documentation/Methanol_Super_Critical_Method.pdf or journal citation from which the information on th above link is taken (Methyl esterification of free fatty acids of rapeseed oil as treated in supercritical methanol, Kusdiana and Saka, Journal of Chemical Engineering in Japan, 2001, vol34 No.3 pp383-387 or several others, I just picked one which summarised the process, although not substantiated. Should I add it back with one of these links? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Stainless316 (talk • contribs) 16:13, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

  • The website you used as a citation, http://www.criticalprocesses.com, likely will not pass WP:RS or WP:LINKS by itself. They are claiming a new way to make biodiesel, and the citation needed to verify this would have to come from someone EXCEPT them, ie: newspaper, etc. Otherwise, it isn't independent verification. Because the site is a commercial site, they have something to sell and it is the product you are citing about, you shouldn't include the link in this fashion. Gotta have independent verification before putting in a commercial link like that. Otherwise, every John Doe in the world could add his own website claiming some new miracle way to make biodiesel. Pharmboy (talk) 16:33, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
    • I have replaced the citation with verifiable ones, peer reviewed journals and conference proceedings. Hope this is OK. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Stainless316 (talk • contribs) 12:07, 20 December 2007 (UTC)

Solvent power increasing efficiency

There is a part in the introductory section on heaters that states 'However, thanks to its strong solvent power, burning biodiesel will increase the efficiency of your home heater.' I don't understand this - how does solvent power improve efficiency? Could this sentence be clarified or removed, as it creates a bad impression in the opening section, in my opinion.Stainless316 (talk) 12:17, 20 December 2007 (UTC)

  • The statement you make note of is vague / cryptic. Without a source, it should be removed. E8 (talk) 16:02, 20 December 2007 (UTC)

Big white space at top

There is a big white space after the first small paragraph, which I don't think looks very good. This could be removed by left justifying the diesel prices picture. ALso what is the procedure - if nobody posts a reply saying No! after a while, am I ok to just make the change? or should I just make a change anyway, and see if anyone undoes it? Thanks for information.Stainless316 (talk) 13:13, 20 December 2007 (UTC)

  • The only way I've found to eliminate the white spot is to click the 'hide' option on the 'Contents' menu of the main page. This seems to be the way all Wikipedia pages work. E8 (talk) 16:01, 20 December 2007 (UTC)

Ford Focus

Comments have been added to the page regarding the Ford Focus. This statement is problematic, as no vehicle should require 'conversion' to Biodiesel. Secondly, the recent addition regarding sales numbers is unsupported. The comment will be deleted if no citations are added. E8 (talk) 01:06, 28 December 2007 (UTC)

Biodiesel from Algae

I am not any expert on this sort of thing, so I would not edit the page myself, but shouldn't algae be mentioned as a potential source for biodiesel?

There is a project page with some estimates related to production / location / economic viability at the University of New Hampshire:

Sorry I didn't read here first, but that article was practically the first thing I'd ever read about biodiesel. It is very good and back up by government study data. I have already included links to it in the article. The article still has many mentions of 'facts' that are now wrong when taking into account the data in that study. I'll try to edit the article for consistency, but I could use some help. Also, please sign posts, use four ~'s. - Taxman 17:19, Jun 28, 2004 (UTC)

Sorry, I am not registered, so I dodn't have a nick. I should register. What do you need help with? I would liek to learn more about biodiesel, since I am trying to get the local .gov to look into it..

Call me jpg (I will go register, I guess..)

Well I think it is a little better now, but the consistency and flow of the sections is lacking at the moment. I would really like to get this article up to featured standard so it can be featured on the Main page. See Wikipedia:Featured article candidates for what it takes to reach featured status. - Taxman 01:46, Jul 9, 2004 (UTC)

I think there should at least be a seperate section on algal Biodiesel and the Aquatic Species program if not a seperate page. It is important to mention (UNH doesn't), that the aquatic species program involved feeding the algae CO2. Anyway If I don't hear back I will start a page on the aquatic species program.-- 04:00, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I think the best thing if you want to cover more on the topic would be to create Biodiesel from algae. The aqautic species program itself is defunct, so a focused article on algal biodiesel in general would be better than an article on the program. I don't think this article should have a separate section for algal biodiesel, because there is currently no biodiesel produced from it, just some research going on into how to commercialize it. This is the general article on biodiesel so it should cover the whole topic and each sub topic in relation to their importance. - TaxmanTalk 14:29, Jun 15, 2005 (UTC)

I participated a discussion on this topic on sci.energy recently. Lots of points were discuted, and here is a summary :

  • Among the best suited species are giant Diatoms from the Indian Oncean.
  • These algaes contain up to 50% (dry mass) of natural oil. The remaining part, mainly proteins, could be used in various way, especially as fuel to make the algae 'farm' independant of external (purshased) energy source (eg, oil, natural gas, electricity).
  • The 'farm' could be a closed are at sea, for instance a pool separated from the ocean by a 'U' shaped seawall on a low-slope beach. In could also be built in a desert.
  • PROBLEM : other lifeforms could contaminate the pool.
  • There is no need for freshwater, at that's good news, since freshwater is increasingly scarse and precious in many parts of the world. The algae grow in saltwater, but a permanent supply is needed to compensate evaporation.
  • In or near the sea, seawater can be used. Most deserts have underlaying aquifers that can provide saltwater.
  • PROBLEM : if saltwater is added to replace evaporated water, the salinity in the pool will rise, and will finally excess the tolerable level for the algae. So a solution must be found to remove excess salt.
  • The oil/biodiesel plant would adjoin the pools. Algae-loaded water would be pumped and algae would be extracted (filtrated?). So very little energy and labour would be used for harvesting.
  • Some 'farms' already grow algae like spirulla for health and food products. They could provide usefull informations.
  • to get high yield, the algeae must be fed with CO2. They could 'recycle' carbon from a power plant.

The section on algae indicates that it would be possible to produce 95,000 Litres/hectare of biodiesel per year vs. 5,800 Litres/hectare for Palm Oil the next most productive source. This simply is not possible due to the amount of sunlight energy available and limitations on the efficiency of photosynthesis.

I believe that Algae farms will yield significantly more than Palm, and that this could be one of the most significant developments for solving the problem of declining oil supplies and CO2 emissions. However it is important to be objective about the prospects.

The 95,000 figure seems to be implicit in one of the references: http://oakhavenpc.org/cultivating_algae.htm where the author referring to the Aquatic Species Close Out Report (http://www.nrel.gov/docs/legosti/fy98/24190.pdf) states that one of the conclusions was that: 'One quad (10^15 BTU or 7.5 billion gal.) of biodiesel could be produced on 200,000 ha of desert land'. In fact no where in the report does it imply these numbers. One of the conclusions of the ASP report was that the price of land particularly in the US South West would not be an issue and that the limiting factor would be the cost of setting up the farms and running them.

The 10^15 BTU per 200,000 ha implies 5 billion BTU per ha per year = 5,275,276 mega joules per ha per year = 5,275 mega joules per square meter per year. This is 1465.35 kilowatt hours per square meter per year.

The economics of solar power are well understood. In http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photovoltaics we have a table: Kilowatt-hours per peak kilowatts per year at various locations. The highest value given anywhere is 2,410. At that location, 1465.35 kilowatt hours per square meter per year implies a peak solar energy capture of 608.03 watts per square meter. In photovoltaics we usually assume the peak power from the SUN is 1,000 watts per square meter, so this would imply an energy capture efficiency of 60.8%. This is not credible for reasons I will outline shortly.

Before doing so I should point out that the peak power from the SUN is actually about 1,300 watts per square meter. The reason we use 1,000 in Photovoltaics is that we assume the solar panels are at a fixed orientation. They will only reach their peak in March and September, at other times they will not be face on at midday and this lowers the average daily peak.

Also note that the shadow area or footprint of a tilted solar array is greater than the area exposed to the SUN. This reduces the power yield by the Cosine of the given latitude.

Now about that 60.8% efficiency: most solar cells are rated at 12% or less. The theoretical maximum efficiency is about 70%, so 60.8% would be truly remarkable if it were true. The number is however unreasonable.

See http://www.upei.ca/~physics/p261/Content/Sources_Conversion/Photo-_synthesis/photo-_synthesis.htm.

I quote: 'At least eight photons are required to store one molecule of CO2 which means 1665 kJ of light energy are required to store 477 kJ in the plant. This issue alone gives a maximum efficiency of 0.286 or 28.6%. Additionally only light in the range 400-700 nm can be used (in photosynthesis). This amounts to 43% of total solar incident radiation. Combining these two factors means that the solar efficiency cannot exceed 12.23%'.

They then go on to take into account two other factors that limit solar efficiency in plants: Respiration losses and Canopy losses. This implies plants at best will achieve an efficiency of 6.6%. Very likely these two factors do not apply to algae. One of the biggest losses during respiration is a reaction between oxygen and RuBisCO that releases some of the captured energy. Since algae farms proposed will use flue gasses rich in CO2 and depleted in oxygen, the effect will be much less, but will still be a problem since the algae will be releasing oxygen into the gas feed.

If we assume that an algae farm can achieve a solar energy capture efficiency of 12.23% this would reduce the yield of oil from 95,000 Litres/hectare per year to 19,109 Litres/hectare per year, and this would only be attainable near the equator.

As an aside, the stated value for Palm oil 5,800 Litres/hectare per year implies a solar efficiency of 3.71% assuming we are again talking about an equatorial farm, this is within range of 6.6%. Differences could be attributed to various factors. Only desert regions have high Kilowatt-hours per peak kilowatts per year, typical locations where Palms grow tend to be cloudy. Also Palms like other plants close their stomata to limit water loss through evaporation, particularly when there has been no rain. This limits input of CO2 and reduces photosynthesis.

Conclusion: I think we need to reduce the 95,000 Litres/hectare per year to 19,109 Litres/hectare per year for equatorial based algae farms. There are no real references cases, although the GreenFuel trail at Redhawk may provide some numbers in 2007.

I also think that reference cases need to take into account latitude, perhaps showing an actual as well as a normalised yield, and the Kilowatt-hours per peak kilowatts per year at the location of the reference, again factored into the normalised yield.


The number is supposed to be a unit conversion from the number in the UNH study cited in the article. The article should accurately reflect the claims in the paper, and not make it look like it's been achieved already. Probably could use some work on that. For the rest, your analysis is non trivial, and can't be included directly as such in the article. We have to reflect what published sources have stated about biodiesel. - TaxmanTalk 13:30, 22 December 2006 (UTC)

Taxman, I have not requested rights to edit the page, and I don’t think I am appropriate person to do so. I am an investment banker, my skills are in numerical analysis, and I simply could have not written the original page as I do not have the immediate knowledge of all of those aspects on biodiesel.

My concern is however that the number you quoted for algal biodiesel at 95,000 liters / ha / year simply did not add up. It used to be that wikipedia users when they spotted errors could simply correct them, but it seems those days have long since gone.

Precisely who is it who claims the 95,000 figure? Even if it was derived from a quoted reference, readers will view the fact that wikipedia decided to publish it as wikipedia adding their reputation to that of the quoted publisher. If there is no link to any quoted source, then readers will view this as a situation where wikipedia are staking their reputation on the number.

You seem to imply that the number came from a UNH article, yet I cannot find this in either of the two UNH articles: http://www.unh.edu/p2/biodiesel/article_alge.html and http://www.unh.edu/p2/biodiesel/pdf/algae_salton_sea.pdf and so I attribute the claim to wikipedia alone.

The only reference I can find anywhere where a practical test has been done to determine the yield of CO2 fed algae is in http://www1.eere.energy.gov/biomass/pdfs/biodiesel_from_algae.pdf. This was an article looking back on the aquatic species program, and they state that in relation to real tests conducted in Hawaii and New Mexico: “Single day productivities reported over the course of one year were as high as 50 grams of algae per square meter per day, a long-term target for the program”.

If we convert this number as follows: 50 grams of algae per square meter per day = 18.2625 kilograms per square meter per year = 18.2625 metric tons per hectare per year. Now assuming 1191.17 liters of biomass per metric ton of biomass (density = 0.84 grams per cc), we get 21,753.68 liters of biomass per hectare per year. This is not out of line with my calculations involving photosynthesis efficiency and available sunlight.

Perhaps you got your numbers from the second UNH article where on page 4 in relation to setting up an algae farm to provide biomass to fuel a power station they state: “Assuming an average productivity of 33 g/m2/day, or 120 mt/ha/yr (a lower productivity than assumed in some studies) …”. The 120 mt/ha-yr is roughly equivalent to 142,940 liters biomass/ha/year, and maybe you calculated 95,000 liters of biodiesel could be extracted?

Can you spot the mathematical error?

33 g/m2/day = 12,053.25 g/m2/year = 12.05325 kg/m2/year = 12,053 kg/ha/year = 12.05 mt/ha/yr (not 120 mt/ha-yr). It would seem UNH are out by a factor of 10.

This article presented a pessimistic view on the economics of using the algal biomass as a feedstock for a local power station. They determined that the biomass electricity would cost 2-3 times more than fossil fuel electricity. Consequently I believe this article received a lot less peer review than it would have if it had presented an optimistic view.

In my view, using biomass to generate electricity is a particularly stupid idea given that the existing thermal power stations have efficiencies of about 30%. If you combine this with the low efficiencies of solar energy capture evidenced in energy crops so far, the possibility seems somewhat remote. Using biomass, particularly algae, to produce transportation fuels does however look promising.

While you are looking into your 95,000 liters/ha/year number, you might like to also look at the following reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Algaculture#_note-BiodieselFromAlgae; where you estimate 5,000 to 20,000 gallons of biodiesel per acre, per year. This equates to 46,769.78 to 187,079.13 liters per hectare per year, and again there is no reference to track the quoted figure and again way too optimistic.

You might also like to review the following links where your claims are being discussed externally:

Arizona Utility Recycles Smokestack Exhaust to make Biofuel (http://technocrat.net/d/2006/12/23/12545 )

Kind Regards


Ooops looks like I dropped a naught in my calculations, how embarrassing. At least your readers won’t know the voice behind Mr. Ed. My problem is that I am not familiar with hectares and was using 1000 m2 per hectare not 10,000.

Reworking some of my previous calculations:

The 10^15 BTU per 200,000 ha implies 5 billion BTU per ha per year = 5,275,276 mega joules per ha per year = 527.5 mega joules per square meter per year. This is 146.535 kilowatt hours per square meter per year. This implies an energy capture efficiency of 6.08% not 60.8%

So it seems that 95,000 liters/ha/year of biodiesel is indeed quite reasonable as 6.08% is within the limits set by the efficiency of photosynthesis.


Another place where I made the same mistake in relation to the Salton Sea:

33 g/m2/day = 12,053.25 g/m2/year = 12.05325 kg/m2/year = 120,530 kg/ha/year = 120.5 mt/ha/yr UNH were correct, my apologies.

I still think the main page could do with some improvement as it is very hard to track where the numbers are coming from, and the fact that in the case of algae, the yields still need to be proven. User: bi-ker-shi

Subsidization clarification?

Hi everyone,

I found the original sentence shown below a little confusing:

Due to government subsidization, Biodiesel is generally more expensive to purchase than petroleum diesel, although this differential may diminish due to economies of scale, the rising cost of petroleum, and legislation favoring the use of Biodiesel.

I altered it slightly and added an endnote to give an example of direct subsidies being applied to biodiesel (as opposed to indirect ones like general farm subsidies) to make it a little more clear, balanced, and accurate:

Biodiesel is generally more expensive to purchase than petroleum diesel, although this differential may diminish due to economies of scale, the rising cost of petroleum, and government subsidization favoring the use of biodiesel.

Sarann 04:57, 6 January 2006 (UTC)

Chicken fat - broken and duplicated links

I was altering what is now ref 28 to a citation format (instead of URL link). I checked the precious chicken fat link (No. 25), and it was not working - is this permanent broken link? ALso, the three references (25, 28 and 29) seem to come from the same press release, published in three different places - is there a protocol here to replace all the links by one? Is this sufficient verification? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Stainless316 (talk • contribs) 12:15, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

Link to Thermal depolymerisation

There is a link to Thermal depolymerisation in the opening section which I do not think is justified. I have posted some comments on the thermal deplymerisation talk page (lack of references), but basically this is not (yet?) a process of sufficient scale or with sufficient independent verification to be included as a prominent link from here. Biodiesel is a fact and is produced on a large scale. Thermal depolymerisation is not, and this link from here seems to suggest that it is of similar nature and importance to biodiesel. Stainless316 (talk) 12:26, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

  • I must disagree about the Thermal Depolymerization link in the 'Disambiguation Section' (that's NOT the intro); I created this link because there was actually a section in the Biodiesel mainpage on TDP. Having this TDP section in the Biodiesel mainpage was inappropriate, and why I substituted with the link. I suggest it be left in this section, and then later combined into the 'Biomass to liquid' page. Note that the 'NExBLT' link is redundant as it's also found in the 'Biomass to liquid' page. Biodiesel and TDP similar in that both can produce a biologically-derived fuel for diesel engines and can do so from similar feedstocks; the products of these processes are different however (alkane vs. mono-alkyl esters). I'll comment on the TDP page too. E8 (talk) 17:41, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
    • I agree that 'Biomass to liquid' would be a good home for TDP. You mention the inappropriate inclusion of a TDP section in the biodiesel mainpage - IMO there are a few too many inappropriate TDP links and sections in other mainpages also, but that is another discussion altogether, and each is a case by case matter.Stainless316 (talk) 16:56, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

Lead Section

I think the lead section is too long, and contains some detailed information better suited to the main body. I think the main areas to be covered are what is biodiesel, where does it come from, what are the environmental issues and where can it be used. I have attempted a first draft of a shorter intro, pasted below, without the diagrams for brevity (I think they can stay in the article). What do you think? Am I going about this the right way?

Biodiesel refers to a diesel-equivalent processed fuel consisting of short chain alkyl (methyl or ethyl) esters, made by transesterification of vegetable oils or animal fats, which can be used (alone, or blended with conventional diesel fuel) in unmodified diesel-engine vehicles.

Biodiesel is distinguished from the straight vegetable oils (SVO) or waste vegetable oils (WVO) used (alone, or blended) as fuels in some diesel vehicles.

Biodiesel is biodegradable, non-toxic and may produce less greenhouse gas than petroleum based fuel. There is some debate over the size of the greenhouse gas reduction, and this will depend on the choice of feedstock. Recent studies indicate that 60% reduction in net-lifecycle carbon dioxide emissions when compared to petroleum diesel are realistic, and reductions in emissions of smog forming hydrocarbon are 65% less, although the Nitrogen Oxide emissions are about 10% greater than those from petroleum-based diesel.[1][2]. However, this estimate does not consider land conversion, where natural land is converted to agricultural use. Greenhouse gas emissions could be significantly increased if vegetable oil is sourced from new plantations [3]. There is also concern that using land to grow non-food crops will push up food prices. Biodiesel can be made from almost any oil or fat. Currently vegetable oil is the most common feedstock, but algae could provide a useful source whilst allaying some of the environmental concerns.

Some vehicle manufacturers are positive about the use of biodiesel, citing lower engine wear as one of the fuel's benefits, while others are more cautious. In the UK many only maintain their engine warranties for use with maximum 5% biodiesel — blended in with 95% conventional diesel — although this position is generally considered to be overly cautious.[4], with some manufacturers allowing 100% biodiesel. [5][6]. Most manufacturers release lists of the cars that will run on 100% biodiesel.[7]

The British businessman Richard Branson'sVirgin Voyager train, number 220007 Thames Voyager[8] was converted to run on biodiesel, although an adverse effect occurred when it was proven to reduce reliability and to raise costs of maintenance significantly. Biodiesel can also be used as a heating fuel in domestic and commercial boilers.

Biodiesel can be distributed using today's infrastructure, and its use and production are increasing rapidly. Fuel stations are beginning to make biodiesel available to consumers, and a growing number of transport fleets use it as an additive in their fuel. Biodiesel is generally more expensive to purchase than petroleum diesel but this differential may diminish due to economies of scale, the rising cost of petroleum and government tax subsidies.Stainless316 (talk) 18:19, 3 January 2008 (UTC)

  • The section discussings Richard Branson's project should be moved to the Applications section, IMO. E8 (talk) 18:54, 3 January 2008 (UTC)
    • I have removed the reference section here otherwise it will drift down below the comments. Ok, how about (just after 'allaying some environmental concerns')-

Biodiesel quality is regulated by international standards (insert reference) and has slightly different physical properties to petro diesel (reference). Minor modification of engines or burners may need to be made if switching to biodiesel. Some vehicle manufacturers are positive about the use of biodiesel, citing lower engine wear as one of the fuel's benefits, while others are more cautious. In the UK many only maintain their engine warranties for use with maximum 5% biodiesel — blended in with 95% conventional diesel — although this position is generally considered to be overly cautious.[9], with some manufacturers allowing 100% biodiesel. [10][11]. Most manufacturers release lists of the cars that will run on 100% biodiesel.[12] Biodiesel has also been used on a diesel locomotive [13] and as a heating fuel for domestic and commercial boilers (reference). Stainless316 (talk) 12:05, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

Having had another look at the citations in the lead section guidelines, I think I have too many in this draft. The issue of greenhouse emmissions is contentious, so I think these (or some of these) must remain. However, the bits about use in different cars, locomotives and heating could probably stand without references in the lead section, as these would be found in the main section. Therefore I suggest using the ammended paragraph above, but without citations. Stainless316 (talk) 12:39, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
Ok, this has stood a while now, I shall re-post the whole 'draft lead section' again, and see if it looks OK, if there are no negative comments I will put it into the article in a week or so. I will have to be careful that any information or citations which are no longer in the lead section get included in the main section. I have made the bit about car use shorter, as the fact that some UK manufacturers only allow 5% seems a bit specific for an international encyclopedia. So this is what I propose to put in place of the current lead section:

Biodiesel refers to a diesel-equivalent processed fuel consisting of short chain alkyl (methyl or ethyl) esters, made by transesterification of vegetable oils or animal fats, which can be used (alone, or blended with conventional diesel fuel) in unmodified diesel-engine vehicles.

Biodiesel is distinguished from the straight vegetable oils (SVO) or waste vegetable oils (WVO) used (alone, or blended) as fuels in some diesel vehicles.

Biodiesel is biodegradable, non-toxic and may produce less greenhouse gas than petroleum based fuel. There is some debate over the size of the greenhouse gas reduction, and this will depend on the choice of feedstock. Recent studies indicate that 60% reduction in net-lifecycle carbon dioxide emissions when compared to petroleum diesel are realistic, and reductions in emissions of smog forming hydrocarbon are 65% less, although the Nitrogen Oxide emissions are about 10% greater than those from petroleum-based diesel.[14][15]. However, this estimate does not consider land conversion, where natural land is converted to agricultural use. Greenhouse gas emissions could be significantly increased if vegetable oil is sourced from new plantations [16]. There is also concern that using land to grow non-food crops will push up food prices. Biodiesel can be made from almost any oil or fat. Currently vegetable oil is the most common feedstock, but algae could provide a useful source whilst allaying some of the environmental concerns.

Biodiesel quality is regulated by international standards and it has slightly different physical properties to petro diesel. Minor modification of engines or burners may need to be made if switching to 100% biodiesel. Some vehicle manufacturers are positive about the use of biodiesel, citing lower engine wear as one of the fuel's benefits, while others are more cautious, with between 5% and 100% allowed by different manufacturers. Most manufacturers release lists of the cars that will run on 100% biodiesel. Biodiesel has also been used on a diesel locomotive and as a heating fuel for domestic and commercial boilers.

I am assuming it is OK to go on and make this changeStainless316 (talk) 15:19, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

Biodiesel encyclopedia

I suggest include a link to the BdPedia.com - The Biodiesel WWW Encyclopedia , so the user can read more encyclopedic content about this biofuel. --Mac (talk) 07:04, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

External link proposal: Report from London Accord

The London accord has published what looks like a sober economic analysis of biofuels (definitely not a sales pitch!)I'd like a link to this.. any problems with this?

Economic Analysis of biofuels for the London Accord. Mike Young (talk) 11:52, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

Had a quick look, and though not very knowledgeable about citations in wikipedia, it looks a useful summary of the overall picture for investment in the UK as seen by ABN Amro and the greenhouse gas pictureas described in the Uk Gov. consultation. I had a look back to the UK government reference [UK Gov. Consultation], and found some of the figures accurately reported (I would think the others are also, I just didn't have time to look for them all). I don't know how widely accepted these UK Gov figures are, but their derivation is extensively described in the Gov report.Stainless316 (talk) 13:28, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
Do I take that as a 'Yes?' Mike Young (talk) 17:26, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
No that should be linked in biofuel not here. Only biodiesel specific material should be linked here. - TaxmanTalk 21:09, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
I would think that it could do with a link here as well as in bioethanol and biofuel. It doesn't talk about biofuels in general, mixing up its results, but usually talks about bioethanol and then about biodiesel. The report is full of graphs about bioethanol, followed by similar graphs about biodiesel. So about half of it is directly relevent to this article. That's pretty good for a reference. It is a useful source about biodiesel, even if you had no interest in bioethanol whatsoever. Mike Young (talk) 09:13, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

HVO and ME Biodiesel: What's the difference?

Came to this article trying to find the difference, can someone who knows put it in? Mentioned in this document [8]Mike Young (talk) 09:56, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

  • This article and Vegetable oil used as fuel discuss the difference between the two fuel options. This link does not appear to add anything new or useful to this particular discussion.--E8 (talk) 17:06, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
    • Found the answer: ME = Methyl Ester - HVO: Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil Mike Young (talk) 21:59, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
      • I created, HVO, a disambiguation page so future users will immediately learn what HVO is.--E8 (talk) 23:02, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

Feedtstock section possible edits

Edit 1: Following from my comments on the 'chicken fat' links, earlier, I have had a further look at the section on feedstocks. The link for ref25 is named 'chickenfat' and used twice, but it doesn't work for me. It is also first used in an innappropriate place. Later on there is a link (ref 28) by the same author about the same thing, so I propose to delete the current 'chickenfat' reference and replace it with the current ref 28. I will also remove the first use as it is talking about Jatropha, not chicken fat.

Edit 2: Ref 26 is an article aboput Minnesota farmers, and is out of place where it is. I propose to remove it.

Edit 3: The feedstock of 'sewage' is not really correct, as this is actually algea grown in sewage ponds. The feedstock is therefore algae, which is already mentioned. I propose to delete this part. The reference is used elsewhere, so I will make sure the reference is kept for where it is properly used.

Edit 4: The paragraph about photosynthesis is misplaced. It is actually about environmental benefits. There has been some discussion about the need for citations, which seems to be resolved, but it is still in the wrong place. I propose moving this paragraph, with slight alteration, to the beginning of the 'Environmental benefits' section, where it can serve as a quick overview as to why biodiesel in principle reduces greenhouse gasses.I don't think 1 and 2 will cause any problems, so I will get on with them soon. 3 and 4 may be a bit more contentious, so I will wait a while before making these edits, bit will do them if there is no adverse comment.Stainless316 (talk) 12:06, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

I question whether the chicken fat related comments are truly noteworthy. A few years ago, when this type of feedstock was emerging, sure, but it is more common. Unless there is a reason to maintain this comment, it should be deleted or moved to Biodiesel in the United States.--E8 (talk) 03:20, 13 February 2008 (UTC)


I am working on a restructure of the article at User:Mike Young/Sandbox2. Please feel free to comment or even help out. I haven't removed anything, but have shuffled it about. Mike Young (talk) 23:45, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

External links

The selection of links is clearly biased in favor of biodiesel. I recommend the addition of

- an excellent critical article.-- 15:13, 10 June 2007 (UTC)

I agree that there are definite problems with the mass-agriculture techniques being currently employed to produce oil crops - particularly abroad. I think there are better articles, but this argument deserves mention on the main page.E8 23:00, 18 June 2007 (UTC)
  • ((Aside: And what is 'abroad' to you? Making assumptions, are we?)) Anyway, one cool trend I'm hearing about (no good refs) is farmers using biodiesel in their tractors, which improves the situation considerably. At least that seems to be the case around here. ;-) --Treekids (talk) 00:37, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

What? (POV and VW and seals)

This article is just crazy in places. For example, anything related to the safe use of biodiesel in particular is just assinine. Who the hell is some anonymous guy on Wikipedia to tell a person with a diesel vehicle that his or her seals should have been replaced long ago? Furthermore, since when is volkswagen an independant firm? Since it's established earlier in the article that volkswagen is one of the few companies whose motors generally are capable of running B100, it seems to me that they'd have a very good reason to have a bias, just as the petrol companies do. Could someone with all the facts remove some of the bias and creeping POV? 03:41, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

  • I don't know if VW has actually established that in public. The best we have is an email attachment provided by VW directly to a customer in Germany- that doesn't make a good citation. At the same time there are VW dealers in USA with 'no more than 5% biodiesel' type notices posted on their walls (I saw one myself this past December-- that doesn't make a good citation either.) --Treekids (talk) 22:43, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Have the POV issues been dealt with, in your opinion? It doesn't seem so bad to me, but it's almost a year later. --Treekids (talk) 22:43, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Speaking of 'some anonymous guy on Wikipedia', how about you register for an ID and stick around and help? --Treekids (talk) 22:43, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

Biodiesel from algae?

US DoE made a study on biodiesel from algae, here is the report :www.eere.energy.gov/biomass/ pdfs/biodiesel_from_algae.pdf

see also : http://www.masshightech.com/displayarticledetail.asp?Art_ID=69103

hope it will helpRaminagrobis

  • It's mentioned now. Please review and comment. --Treekids (talk) 00:39, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

The engine that ran on peanut oil was not built by Rudolf Diesel

In 'Rudolf Diesel: Pioneer of the Age of Power' by Nitske & Wilson it states on p. 139 'At the Paris exposition of 1900, a Diesel engine, built by the French Otto Company ran wholly on peanut oil.'

Diesel is quoted in the paper 'Historical perspectives on vegetable oil-based diesel fuels' -http://www.biodiesel.org/resources/reportsdatabase/reports/gen/20011101_gen-346.pdf- '..at the Paris Exhibition in 1900 there was shown by the Otto Company a small Diesel engine, which, at the request of the French Government, ran on Arachide (earth-nut or pea-nut) oil, and worked so smoothly that only very few people were aware of it.'

Also despite the fact that the engine designed by Rudolf Diesel won the 'grand prix' 4 of the 5 diesel engines were of French manufacture. 'Rudolf Diesel: Pioneer of the Age of Power' by Nitske & Wilson it states on p. 166 'Interestingly, four of the five models exhibited had been built by the French-owned and engineered Bar-le-Duc corporation.'

The insinuation of the article is that R. Diesel won the prize and did it with peanut oil. That is not true. Engines of his patent won and were run on peanut oil, but R. Diesel was not responsible for the peanut oil.

  • Addressed. Please check it. Also, please sign you comments. --Treekids (talk) 19:49, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

P.S. My personal blog about making biodesel http://www.wvofuels.com/ is both about biodiesel and high quality! If I can get a second I'll resubmit it.

  • Blogs are not encyclopedic. --Treekids (talk) 19:49, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

Biodiesel and Volkswagen

There is a seemingly comprehensive chart in the article that shows which VW models are capable of running on neat biodiesel, but it has no citation. Considering that it seems to give stats that directly contradict VW, I would really like to see some attribution.

In america, VW says that B5 is the maximum blend acceptable and that this is only true for B5 that is sold commercially. http://www.vw.com/vwcom/content/objects/pdf/service_maint/BIODIESEL_ENG.pdfChristopher 22:30, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

In addition, I've been thinking about possibly deleting that chart entirely -- regardless of its accuracy (or lack of) -- since it seems to me to devote a disproportionate amount of space to one make of car, Volkswagen. Unless other people think there's a good reason to keep, it probably ought to go. Cgingold 12:58, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
I don't think it should be deleted outright - it should be moved to a different page or to a subpage. It's good information, provided that it is accurate, it just doesn't belong on this page. Christopher 15:55, 5 February 2007 (UTC)

This chart was added on Dec. 22 by Rnt20. I put a note on his user page asking where it came from. http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Biodiesel&oldid=95892791Christopher 16:09, 5 February 2007 (UTC)

Hi,I am happy for this chart to be (re)moved. I only put it on the Wikipedia page because:

  1. Volkswagen emailed me a PDF document which lists all this data, but I can't find it on their website
  2. The previous text on Wikipedia seemed to disagree completely with what Volkswagen sent

Here is the text of the email:

Sehr geehrter Herr Dr. Tubbs,

vielen Dank fuer Ihre Anfrage.

Das oben genannte Fahrzeug ist fuer den Betrieb mit Kraftstoff nach der EN14214 (Biodiesel) freigegeben. Die Normung EN 14214 ersetzt die bisherigenNormen DIN E 51 606 und DIN V 51 606.

Sollte es dennoch zu Schwierigkeiten am Kraftstofffilter und amEinspritzsystem kommen, obwohl Sie diese Hinweise und Vorgabeneingehalten haben, ist mangelnde Qualitaet des Kraftstoffes die Ursache.

Wir empfehlen Ihnen, sich vor dem Betanken zu vergewissern, dass dieNormung EN 14214 an der Zapfsaeule genannt wird.

Wurde nachtraeglich eine Standheizung in Ihrem Fahrzeug eingebaut,informieren Sie sich bitte beim Zulieferer des Geraetes ueber dieVertraeglichkeit mit Biodiesel.

Wir hoffen, dass Ihnen diese Informationen weiterhelfen.

Mit freundlichen Gruessen

i.V. Bernd Schmitter i.V. Katja Schott

Volkswagen AG38436 WolfsburgTel +49 (0) 800 8655792436Fax +49 (0) 800 3298655792436Mail to kundenbetreuung@volkswagen.deHomepage http://www.volkswagen.de

And here is the text pasted (messily!) from the PDF document attached to the email

Diese Auflistung umfasst alle Volkswagen PKW, die mit Biodiesel (RME) betrieben werden könnenbzw. für die ein Nachrüstsatz für den Betrieb mit RME zur Verfügung steht.0RGHOO 6HULHQPl‰LJ�ELRGLHVHOWDXJOLFK 1DFKUVWP JOLFKNHLWHQFox nicht biodieseltauglich nicht vorgesehenLupo/Lupo 3L alle -New Beetle/New Beetle Cabrioletalle -Polo Typ 6N alleAusnahme: Post Polo-nicht vorgesehenPolo ClassicPolo Variantalle -Polo Typ 9N alle -Golf/VentoTyp 1HX0Typ 1Hab Modelljahr '96 (auch TDI) alle ab Modelljahr '92 (außer TDI)Nachrüstsatz Limousine1H0 298 215Nachrüstsatz Variant1H9 298 215Golf EcomaticTyp 1HX0ab Fahrgestell-Nr. 1HRP491791 bis Fahrgestell-Nr. 1HRP491790Nachrüstsatz 1H0 298 215Golf/BoraTyp 1Jalle -Touran nicht biodieseltauglich nicht vorgesehenJetta 1KM nicht biodieseltauglich nicht vorgesehenGolf V/Golf PlusTyp 1K / Typ 1KPserienmäßig nicht biodieseltauglich,als Sonderausstattung (PR-Nr. 2G0)wird für den Golf V und den Golf Plus einBiodieselpaket angebotennicht vorgesehenPassat Typ 35I ab Modelljahr '96 (auch TDI) Limousine/Variantab Fg.-Nr. 31PE24000131PB240001Nachrüstsatz 3A0 298 215Passat Typ 3B/3BG alle, $XVQDKPH��3DVVDW�����7',�'3) nicht vorgesehenPassat Typ 3C nicht biodieseltauglich nicht vorgesehenSharan ab Modelljahr 1997 nicht vorgesehenPhaeton Fz mit DPF nicht biodieseltauglich nicht vorgesehenTouareg Fz mit DPF nicht biodieseltauglich nicht vorgesehenCaddy Typ 9K Wirbelkammer und SDI abProduktionsdatum KW 23/96nicht vorgesehen· Die zehnte Stelle der Fahrgestell-Nummer gibt das Modelljahr an: zum Beispiel T = 1996, V =1997, W = 1998, X = 1999 oder Y = 2000.· Der RME-Kraftstoff muss der DIN EN 14 214 (FAME) entsprechen.· Bei Betrieb mit RME-Kraftstoff müssen zusätzliche Wartungsarbeiten durchgeführt werden.· Beachten Sie bitte die Hinweise in der Bedienungsanleitung zum Betrieb mit RME.,KUH�9RONVZDJHQ�.XQGHQEHWUHXXQJ

  • Any policy reason you can't quote it on your User page and reference that? Isn't printing a letter addressed to you fair use? --Treekids (talk) 06:17, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Reading my (2006 TDI) warranty, I see no mention of biodiesel or other biofuels in the warranty. All it says is that damage caused by bad fuel (a batch of petro-fuel could be bad too!) is not covered. (That said, I do my best to avoid 'diagnosis by bumper sticker' when I go to the dealer (top off with petrodiesel and put the magnetic sticker in my bag). And I buy manufactured fuel from a fuel dealer rather than homebrew. I also figure it's a vote with the pocketbook, you know.) --Treekids (talk) 06:17, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

Energy Balance?

The article seems imbalanced about fossil fuel usage. Of course, supporters claim a positive energy balance. They always do. But what do critics claim, about the units of energy of fossil fuels used in various places and approaches per unit of biofuel energy produced? - 23:35, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

  • It's all about the farming isn't it? A farmer who runs straight vegetable oil and uses no petro-based fertilizers is going to have to be producing energy. But in agribusiness, that's unlikely. According to the literature, the situation is a lot better for biodiesel other alternatives, at least in the USA and Europe. Ethanol from corn appears to be the worst. But ethanol does work much better some places, like Brazil, which produces it from sugar cane. --Treekids (talk) 22:25, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

Ongoing Issues with Neutrality and Questionable Citations

There are two primary problems with this page. Firstly, there is a strong neutrality issue with how the article has been written. It is plainly obvious that a large amount of this page has been written by individuals focussed largely on the benefits of biodiesel and little about the drawbacks comparatively. This has led to the second issue, which is that with questionable citations. Many of these citations are 3rd-hand, come from energy consultants and personal websites, and stray from the original point of the article in some cases. Some are plain wrong.

Here is a good example:

'Furthermore, otherwise unused desert land (which receives high solar radiation) could be most effective for growing the algae, and the algae could utilize farm waste and excess CO2 from factories to help speed the growth of the algae'.[[9]]

The citation opens up with some diatribe about terrorism and human rights issues related to the middle-east. This is not a solid citation people!!! I don't care if the guy is from a university, it does not necessarily legitamise the work. Especially when in reference to the above claims the website states:

'Building the ponds in deserts also leads to problems of high evaporation rates. There are solutions to these problems, but for the purpose of this paper, we will focus instead on the potential such ponds can promise, ignoring for the moment the methods of addressing the solvable challenges remaining when the Aquatic Species Program at NREL ended.'

This is crap. You don't write a paper and state that we won't worry about the problems, they're solvable, lets just focus on what we want to talk about. These guys are consultants. They write what their clients want to hear to sell their idea. This is not science, it's business.

Here is another example: 'Furthermore, otherwise unused desert land (which receives high solar radiation) could be most effective for growing the algae, and the algae could utilize farm waste and excess CO2 from factories to help speed the growth of the algae.'

Okay. Except how many factories and farms are out in the desert currently? Where will the water come from to grow the algae? The fertiliser? How will contaminants be kept out? None of these very pertinent points are addressed.

I understand many people are very enthusiatic about some of the possibilities regarding biodiesel, but in the excitement people are ignoring and/or downplaying some very blatant issues, such as the fact that there is no possibility of a switch to a biodiesel energy economy based on a lack of sufficient arable land to meet even a fraction of the world's need. The reference for promotion of the use of algae [[10]] actually provides a dissuading analysis of the use of algae, and was misinterpreted by the person using it by picking out some values without apparently reading over the article itself that discusses how the figures are not realistic. I will follow up on this later, with an in-depth examination of the article and provide any necessary corrections.

One other line that struck me from this article. This is a quote from the website [[11]]

'When straw was left in the field, biodiesel production was strongly energy positive, yielding 1 GJ biodiesel for every 0.561 GJ of energy input (a yield/cost ratio of 1.78). When straw was burned as fuel and oilseed rapemeal was used as a fertilizer, the yield/cost ratio for biodiesel production was even better (3.71). In other words, for every unit of energy input to produce biodiesel, the output was 3.71 units (the difference of 2.71 units would be from solar energy). '

So what this says is that it actually makes much more sense to just burn the biomass for fuel period. The energy wasted processing the oil from the seed could be instead used to produce electricity, and save a significant amount of wasted fuel. This should be noted on the biodiesel page. Obviously the idea is to produce a readily substitutable fuel for current infrastructure, but it makes more sense envrionmentally to not make biodiesel in the long run!

Halogenated 22:37, 2 November 2007 (UTC)

  • Good points, generally. But as far as the last one, the value of biodiesel over burning directly is that it can be put in a fuel tank. I'm not going to burn a truckload of plants in my car to get to work. -Treekids (talk) 22:28, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

Biodiesel typically made by transeterification

The intro is like this: 'Biodiesel refers to a non-petroleum-based diesel fuel consisting of short chain alkyl (methyl or ethyl) esters, typically made by transesterification of vegetable oils or animal fats, which can be used (alone, or blended with conventional diesel fuel) in unmodified diesel-engine vehicles. Biodiesel is distinguished from the straight vegetable oils (SVO) or waste vegetable oils (WVO) used (alone, or blended) as fuels in some diesel vehicles. 'Biodiesel' is standardized as methyl ester and other non-diesel fuels of biological origin are not included..'

I added the word 'typically' to the intro, since

  • the reference uses that qualification
  • there now exist other ways to make biodiesel: Biomass to liquid, NExBTL, Thermal Depolymerization.

E8 has reverted out the word 'typically' a couple of times and is clearly of the opinion that other biologically derived fuels that can be burned in unmodified diesel engines and meet standards are not worthy of the term biodiesel even though his cited reference does not support that position.

I'm thinking NPOV is on my side on this one.

--Treekids (talk) 01:17, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

  • This introduction is more correct with the term 'typically' included. I don't see where in the edit history this removal was done, but if there was removal, it was an unintentional consequence of correcting your posts. As I noted previously, while most of your clean up and detail work is meritorious, the extraordinary volume of edits you've made makes it difficult to follow, evaluate, and edit, and correct your technical errors.--E8 (talk) 01:26, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Actually, one of the benefits of small edits is that one can revert selectively. I'm sorry if you don't see that. --Treekids (talk) 22:05, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

Well, you clearly were fine with most of my changes- I think the article is better now.

On this topic, namely the use of typically, I guess we come out on the same side. You concede that transeterification is only the major commercial source of biodiesel and thus by implication that there may be other ways. Fine. We agree violently. And wikipedia is better. (In spite of some of the changes I thought were uncontroversial turned out not to be so). --Treekids (talk) 02:32, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

Small change to numbers in Feedstock section

There is a bit at the end of the feedstock section comparing total current US use of diesel with current vegetable oil and animal fat production. Looking at all the units and millions and billions is a bit confusing, I find. Anybody object if I change 190 billion litres to 190 million tonnes (or 161 million tonnes assuming density of 0.85)? That would put all the 3 figures (current diesel use, veg. oil and animal fat) in the same unit (tonnes) and allow instant comparison. I would keep the US unit in brackets. The value of 50 biliion US gallons looks like an approximation, so the error would be not significant, but maybe expressing oil use in weight rather than volume terms would be offensive to some?Stainless316 (talk) 14:47, 6 February 2008 (UTC)

  • All I would say is if you change units, be sure to include Imperial units, since that is the standard unit of measurement we use. PHARMBOY (TALK) 15:25, 6 February 2008 (UTC)
    • It would be best to be consistently metric, since that's what most of the world uses and it will facilitate sharing with the non-en wikipedias. But regardless of the unit, consistency is the most important so people can compare apples and apples. --Treekids (talk) 23:06, 16 February 2008 (UTC)
    WP:UNITS is pretty clear about using US/Imperial measurements in this context. As I stated before, Imperial units need to be included in the article, you can't just delete them. It is arguable that Imperial be the main unit of measurements since the article began as a US centric article, but I've never been in favor of doing articles that way. Using metric as the primary and Imperial as the secondary shouldn't be such a big deal. PHARMBOY (TALK) 22:13, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Good point- thanks for clarifying. --Treekids (talk) 22:33, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Oh, and I meant to mention, I didn't 'just delete' the table because of units- the table was misinformation in the sense confused vegetable oil with biodiesel and it was poorly sourced. See the Yield Table talk section. --Treekids (talk) 01:28, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

Re-worked Feedstocks section.

I have drafted a feedstock section below at the following link:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Stainless316/sandbox5

Captain tsubasa wiki

Any comments welcome. I think it makes clear just how much oil needs to be produced to replace petrodiesel at current useage, and puts it in terms that can be understood - all those millions and billions are hard to follow.Stainless316 (talk) 16:07, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

I will substitute this for the current section then.Stainless316 (talk) 16:14, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

How much CO2 does normal diesel produce?

The UK government on Page 130 here says diesel has an emissions factor of 0.086 kgCO2e/MJ fuel.

The US government says on page 19(or 45 according to acrobat reader) that normal diesel produces 633.28 g CO2/bhp-h

Now my unit converter [12] says there are 2.68452 MJ in a horsepower hour.

so the UK government says 0.086*1000*2.68452 = 230 g Co2/bhp-h and the US says 633

Sims 2 Crack

So the US and the UK don't agree on the NORMAL diesel Co2 footprint, yet alone the biodiesel.

Help!!! Which of these is right?

This may be the reason the UK thinks that Biodiesels have about 70% the footprint of normal diesel and the US thinks it's 17%. They disagree on the footprint of normal diesel !!

No this isn't the reason. There's a mistake in the caculations in the US report: see below Mike Young (talk) 15:56, 27 February 2008 (UTC)

Answers please!

Mike Young (talk) 22:38, 20 February 2008 (UTC)on

I put a comment on your user page, Mike.Stainless316 (talk) 10:53, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

OK, a few more thoughts on the C02 problem.

Let's check the UK calculation.

The UK says it's 0.086 kg CO2 produced per MJ

We also have an energy density of 43.1 MJ per Kg

so we get 0.086 * 43.1 = 3760g CO2 per Kg diesel = 3.706 kg CO2 per kg Diesel

Check the US calculation

The US says it's 633/2.68452 = 235.793 g Co2/MJMultiply by the (uk) energy density and we get236.2* 43.1 = 10162 g = 10.162 kg Co2 per Kg diesel

Calculation by simple chemistry

Assuming a formula of C12H23 for Diesel Fuel. Let's calculate what % weight of diesel fuel ends up as CO2.

12*12(atomic weight Carbon) = 144

23*1(Atomic weight Hydrogen) = 23

So diesel is 144/167 Carbon


so 86% of weight of diesel is Carbon that ends up as atmospheric C02

so for 1 kilo 860g of Carbon is changed into CO2

Atomic weight of Oxygen is 16 and Carbon is 12: So we get

862 g of carbon produces 862*(16+16+12)/12 = 3160.666667 g of CO2 or 3.16 kg CO2 per kg Diesel


3.16 kg Co2 per kg

But diesel has a density of 0.89 kg/litre

So Diesel produces 2.812993363 kg CO2 per litre

But there are 3.785 litres in a (US) gallon so 2.812 * 3.785 = 10.64 kg CO2 per (US) gallonClose to the 10.1 stated at the start!

This is closer to the UK value than the US Mike Young (talk) 21:59, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

Removal of some duplication

More proposals. There are a few sections at the beginning describing different uses / applications (cars, trains etc.), then later a section on applications. This is duplication. I propose to put the 'applications' section near the beginning, with all the different uses as sub-sections. It would be useful if the 'description' section were before this, as this includes the 'B' nomenclature, which could be used for all the subsequent sections. Some of the detail I will remove, for example the data about UK heating oil being 1.5 million tonnes, requiring 330000 hectares - I calculate that as 500gpa, which seems a bit high compared to the yields described later. A section on differences from petrodiesel would also be useful near the start. This should include the different solvent properties, gelpoint, water contamination etc, which are refered to in the application sections.

So, the contents table would look like this:

1. Origin

2. Description

3. Differences from petrodiesel

3.1 Solvent properties
3.2 Gel point
3.3 Water contamination

4. Applications

4.1 vehicle use and manufacturer acceptance
4.2 Railroad use
4.3 Aircraft use
4.4 Heating oil

5. Distribution

6. Historical Background

7. Technical Standards etc as before

Any comments?Stainless316 (talk) 15:00, 26 February 2008 (UTC)

Yes, Good idea to remove the weird stuff at the start, but the article must try to give something simple for the layman, rather than diving into chemical detail. I'd vote for the following major headings:

  • Definition
  • Production
  • Environmental Effects
  • Economics
  • Chemical properties
  • History

probably in something like that order, with everything else as a sub article.Pull off some stuff into seperate articles. Mike Young (talk) 23:38, 26 February 2008 (UTC)

Thats a pretty big re-working. I will take it one stage at a time, and start off combining the Applications (mainly to get rid of the duplicated heating oil section) and to not have non-applications in teh applications section. After that I will have another look and take stock.Stainless316 (talk) 11:59, 28 February 2008 (UTC)

'Vehicular use and manufacturer acceptance section' needs serious attention!

As wikipedia becomes a powerful informational tool for public information, more and more 'consumers' look to it for basic information before they make important purchasing decisions. A strong 'vehicular use and manufacturer acceptance' section would assist potential biodiesel users in making decisions about whether to consider purchasing diesel vehicles and then whether to use the fuel (blends or 100%). Do any of you out there know of a website that monitors changing manufacturer attitude about biodiesel. My concern is that most printed materials become outdated quickly.. Perhaps a link to a reputable site would help potential users know what is currently happening in the 'warranty' world.. deanzateacherman (talk) 18:22, 28 February 2008 (UTC)

Euro Truck Simulator 2 Crack

'Biodiesel' and greenwashing

Hi. I think calling things that are 95% and 80% petroleum 'biodiesel' is confusing to the point of greenwashing. One person said 'you wouldn't tolerate it if your orange juice was 80% toxic.' Let's have some clarity and consistency here. --Treekids (talk) 23:10, 16 February 2008 (UTC)

  • The B% is the industry-adapted standard.--E8 (talk) 07:39, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Yes, they are the instustry-standard term for biodiesel blends. Dropping that key word amounts to greenwashing. --Treekids (talk) 22:18, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
  • A rating system based on percentages is transparent. There is no obvious attempt to trick people with this system.--E8 (talk) 01:30, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
  • You keep missing my point. If it is a blend, it should be called a 'biodiesel blend' or 'B5' or 'B20' etc. My complaint is primarily with instances where 'biodiesel' is used to describe 80% petroleum blends and 95% petroleum blends without the qualifier. I have no complaints with the B5, B20, etc., designations. I repeat, I have no complaints with the B5, B20, etc., designations. Do I need to say it again? --Treekids (talk) 22:08, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Regarding greenwashing, from involvement in the industry I've noted many claims, particularly in marketing, of Biodiesel being 'renewable.' Calling it so is clearly greenwashing, as methanol is the most commonly used alcohol and it's derived from natural gas (not renewable). This it the greatest greenwashing I've seen associated with Biodiesel.--E8 (talk) 00:48, 1 March 2008 (UTC)

Lead section

We have gone from long and rambling to over concise, in my opinion. The wp:lead section describes it thus:The lead should be able to stand alone as a concise overview of the article. It should establish context, summarize the most important points, explain why the subject is interesting or notable, and briefly describe its notable controversies, if there are any. The emphasis given to material in the lead should roughly reflect its importance to the topic according to reliable, published sources. The lead should not 'tease' the reader by hinting at but not explaining important facts that will appear later in the article. It should contain up to four paragraphs, should be carefully sourced as appropriate, and should be written in a clear, accessible style so as to invite a reading of the full article.I think it fitted this description before, and is now too short. Some tweaking could no doubt improve it.Stainless316 (talk) 11:51, 28 February 2008 (UTC)

As author of above section I can't but agree. But these things can grow rapidly, as people add their bits and pieces. Think of what I've put more as a placeholder. 90% of intro paras are too big, rather than too small, so don't be afraid to add stuff. Mike Young (talk) 14:26, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

US study

The 1998 study 'US Life Cycle inventory of of Biodiesel and Petrolioum Diesel for use in an Urban Bus' [13] has often been quoted in this article. This is a detailed study that contains many useful calculations. However it does contain an error, and some of the conclusions that it makes are dependant on this error. The error occurs on page 211 to 220 in the calculations of the Life Cycle Energy Demand and the Life Cycle Emissions of CO2. The actual omission is that the calculations on these pages use data for energy and Carbon produced earlier in the report in generating a Tonne of Soy Beans and apply that to a Tonne of Soy Bean Oil. 1 kg of Soy Beans will only produce about 170g of Soy Bean Oil. This means that the study has underestimated the cost of producing Biodiesel at the beginning of the chain by a factor of over 5. This is why the study's conclusions (e.g. that Biodiesel reduces the Carbon by 78%) are at variance with many other studies. I have therefore removed these references Mike Young (talk) 22:24, 26 February 2008 (UTC)

Here's a brand new overview of the Biodiesel energy balance; you should be able to locate the original studies by examining this article. [14]--E8 (talk) 23:01, 26 February 2008 (UTC)
The original study is the one mentioned above. Having spent several hours today looking at this, I really think there is a mistake in it. I haven't seen the new one. Will post more details to you as soon as I get the time. Mike Young (talk) 23:47, 26 February 2008 (UTC)
I was hoping to save you the trouble of reviewing the old one since there is a very recent update that covers at least some of the same material. Sorry I don't have more time to contribute. Nice work Mike.--E8 (talk) 01:53, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
This seems to agree with my views (i.e. that it has a bad footprint) Mike Young (talk) 15:53, 27 February 2008 (UTC)

Comparison of UK and US studies

I have just spent some time looking at the different conclusions about Carbon Intensity published by two government departments, Carbon and Sustainability Reporting Within the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation by the UK Department of Transport (UKDoT) and Life Cycle Inventory of Biodiesel and Petroleum Diesel for Use in an Urban Bus by the US Department of Agriculture and US Department of Energy (USDoADoE).

Both of these studies attempt to generate the Carbon Intensity of US Soy bean Biodiesel, but they come to remarkably different conclusions, with the UK study showing that the Fossil fuel intensity is about (58-3)/86 = 64% (i.e using B100 produces 64% the net carbon of fossil fuels) and the US study saying it is 17%.

The studies are supposed to go through essentially the same calculations, but come to radically different conclusions. I was determined to find out why this was. Fortunately as I could look at the two independant studies side by side, this enabled me to highlight the differences and find the mistakes. This was not a particularly easy job, as the two studies used different units, and there was a lot of conversions between one data value and another that had to take place.

The differences were:

1)Different data values: The UK figures are probably less accurate than the US here, as they are deliberately 'pessimistic'. This is because they are designed to encourage producers to calculate the actual energy used in the processing of the Biodiesel. Relatively high 'default values' have been used in the hope that producers will provide data for actual usage which will be lower. As biodiesel with a low footprint collects greater subsidies, the default values are designed to encourage producers to actually calculate and report the fuel used in production, rather than relying on the less than generous 'default values'. So we would expect the US data values to be somewhat lower than the UK 'default' values. This is true. We would also expect the US figures to be more accurate.

2)Differing Assumptions. Some calculations take some things into account that others do not. The major difference here is that the UK studies take into account the penality for the change in land use, but also the benefit for the production of biproducts. In the case of the US Soybean, these values are +25 g CO2/MJ penalty for land use change and -41 g CO2/MJ benefit for the use of biproduct (Soy meal used as cattle feed). Thus the differing assumptions should make the UK figures better than the US.

3)Mistakes in Calculations. The UK study is much better at actually showing its working, (as it is hoping that biodiesel producers will actually go through similar calculations themselves). The US study performs a lot more calculations but uses an especially odd method of aggregating the total CO2. When comparing the UK and US calculatons, I think the US calculation is just plain wrong here. Using the (simpler) UK method of calculation with the US data and assumptions yields figures of the same rough order of magnitude as the UK.

If you compare the US and UK figures with each other, then you get the following graph. I can't put it on the page as it would be original research, but it shows what I think are the true values for the footprint, what you get when you use the (accurate) US data with the correct (UK) method. Mike Young (talk) 22:51, 27 February 2008 (UTC)

Thats a lot of work there Mike - maybe we can finally get to the bottom of thie comparisons. Comparing this to the 86g / mJ the UK use for petrodiesel, this gives an intensity of 53% for light blue and 63% of petrodiesel for dark red. I am a bit confused by the graph - can you explain what the two colums are again? The co-product benefit also seems rather large - can it really be greater than that taken to produce the soy in the forst place? That must be a particularly CO2 intensive cattle feed it is replacing. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Stainless316 (talk • contribs) 11:39, 28 February 2008 (UTC)
The top (purple) column contains the data values that are given in the document US Life Cycle inventory of of Biodiesel and Petrolioum Diesel for use in an Urban Bus. These data values have been converted using the universally accepted conversion factors (eg kilograms to pounds) or conversion factors given in the above report itself (eg yield of oil per kg soybeans)
However the method of calculation is that of the UK report.
The lower (blue) column contains data values and calculations from Carbon and Sustainability Reporting Within the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation by the UK Department of Transport (UKDoT).
The values used for the benefits of the co-product is given on p 191 of the UK report they are
4.32 T soy meal / t soy oil
-373 kg CO2 / t soy meal.
gives -1527 kg CO2 / t soy oil
This is then divided by 37.2 MJ per Kg (see page 133 of the UK report) to give a final score of -41 kgCO2/MJ
The steps in the calculation are as are done in the report. Mike Young (talk) 07:39, 1 March 2008 (UTC)


There has been far too much loosely-added, uncited material here as of late. Please take more care in citing sources and research. The contributing author is responsible for providing accurate information WITH supporting sources. If you need help finding quality sources for this page, I will help. Leave me a message on my user talk page.--E8 (talk) 03:44, 12 March 2008 (UTC)

Cancer Risk Reduction Proof

http://journeytoforever.org/biodiesel.html (1/4 the way down the page there are links to studies that prove the ~90% reduction in cancer risk.)

The above was unsigned, but I did find this at the source: 'According to a U.S. Department of Energy study completed at the University of California at Davis, the use of pure biodiesel instead of petroleum-based diesel fuel could offer a 93.6% reduction in cancer risks from exhaust emissions exposure.' Here's a link to the PDF. This is worth mention on the main.--E8 (talk) 01:18, 13 March 2008 (UTC)


Someone added that distribution for Biodiesel is possible using existing infrastructure. I've read otherwise in numerous industry articles include this one from Biodiesel Magazine, where concerns over contamination of other fuels was cited as a concern: “There isn’t enough empirical data and testing equipment,” says Nazzaro, referring to a problem called “trail back,” where trace amounts of residual biodiesel may stay in the pipeline and end up in future fuels. “[The biodiesel] could be extremely low, but until more work is done there is no tolerance for any measurable level of biodiesel in jet aviation fuel.”--E8 (talk) 03:43, 12 March 2008 (UTC)

  • E8, bro you should know better than to believe everything you read in a periodical. Transatlantic biodiesel fueled Jet flight is a piece of history, however Jet fuel is isolated and QCed prior to being delivered to airport fueling systems. You may confirm this at your local airport.—Preceding unsigned comment added by Vinmax (talk • contribs) 03:35, 13 March 2008 (UTC)
  • Verification is a Wikipedia requirement. If this practice is as common as you say, it should be easy to attain. Assuming inspections are done, what will happen if the jet fuel is found to be contaminated? Won't this become an economic issue (rather than a safety issue) at that point? Either way, it's still a problem.--E8 (talk) 05:02, 13 March 2008 (UTC)
  • Biodiesel is currently being sold at truck stops utilizing (existing infrastructure) who wants on the denial train? The article is looking better of late, and I know your kicking it and deserve some props, but don't buy the hype, there is a lot of sound bytes in print as well as on the net. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Vinmax (talk • contribs) 03:35, 13 March 2008 (UTC)
  • Your conclusions based on a media report are greatly overreaching. If you have something specific that refutes the industry publication I cited, post it. I will revert all specious material that is uncited, including yours. Regarding the jet test, the Biodiesel used was carefully selected, was blended (B20), and was only run in 1 of 4 engines, giving a wide margin of safety. Further, the testing was done under great scrutiny by Boeing, GE Aviation, Imperium Renewables, and Virgin Atlantic. [This article] discusses some of the potential problems and research that are occurring in the jet fuel / Biodiesel area.--E8 (talk) 05:02, 13 March 2008 (UTC)

Bio versus Petro differential

Would a section explaining the differences between biodiesel and petrodiesel be appropriate? A differential (with molecule models) would provide greater explanation on many of the common topics that are discussed here (e.g. combustion, energy density, hygroscopic properties, etc.) Thoughts? Worthwhile or just complicating?--E8 (talk) 05:57, 14 March 2008 (UTC)

I did think that this section would be useful (see 'Removal of some duplication' above). These differences are refered to in several parts of the article, so gathering them all in one place with a clear title would be good. Part of the problem is that to make sense it should be near the beginning, otherwise the differences already get discussed before their section. This could be delaying the 'meat' so to speak. All in all I am in favour.Stainless316 (talk) 14:58, 14 March 2008 (UTC)

Use in aircraft

Al the media reports I have seen on the Virgin use of biofuel in planes have described vegetable oil, not biodiesel, including the one cited in the article. Is this a case of the media doing its usual poor job of reporting science based stories, or was it actually straight vegetable oil in the trials? If it was oil, then it does not belong here. If it is biodiesel, perhaps someone can find a reference which says it is.Stainless316 (talk) 10:10, 17 March 2008 (UTC)

  • Here's the C-Net coverage of this new item, specifically stating: 'biodiesel from Imperium Renewables composed of babassu oil and coconut oil' was used. I complete agree that the media reports were very unhelpful when it came to technical aspects of this flight.--E8 (talk) 17:40, 17 March 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for thatStainless316 (talk) 15:13, 18 March 2008 (UTC)

Yield Table

I am working on a Biofuels research project and am interested as to the source of the oil source for the statistics discussed in the Base Oils section where the gal/acre numbers are discussed.


TRL 18:46, 10 October 2005 (UTC)

Most are from the Journey to forever site which cites other sources I believe. The algae one is from Briggs. The yields vary of course on a lot of factors such as methods, soil quality, specific plant variety, etc. The JTF numbers are a bit out of date, but no comprehensive source I have seen has more up to date numbers. Biodiesel is a burgeoning industry so now instead of publicly funded research, much of the research now now seems to be proprietary in the R&D labs of companies looking to commercialize. That's probably partly a good thing since mass production of biodiesel is going to require efficent sources of lipids. - TaxmanTalk 14:58, 11 October 2005 (UTC)
  • We need to redo the yield table. And maybe make a chart. The existing one shows yields of vegetable oil per acre per unspecified timeperiod. We need yields of *biodiesel* per acre, since energy content varies. Also we need timeperiod to be specified. --Treekids (talk) 19:52, 17 February 2008 (UTC)


OK, so there are new figures there, and there are, IMHO, better references, and they relate to biodiesel specifically, not UVO.The references have gallons per acre. They are apparently US gallons since the references appear to be mostly American. --Treekids (talk) 00:11, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

need more fuels

Hi folks. We also should have imperial and metric values. It would be cool if someone ..

  • Get info (with references) for other oils. Particularly missing are any animal fats. In particular I remember reading that Tyson is giving Cargill animal fat from their massive beef and pork (formerly IBP) and chicken processing plants to be made into biodiesel and that Chevron is essentially selling their petrodiesel with up to 3% *unrefined* animal fat added. --Treekids (talk) 00:11, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

need help with conversions

Hi folks. Can someone help with the arithmetic and formatting? We should add imperial and metric and make it back into a table. --Treekids (talk) 00:11, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

Some more thoughts

The marketing of biodiesel has been so successful that it is difficult to find critiques of it buried in all of the hype. The sites that sell or promote biodiesel are the wrong places to go to find unbiased data. Here is an article in Grist that summarizes some of the growing awareness that biofuels may do untold damage to the planet. There was also an article in New Scientist pointing out the same thing.

Of course this goes both ways, and there is at least as much fear, hype, and misinformation on sites like these. If you read the primary scientific literature, you can certainly get closer to objectivity, but even there, important and fairly obvious options are generally overlooked. Note that just because there is the word 'scientist' in the title of the magazine, doesn't make it science - this was a news piece (i.e. one journo's opinion), not peer reviewed research. Jamiegilardi 01:11, 18 September 2007 (UTC)

Another point to keep in mind is the confusion over different blends of biodiesel. For example, A B100 (100% biodiesel) blend is partially carbon neutral,

first B100 is not a blend, it's pure biodiesel. Second, it's impossible for something to be 'partially carbon neutral' it is either positive, neutral, or negative, and likely all three depending on the feedstock.
sorry, from most sources which have been confirmed by my own experience after burning about 4k liters of B100, any decrease in efficiency is well under 5% and is generally not detectable. NOx emissions vary and newer additives make this issue a non-issue.

A B20 blend is far from carbon neutral. Biodiesel is also not 78% carbon neutral. Its neutrality is dependent on the plant being used. The 78% figure quoted in Wiki is for Soybeans and even that number appears to be biased. I can show you the sources if you want.

Claims that biodiesel can impact CO2 emissions are misleading as are claims that it will make a meaningful difference in foreign oil dependency. Let me know if you want to see the sources and math.

This makes no sense. If the EPA estimates a 67% decrease in GHG emissions and the stuff is grown locally in Europeo or the USA, there's no math involved.Jamiegilardi 01:11, 18 September 2007 (UTC)

Farming is not environmentally friendly. It is a necessary evil to grow food. It usurps vast areas of land and water and requires billions of tons of pesticides and fertilizers. A cornfield is one species away from being just as biologically impoverished as a mall parking lot. Environmentally friendly biodiesel is an oxymoron.

When one considers that, next to burning fossil fuels, deforestation is the second leading cause of global warming, one has to stop and ask: should the world be cutting down rainforests and plowing under its conservation reserves to grow biofuels?

Valid question. However, you need to ask yourself the more important question first .. is this actually happening or just something you fear might happen. Deforestation for making cookies and cakes with palm oil is one thing, and actual deforestation for biodiesel production is quite another. Of course there is some of this, but the horror stories are about oil for food, not for fuel (yet).Jamiegilardi 01:11, 18 September 2007 (UTC)
I think it's clear it is happening, biodisel factories that are intended to use palm oil is being built if not already in production and cutting down rain forest to make room for oil palm plantages is the biggest cause of deforestation in those areas. This of course is directly affected by the increasing demand for palm oil because of biodiesel (among other things).--Apis O-tang (talk) 06:48, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

I think this article needs a criticisms section similar to the one found on the Precautionary Principle. I would be happy to submit one for your critique. Sarann 03:40, 8 January 2006 (UTC)

Folks, there is nothing short of giving up farming completely and going back to a hunter-gatherer lifestyle that would 'save the planet'. Algae is the way to go because it does not use farmland, doesn't need fresh water, and can actually result in a net reduction of greenhouse gases we're putting into the atmosphere if we use the CO2 emitted by power plants. No, it's not a perfect fuel. But we don't live in a perfect world. --JSleeper 08:41, 12 January 2006 (UTC)

  • Hear, hear! We cannot wait for the perfect solution or we will never get there. We must take the steps we can. --Treekids (talk) 23:03, 16 February 2008 (UTC)

Removed from Distribution

The aspects of this section related to vehicle modifications need sources and should then be adapted to fit in the Vehicular use.. section. The infrastructure component is spurious and should not be re-added to the main (see comments above).

'Distribution is possible using today's Petro Dieselinfrastructure as long as minor adjustments are made[citation needed] to both the distribution fueling systems as well as vehicle fuel systems, such as replacement of fuel system, solvent-sensitive o-rings, gaskets, fittings and hoses, filtering of loosened fossil fuel varnishes, prevention and growth of mold and additives to prevent solidification at colder temperatures.'

--E8 (talk) 02:39, 22 March 2008 (UTC)

Minus section

The increase in biodiesel production of 5 times in 5 years is matched by the references in the Production levels section I have just added (Europe 0.9 million tonnes in 2001, US 5 million gallons or 0.02 million tonnes, compared to about 5-6 million tonnes 2006) However, this section mostly duplicates information already in the article.Stainless316 (talk) 13:05, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

Agree. Seems content was added to promote a website biodiesel-expansion.com, which is both an adsense site, and is selling a book. Fails WP:RS miserably.--Hu12 (talk) 13:08, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

Environmental Benefits

Environmental graph

Graph of UK figures for the Carbon Intensity of Biodiesels and fossil fuels[17]

(please don't delete this graph from the talk page or the discussion below will make no sense)The recent additions to Environmental Benefits fails to mention a critical detail - the values are specific to the UK. Transportation costs (for fuel, not feedstock) were figured in, inflating the values for foreign imports. At very least, this needs to be addressed, though I am in favor of removal. It's common for individuals to overlook details when presented with graphical displays; since this display provides a distorted view of the situation, it should be removed or replaced with something unbiased. Also, other, more general sources and comments were removed in favor of this nation-specific source.--E8 (talk) 19:36, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for your comments and interest. I have amended to caption to make it clear these are UK calculated fugures. Transportation cost is indeed one of the reasons why Australia and the Ukraine produce more CO2 than the UK in the oil seed rape option. This just goes to show (as I said) that the calculations are complex, and dependant on a lot of assumptions. Transportation costs appear to be an important, but not overriding consideration (which is why Poland appears the overall winner, rather than the UK). I think it is unfair to say it is a distorted view, although it may be a UK-centric view. It also has the advantage of being 'official' government data. Mike Young (talk) 08:16, 27 January 2008 (UTC)
Updated the picture as well. Mike Young (talk) 09:03, 27 January 2008 (UTC)
Your addition did little to clarify the issues, and for now, I've removed it as I continue to feel it is misleading. I have called in two other editors that frequent this page to discuss the matter. Consider that WP users are as subject to the same mistake you made: 1) look at data, 2) assume it's valid, 3) overlook critical information, 4) draw improper conclusion. This (very nice) graphical display you added would be a great addition if it wasn't regionally-focused; since it is so prominent and there no other displays to compare it with, it does introduce bias. The information you posted is only useful for those from the UK (or nearby, perhaps), as the accounting behind the figures is obfuscated; I was unable to determine how to remove the regionally-biased components from the cost accounting. BTW, you deleted a citation from a US government research facility that was not region-specific and replaced it with one that was, so I'm not sure why you're commenting on gov't sources. --E8 (talk) 19:29, 27 January 2008 (UTC).
Help me out on this. What mistakes has the UK DoT made in its calculations, in particular what 'critical information' has the UK DoT overlooked to make its results 'an improper conclusion'? In what way is the UK a special case that makes inclusion of this data misleading? Does it produce biodiesel with a significantly different Carbon footprint than other countries? In this game 'overlooking critical information' would almost certainly result in a higher carbon footprint. How much more do you estimate the Carbon footprint be? What conclusions have I drawn (improper or not)? The information in the graph is useful as it shows the sort of results that could be expected, and the sorts of variations, and because it shows Carbon Intensities about 60-70% those of fossil fuels. The problem with the article as it stands is that it says 'biodiesel reduces emissions of Carbon Dioxide by 78%' which is not what the DoT says. What countries manufacture large amounts of biodiesel with Carbon Intensities of 22% those of fossil fuels? Mike Young (talk) 14:11, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
I think what we are discussing below is the best likely solution, as comparing diesel to biodiesel depends on the diesel itself, which is different in the US and other countries. You sound like a likely candidate for a UK article that could focus on UK specific advantages/disadvantages. Pharmboy (talk) 21:08, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
Mike, I not stating that the information is flawed, just the placement. The information provided is specific to the UK as the figures account for transportation of said fuels to the UK. This appears to be very useful information (and presentation) that should be placed in a page like Biodiesel in the UK; if you'd like help starting this page, I can offer some time.--E8 (talk) 23:15, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for the offer but having a closer look at these figures, they are not particulary UK specific. Transporting stuff by Boat halfway around the world doesn't use up that much of the energy burden. e.g. for the Brazillian Soy only 6% of its carbon cost (166 Kg CO2 per Tonne Biodiesel) to make a 10,000 km boat trip. A trip to the USA would average about the same distance. I suppose domestic consuption would be 6% less. (BTW the transport of 1500 miles by truck inside Brazil uses 1301 kg CO2 per Tonne) Mike Young (talk) 23:36, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
The report also mentions Biproducts rape meal etc can substitute for animal feed (eg wheat or Soy), so the calculations give a bonus for this, (without which many of the Biodesels would hava a worse Carbon intensity than normal diesel). Should this be mentioned in the 'advantages' section? Mike Young (talk) 23:39, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
The report also says p88:
NB. The Government recommends that fuel chain default values should be defined ‘conservatively’ (i.e. a higher carbon intensity) in order to provide an incentive for companies to collect more data. The use of conservative default values means that the values in the tables below should not be interpreted as being an accurate assessment of the GHG saving potential of the biofuels.
Oh dear.
So there is a problem here. These figures are deliberately set high to motivate users to collect data on the actual values (and presumably find they are somewhat lower). The problem is that the government wants the users to collect the data, so wants to motivate them to substitute real data for default data. (a similar thing happens with estimated gas and electricity bills). However, the government does not want to set these figures unreasonably high, otherwise there will be no incentive to use biofuels of unkown origin. What is not known is how close these default values are to actual values, I suspect high, but not unreasonably so (I would guess about one standard deviation too high). Mike Young (talk) 10:39, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
There is some confusion in the article here with Efficiency and economic arguements and Environmental benefits. The first part about fuel use on a farm gives a benefit of 12.5:1 oil to farm fuel use, but this is probably fairly meaningless from the greenhouse gas perspective as it neglects many other inputs. However, it does make sense in the economic section. There is the compsrison with solar panels, again very good in the economic section. The section then goes on to discuss the DOE / USDA figures for energy yield. This is mostly environmental benefit, and does not have much to do with the economy of the farm. It is also a 1998 study, which seems a bit old - surely a more up to date study exists? I think that this energy balance question is one of the most important aspects of biodiesel (and all biofuels). Clearly cost is also very important. Another important aspect is sustainability, land use, forest clearance etc. Whilst there will be regional differences in these issues, a great many of the issues will be universal. I think they should be dealt with here, possibly with greater details in regional articles. OK, my suggestion. A section on the economics. A section on energy balance. A section on sustainability issues. Some of this could be done with re-aranging the current material, such as the USDA data and the data in the graph under discussion could be discussed in the energy balance section. (A slight aside - a part sentence says 'Generally is 2.5' - where did this come from?). The information in the graph under discussion could be summarised, and the caveats about the UK Govs. assumptions included to prevent the impression that this is the internationally accepted figures. Clearly this is a fairly major bit of work, so as a compromise, I would say summarise the data in the graph and put it alondside the USDA / DOE study. The inclusion of the graph itself may over-emphasise the data, but the information surely deserves to be there.Stainless316 (talk) 16:28, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
      • The problem with the information in the graph remains. The 'carbon cost accounting' includes transportation of the fuels to the UK. Obviously imported fuel will have a higher carbon costs in such an accounting system. There was no explanation of the transportation cost accounting that I could locate in the paper, and without that information, these costs cannot be factored out. I think the study is very useful, just not general. I teach college math and statistics; I know people tend to look at the main presentation and skip over all the fine details. This is why I the current presentation can't be included on the main.--E8 (talk) 19:47, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
      • Biodiesel in the United Kindgom has been created and the material in question, placed there.--E8 (talk) 19:57, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
        • Is that like Biodiesel in the United Kingdom but for people like me that can't spell? ;) Pharmboy (talk) 20:17, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
          • The transportation costs are there in the doc, but buried deep in the annexes. I have done a graph with them highlighted and one with them taken out. (see below) Mike Young (talk) 21:25, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

make regionial pages?

  • Comment The environmental benefits could be done another way: Strip down to only the basics, head the section with general benefits that affect everyone (chain of carbon, etc.) and then break off one paragraph for each country affected and link to subarticles. Biodiesel in the United States already exists (but not wikified or completely written). Biodiesel in the United Kingdom could be next, and so on. These other articles would be the better place to provide details anyway, this article is just called Biodiesel and should be the most general and universal. As it is, the article is getting too large and too specific. These sub articles would be WAY better as they could truly focus on each country, instead of a watered down compromise of 'benefits'. Pharmboy (talk) 20:24, 27 January 2008 (UTC)
    • Thanks for the suggestion Pharmboy. That's why I asked you, though I wish I'd thought of that myself.--E8 (talk) 22:37, 27 January 2008 (UTC)
      • Actually, thank you. To be honest, I would never have thought about until you asked the question. I didn't even know that the Biodiesel in the United States article existed until I wrote the reply and saw it wasn't a redlink. My first preview had a somewhat different answer, then seeing that someone has already started the article, the answer (to me) seemed kinda obvious: break it up a bit so it can be accurate for each country. The US article needs work as well. I think that biodiesel is such a growing issue, it I guess we shouldn't be shocked if it blossoms into other indepth articles and leave the main article a little shorter, more general and concise. Pharmboy (talk) 00:53, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

New graphs

Graph of UK figures for the Carbon Intensity of Biodiesels and fossil fuels.It assumes biodiesel is transported to the UK to be burnt.[18]
Graph of UK figures for the Carbon Intensity of Biodiesels and fossil fuels. This graph assums that all biodiesels are burnt in their country of origin[19]
Calculation of Carbon Intensity of biodiesel grown in US and burnt in the UK, using UK government calculation [20]

Here's a new graph with the UK specific contributions in (i.e. the cost of transportation form the country of origin to the UK. I think this makes it clear enough what the UK specific values are. Mike Young (talk) 20:33, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

Below it is another graph with the UK specific data (the red bits in the graph above) removed. This graph shows no country specific bias (although it does use figures calculated in the UK, it assumes that the biodiesel is burnt in the country of origin). Mike Young (talk) 20:54, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

  • Nicely done, Mike. Post it.--E8 (talk) 21:47, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
    • Thanks Mike Young (talk) 22:14, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Mike, I think it would make more sense to have the graph with the red bars in Biodiesel in the United Kingdom and the graph without, here.--E8 (talk) 01:46, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
    • Looks like that is the case. Might want to source it in the summary with more than 'UK numbers' as well. That is pretty vague. Pharmboy (talk) 14:37, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

Land use change not considered properly

I have another concern about this graph: Deforestation of tropical rain forest is the second largest contributor of greenhouse gas emissions caused by humans. (http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/syr/ar4_syr.pdf, Global anthropogenic GHG emissions chart on p. 36)Clearing of such forest to make room for oil palm plantations is the biggest cause of clearing of rain forest. As far as I could tell that was not taken into consideration when calculating the figures for palm oil. If anything it looks like they made the assumption the oil palms where being grown on what was previously cropland (which is ridiculous imo). I haven't read through the entire report yet, but if you look at the section Land use change on p. 12 they state that 'Where information is not provided (i.e. ‘unknown’ is reported), the Government recommends that, in the early years of the RTFO, the calculation should not require the use of a default value for land-use change impacts'. Deforestation also have severe impact on the biodiversity in the affected areas. I think this graph gives the wrong impression of the environmental effects from these fuel sources and should be removed. It is far too technical to be presented as it is. I'm going to be bold, and remove the graph for now since I feel it is misleading. After all the data is still available in the reference if anyone reading the article is interested.--Apis O-tang (talk) 07:33, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

I've marked your comment with a citation needed. And your deletion seems to be based upon feelings and personal belief - and while that is fine, its not usefull on Wikipedia. I've restored the graph - until you can substantiate your claims. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 09:21, 3 April 2008 (UTC)
I don't understand why you think my removal is based on feelings and personal belief (or rather, of course they are, but they are also based on facts and an understanding of the mechanisms at work etc)? I've added a reference to the IPCC's fourth assessment report. These issues are also mentioned in the UK report itself so it's not really in dispute. This webpage from BBC describes the basic effects of deforestation rather pedagogically: http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A3556848. My issue is with these factors not being considered in the document and hence the graph, which might be fine for the intended use of that document, but those figures weren't intended to end up in a graph on wikipedia. As it is, I think it's extremely misleading because the shortcomings of the graph isn't obvious and besides there are other considerations that has to be made about the environmental effects of certain types of biodiesels. Having a huge graph like that in the beginning of that section is misleading, it makes it look like palm oil biodiesel is the best fuel possible from an environmental point of view and I can't see that there is any evidence for that as it is. And how about at least considering what I'm saying before accusing me of making things up.--Apis O-tang (talk) 10:28, 3 April 2008 (UTC)
Of course land-use changes are a factor. The original research here is that you are claiming a proportion of impact from a single factor (rainforest deforestation because of biodiesel production) that is not supported by the references. You need to show us that the impact of deforestation for biodiesel is a significant enough factor to scew the figures in the graph. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 11:21, 3 April 2008 (UTC)
Have you even read the UK report and the IPCC assessment report? The UK report don't claim land-use changes such as deforestation aren't important, that isn't in dispute by anyone but you. Have you read my comment? I'm not saying the graph is incorrect, I'm saying it is misleading in this context. In the report this aspect is carefully mentioned, it isn't on this page. Therefore it should not be presented as it is. This isn't original research, it is something anyone who read the actual document can see for them selves. Please provide something substantial in your comments or this discussion is pointless.
Yes, i've read them. The trouble here is not the connections. The reason that you say that its misleading, is a personal feeling of how big the impact factor of deforestation for biodiesel is in the grand total. In effect this is original research. Find a reliable source that estimates that this factor is significant enough to scew the results in the report.
The IPCC synthesis report does not report on how big an impact factor biodiesel production has on deforestation. Your usage of this reference is original research. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 13:42, 3 April 2008 (UTC)
No it's not, I don't claim I know how big those effects are, and neither do they! That fact is pointed out very carefully in the UK report, but it isn't apparent from the graph though. That is the problem! No one here knows how big these effects are apparently, but it is clear that deforestation of tropical rain forest is a major contributor of greenhouse gas emissions. Since the report disregards that fact, and the graph is taken out of its context I find it very misleading in it's current form.--Apis O-tang (talk) 14:15, 3 April 2008 (UTC)
'but it is clear that deforestation of tropical rain forest is a major contributor of greenhouse gas emissions'[citation needed] - Carbon emissions from industry in 1998 was 6.788 peta grams of carbon, and according to this paper emissions from tropical deforestation was 0.9 petagrams of carbon or 0.1%. But lets assume that it really is for a minute. So what percentage of tropical deforestation is happening because of biodiesel? --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 14:30, 3 April 2008 (UTC)
If we go by the AR4 (IPCC 2007) report - then the tropics are pretty much neutral with regards to emissions (despite deforestations). Here is the specific section in AR4 ( chapter 7, section page 522 ) [emphasis mine]: Robust findings of regional land-atmosphere flux
• Tropical lands are found in inversions to be either carbon neutral or sink regions, despite widespread deforestation, as is apparent in Figure 7.7, where emissions from land include deforestation. This implies carbon uptake by undisturbed tropical ecosystems, in agreement with limited forest inventory data in the Amazon (Phillips et al., 1998; Malhi and Grace, 2000).
--Kim D. Petersen (talk) 16:25, 3 April 2008 (UTC)
This discussion isn't leading anywhere, Im just repeating myself. As I said, the fact that the percentage is unknown and not included in the figures is exactly the point. That is why that picture is misleading.
It is only misleading if there is a substantiated reason to believe that deforestation makes the figures deviate significant. And the report doesn't indicate this. In fact the figures include LUC (land use change). It makes a recommendation to examine this in more detail - but raises no specific concern about it. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 17:19, 3 April 2008 (UTC)
I think it is apparent from the IPCC report and other that deforestation contribute significant amounts of GHG emissions. If you read the UK report carefully they say they don't consider land use change in all cases, and as far as I could see it looks like the figures for palm oil was based on the assumption it was being grown on what was previous cropland while it's well known making room for new palm oil plantations is one of the biggest threats to the rain forest in many areas of the world. There are also other problems with the deforestation of the rain forest that I like to believe most people are aware of. That includes but is not limited to the possible extinction of thousands of species. This graph is presented in such a way that these aspects are not clear. In fact the text implies land use change have been considered. That is why that graph is misleading.--Apis O-tang (talk) 06:51, 4 April 2008 (UTC)
http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg2/ar4-wg2-chapter4.pdf, Chapter 4: Ecosystems, their Properties, Goods and Services, Section 4.4.5 Forests and woodlands, on page 227 one can read:
'[..] The latter underlies the currently high deforestation and degradation rates in tropical and subtropical regions (Hassan et al., 2005), leading to about one-quarter of anthropogenic CO2 emissions (e.g., Houghton, 2003a).' (one quarter is 25%) but please read all of the report, you actually might learn something. If you had read the other sources you would already have seen this. The reports you refer to indicate co2 emissions from deforestation of tropical rainforest's to 12% [0.9/(0.9+6.788)]. Still as they point out that is not what the IPCC reports, and the IPCC typically represent the consensus (or best estimate if you will) among climate researchers. The paper you refer to is from 2002 and is based on satellite measurements during the 1980s and 1990s. I don't really see how this is relevant. According to 'your' report: 'Overall, the rates of tropical forest clearing have increased by ca 10% from the 1980s to 1990s in contrast to FRA statistics that report declining rates. The increase is largely in southeast Asia' and further I think 12% is significant.--Apis O-tang (talk) 16:38, 3 April 2008 (UTC)
First of all, what you are citing here is the WGII report (impacts and vulnerabilities). It is the WGI report (scientific basis) that is authoritative on current and past carbon emissions. The sentence you picked includes the subtropics - as well - and doesn't limit itself to tropical rainforests (deforestation is many things).
Great so go look it up in the WGI report then, I'm sure they come to the same conclusion.--Apis O-tang (talk) 06:51, 4 April 2008 (UTC)
That said i miscalculated in the above - of course its 11.7% not 0.1 (argh!). Please note that 'my report' (as you scare quote it) is one of the main references to Table 7.2. (deFries 2002) In the WGI report. And thus the basis for the WGII report. So of course its relevant. And WGI specifically states in table 7.2 that all land use changes in the tropics come to 1.8 GtC/yr. (or ~20.9%). --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 18:12, 3 April 2008 (UTC)
I'm glad you finally agree that the report that you refers to agree to what I have been saying and that it's already part of the IPCC report.--Apis O-tang (talk) 06:51, 4 April 2008 (UTC)
The Section you refer to doesn't discuss the effects of deforestation. See http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg1/ar4-wg1-chapter7.pdf IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, Working Group I Report 'The Physical Science Basis', Section (p. 527): 'Deforestation: Forest clearing (mainly in the tropics) is a large contributor to the land use change component of the current atmospheric CO2 budget, accounting for up to one-third of total anthropogenic emissions (see Table 7.2; Section; also Table 7.1, row ‘land use change flux’). The future evolution of this term in the CO2 budget is therefore of critical importance.' --Apis O-tang (talk) 17:06, 3 April 2008 (UTC)
Of course land use change (amongst others deforestation) is important in the carbon budget (and in several other contexts) - but that is not the issue here. The issue here is: how large is the deforestation component of biodiesel. And that part most certainly isn't even remotely close to 17% - the major components being livestock (Brazil) and logging (Asia). Most biodiesel doesn't originate in the Tropics. And the second major thing: Land use change is incorporated in the figures. Keep the focus on the topic. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 18:12, 3 April 2008 (UTC)
Nb. please note that the section i referred to is the originator for the table 7.2 - which is the basis for the statement you quote (p 527). --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 18:15, 3 April 2008 (UTC)
You are the one that keep asking me for these references and now when facts don't agree with your point of view you want to get back to the topic! fine.
No most biodiesels don't, but palm oil biodiesel do come from the tropics. If you read the UK report is says they base the land use change calculation on what has been reported by other governments. If previous land use is 'unknown' it's not even included in the calculations at all. I'm not sure where you get 17% from? Deforestation is believed to contribute to up to 33% of CO2.[15] And no, all deforestation isn't caused because of production of palm oil biodiesel, I haven't said that. It is however a fact that clearing for palm oil plantations is a major cause of deforestation in tropical regions. And deforestation of tropical regions is a significant source of GHG emissions. deforestation of tropical regions have many other negative impacts as well, among other the high risk of extinction of many unique indigenous species such as the Orangutan. That part is already stated in the article, it's not in dispute. (I provided additional references from the IUCN redlist which you removed though). That graph is presented in a way that does not consider these issues and thus is misleading. It gives the impression land use change is included since its mentioned in the text. And it does not deal with other aspects of the problem. That is why I think it shouldn't be used in its current form.--Apis O-tang (talk) 06:51, 4 April 2008 (UTC)
Hope you don't mind me chipping in my 2c worth. From my perspective, since biodiesel is about 80% produced in Europe (although to be fair, I am not sure if this refers to manufacture, or the original crop also), and also from US soy, and total world production is only 1% of US and EU diesel (not petroluem) use, there will currently be only a tiny direct effect on global CO2 emmissions from palm oil production from biodiesel. This does not in any way reduce the importance of the energy balance. What is important is the CO2 balance for each unit of fuel. I think it is absolutely clear that biodiesel produced from cleared land converted to palm oil plantations gives a very bad energy balance. EU and US produced biodiesel may not directly cause deforestation, and therefore can give a positive energy balance. What is not clear is the extent to which using large amounts of oil for fuel affects global prices, and encourages the conversion of land to palm oil plantations, either directly for fuel, or to replace the oils previously used for food but now going to fuel, or because palm oil has become more valuable. This is a huge issue for biodiesel, and biofuels generally. I don't think this debate is well reflected in the article at the moment. I am working on modifications to the lead section, and at the moment, all I can use are the figures from the graph, which, whilst a useful piece of information, does not reflect the current debate. It currently appears that this graph is the consensus.Stainless316 (talk) 10:53, 4 April 2008 (UTC)
Not at all, I think we both are happy to get more input here. I have looked at the rtfo document more closely and as far as I can tell carbon dioxide emmisions due to land use change is not included at all in the graphed values, that should at least be made clear. There is an example in the same document (p 104) showing that biodiesel produced from brazilian soy from rain forest clearings would have an aditional 1 558 added to it's carbon intensity value (although that is just an example). Neste Oil is planning on building the worlds biggest biodiesel factory in Singapore with a production of 800 000 ton annually, using palm oil as feedstock. On this (admitedly somewhat unreliable) site [16] one can read that 'The Malaysian government is now refocusing the use of palm oil to the production of biodiesel to cater to the huge demand from European countries. It has encouraged the building of more biodiesel plants'. So it is reasonable to expect an increase of palm oil used for biofuels I think. Here is a page with a discussion about palm oil and bio fuel: [17]. Anyway, as I said, I don't think there is something wrong with the facts in the graph but the way it is presented is misleading, it makes it look like palm oil biodiesl is the best thing for the environment, wich I don't think is clear.--Apis O-tang (talk) 18:41, 4 April 2008 (UTC)
Please look at the graph above the one you are talking about (the one with the blue bars), showing how the figures are composed. It says '0 for cropland, 122 for grassland, 1127 for forestland when amortised over 20 years'. I.e. the one off penalty for burning down forestland is 1127*20 = 22,540 gCO2 per MJ. The problem is that land use penalty is one off, (but can be a huge one off), but then the year by year use is a possible benefit. These penalties for land use are ocnsidered in the UK document. I will add another graph specifically illustrating these land use penalties. That should make everyone happy. - Just give me time. In the meantime I have added a caveat to the description of the graph. Hope this resolves thingsMike Young (talk) 00:08, 5 April 2008 (UTC)
I think the changes you and stainless316 suggest sounds great and would basically resolve this issue as far as I’m concerned. I’ve been thinking more about these values and they are all also based on current production methods (of course). If the farms and transports would change fuel from say diesel to biodiesel, processing plants where to use nuclear instead of coal power etc (maybe not so likely?), then that would affect these values noticeably right? My point being these values might become outdated quickly. This is of less importance than land use change in my opinion but perhaps it’s worth mentioning somewhere? (Also wouldn’t it be more appropriate to leave the misleading template in place until changes have been made?)--Apis O-tang (talk) 07:11, 6 April 2008 (UTC)

Environmental concerns

Note. Moved this discussion from the above Land use change not considered properly discussion under the Environmental Benefits section, since they are not directly related.--Apis O-tang (talk) 14:05, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

BTW, why did you remove my other edits not related to this graph? --Apis O-tang (talk) 10:40, 3 April 2008 (UTC)
As for removal of your other contributions. This statement: 'Tropical rain forests are major carbon dioxide absorbers' is highly dubious. Rainforests are old-growth forests which are normally not large carbon sinks, and afaik rain-forests are in equilibrium with sinks/sources. The link you provided is not very relevant as the extinction danger of Pongo (abelii & pymaeus) are not discussed, and no indication is given that biodiesel production is the reason for the endangered status. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 11:26, 3 April 2008 (UTC)
I'm sorry but this is becoming ridiculous, is the extinction of the orangutans not discussed: 'Loss of habitat on such a scale could endanger numerous species of plants and animals. A particular concern which has received considerable attention is the threat to the already-shrinking populations of orangutans on the Indonesian islands of Borneo and Sumatra, which face possible extinction'? And if you need a reference for rainforest's being co2 sinks state that and I will try to provide one, not that you appear to care about references though. I just a few minutes ago provided a link, upon your request, showing that deforestation is a major contributor to global anthropogenic GHG emissions which you apparently blatantly have chosen to ignore.--Apis O-tang (talk) 11:53, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

Administrator note: Both of you seem to be engaging in an edit war, please, before either of you edit the article again, work out the differences here (and agree). I'd hate to see blocks occuring. thanks--Hu12 (talk) 13:21, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

(edit conflict)You are the one who has to substantiate that deforestation to produce biodiesel is a significant impact factor, and one that would significantly scew the data already provided in a reliable source. You new addition, that 'CO2 emission caused by deforestation is believed to cause 17% of global anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.' is even wrong according to the IPCC. The 17% is deforestation and biomass-decay etc. This btw. is also irrelevant in this article - since its not palm-oil plantation or bio-diesel production that is the cause of this deforestation. Focus please. We are talking about biodiesel on this page - not general environmental problems - deforestation and tropical deforestation in particular is a serious environmental concern - but you have to put it in context. And the context here is biodiesel production - so only the deforestation that is taking place for biodiesel is relevant. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 13:33, 3 April 2008 (UTC)
And if you had actually bothered to check my reference from the IUCN redlist you would have been able to read the folowing: 'The rapid expansion of oil palm plantations in Borneo in response to international demand (the oil is used for cooking, cosmetics, mechanics, and more recently as source of bio-diesel) has accelerated habitat losses'. And also that '[..]The decline of the species [Bornean orangutan] is predicted to continue at this rate, primarily because of forest loss due to conversion of forest to agriculture and fires'.--Apis O-tang (talk) 12:11, 3 April 2008 (UTC)
(edit conflict)I've reinserted the link, since the previous reference makes a connection, and states that oil-plants in particular could be a concern. And i did bother to read the reference, the connection made on the IUCN red list is not sufficient in and by itself, without the first link it would have been original research. Ask yourself: Can you by the information given estimate if the threat level from biodiesel (itself) is 2%,10%,50% ? (hint: you can't. Not without knowing the percentage of deforestation that happens because of oil-palms, and the percentage of oil-palms that are used for biodiesel (as opposed to cooking,cosmetics,..)). --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 13:33, 3 April 2008 (UTC)
You have only reinserted the references to iucn, not the referenced part about deforestation. Please put them back unless you can explain why there is something wrong with my edits or references. Please note that both the IPCC and IUCNredlist are highly respected authorities on climate change and wildlife conservation respectively.
Thats correct. I haven't inserted the IPCC reference because 1) Its wrong: the 17% is not only deforestation. 2) Its misleading: tropical forests are a tiny part of the 17%. I've commented specifically on this issue - in the above.
And btw. you are 100% correct the IPCC and IUCN are authorities on these subjects. But we can't say more than the IPCC and IUCN says. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 16:12, 3 April 2008 (UTC)
I have located even more references of the effects of deforestation of tropical regions from the IPCC, not that there is any point in that aparently, while you where busy making threats on my talk page. I have never given any estimations of weather 'threat level from biodiesel (itself) is 2%,10%,50%'. That kind of statements partly is why I am concerned about the graph in the preceding section. I still find it of interest to point out that there is a connection though, even if I don't have a source citing an exact number.
Reverting my edits without giving any reason (the image I can comprehend at least), and now threatening me is both childish and insulting. The amount of data and sources you and your administrator friend is requiring is ridiculous and apparently not required by other users statements.
I really have no Idea how to 'resolve this conflict'. While providing references and motivations in amounts normally not required Kim D. Petersen has been reverting my edits, requiring more and more references, and now managed to prevent me from making any further edits. --Apis O-tang (talk) 15:33, 3 April 2008 (UTC)
By discussing it on the talk page. That is the normal way of editing: See bold, revert, discuss. If reverted, then its normal to start a discussion on the talk page - and wait for the discussion to reach consensus. (not just comment once - and then rerevert). I believe i have legitimate problems with your edits - and am trying to address them. (nb: this part is in the previous section). --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 16:12, 3 April 2008 (UTC)
Then why didn't you start a discussion then? You appear versed in wikipedia guidelines after all.. As I said, please put back my edits, you haven't given a reason why you removed them.--Apis O-tang (talk) 16:48, 3 April 2008 (UTC)
Since you haven't responded I presume this conflict has been resolved and I'm going to put back my edits.--Apis O-tang (talk) 06:54, 4 April 2008 (UTC)


Why is this under 'enviromental efects'? It shoudld rather be only under 'Properties'. If nobody objects, i'll intergrate it to the propperties paragraph. - GeiwTeol 19:31, 6 April 2008 (UTC)

  • This was redundant, and has now been corrected. Thanks for point it out.--E8 (talk) 20:20, 6 April 2008 (UTC)

Biodiesel lead section

WP:Lead section: 'The lead should be able to stand alone as a concise overview of the article. It should establish context, summarize the most important points, explain why the subject is interesting or notable, and briefly describe its notable controversies, if there are any.'

The following is what I think should be in the lead section. if everyone agrees, we could then figure out how best to get it in. I stress that this is not the form it should take, but the main points to include. Once the points to include are agreed, then the form will be relatively easy to complete. Hopefully, if we have consensus on what to include, the section will be robust when completed. Feel free to say what should or should not be included, and if my definition is correct.

What Biodiesel is

It refers in this article ONLY to transesterified triglycerides. Other forms of biofuel are covered elsewhere. Biodiesel is used as a replacement for petrodiesel, which is used in engines, and Heating oil, which is used in heaters.

Where it comes from

Biodiesel can be made from transesterification of the triglyceride part of any fat or oil, from vegetable oil, animal fats and algal oil (is algal oil vegetable oil? Algae are not plants.) Different scources give slightly different properties, e.g. higher gel point for animal fats. If it comes from anywhere else, then it is not biodiesel according to the definition.

Why use it?

As I see it, there are three reasons. Reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve energy security and help local farmers. It is also biodegradeable and non-toxic, so oil spills are not a problem. It seems to be pretty generally agreed that biodiesel can be made to produce less CO2 than petrodiesel, but the estimates of the savings vary. It is probably also agreed that equatorial forest clearance to put in new palm oil plantations produces more CO2 than petrodiesel. Energy security is improved, as the other energy inputs (fertilizer etc.) can be made from non-petroluem sources, e.g. coal or other renewables. Any subsidies or price increases will help local farmers, but I think this is less of an issue then with corn ethanol.

Why not use it?

Possible increased greenhouse gas production due to land use issues. Different properties from diesel, e.g. solvent properties, gel point, water content, biological contamination. Possible damage to engine. Displacement of food crops leading to increased food prices. Cost.

Where can it be used?

In blends with 95% diesel, almost all diesel engines. In other stronger blends, gaining acceptance in blends up to 100% biodiesel, similarly for heating boilers. Has been demonstrated in locomotives and airoplanes.

How much is there?

What is current production compared to diesel fuel.Stainless316 (talk) 14:04, 4 March 2008 (UTC)

New lead section incorporating above points

Biodiesel refers to a non-petroleum based fuel consisting of short chain alkyl (methyl or ethyl) fatty acid esters, made by transesterification of triglycerides from vegetable oil, animal fat or algal oil. Biodiesel is used as a replacement for petrodiesel in engines, and heating oil in heaters. It can be used alone or as blends with petroleum derived fuel. Biodiesel is distinguished from the straight vegetable oil (SVO) (aka 'waste vegetable oil', 'WVO', 'unwashed biodiesel', 'pure plant oil', 'PPO') used (alone, or blended) as fuels in some converted diesel vehicles. 'Biodiesel' is standardized as mono-alkyl esters and other non-diesel fuels of biological origin are not included.[21]

Biodiesel has slightly different properties from petrodiesel. It has a higher gel point, can allow the growth of molds and bacteria and has different solvent properties, which can corrode older rubber components and dislodge diesel varnishes which have built up in engines and heaters. Experience suggests that these problems are minor, but most engines today have been designed for use with petrodiesel, so the use of a different fuel raises some concerns among manufacturers. In blends up to 20% there is very widespread acceptance for use in motor vehicles, and its use in locomotives and aeroplanes has been demonstrated. Use of 100% biodiesel is widespread in Germany with no apparent major problems.

One impetus for its use is to reduce greenhouse gas emmissions from fossil fuels. There is debate over the size of the greenhouse gas reduction and this will depend on the choice of feedstock and method of calculation used. Recently published figures vary from 75% [[18]] to 15% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions when compared to petroleum diesel.[22][23]. However, these estimates do not consider land conversion, where natural land is converted to agricultural use. Greenhouse gas emissions could be higher than that of petrodiesel when these factors are taken into account, and there could be other undesirable consequences of deforestation. [[19]] [[20]] Even if biodiesel is grown from sustainable sources, there is concern that using land to grow non-food crops will push up food prices. Fuel security is another major driver for its use, since much of the energy inputs can be derived from non-petroluem, locally available sources such as coal, gas or other renewables. The the US NREL says that energy security is the number one driving force behind the US biofuels programme. (p8 (p14 including initial pages) of[[21]].

Europe is currently the largest producer of biodiesel, with Germany on its own producing 2.6 million tonnes in 2006, or nearly half of world production. Biodiesel production is currently a tiny fraction of the petrodiesel production, in 2006 it was about 1% of combined Europe and USA diesel use, and about 5% of total world vegetable oil production.Stainless316 (talk) 10:52, 9 April 2008 (UTC)Stainless316 (talk) 14:03, 4 April 2008 (UTC)


This article's current data speaks to many of the above issues or points, it is a wealth of information and vinmax applauds the contributors. There is always an additional detail or observation that might be mentioned or added to a subject of this magnitude. I am new to wikipedia, you are all magnificent to contribute your time and energies to exapanding the Akashic record of the 22nd century. I offer some edits to this article, based on my experience in manufacturing biodiesel facilities, 100m, 25m, 13m and a 5,000,000 gallon per year plants. Could someone help place the upper pictures in a horizontal config? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Vinmax (talk • contribs) 04:27, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

My points are what should be in the Lead section. I have tried to pick out the main points of the article to include in the lead section. Given the length of the article, this should be 3-4 paragraphs long. The above are the things I think should be in it. I was hoping to get some discussion of what should be there, then if there was consensus, any attempts to actually write it could be compared to the agreed 'things that should be in the lead section' criteria. It is very hard to write these things concisely and interestingly, and it is made a bit easier if everyone knows what the finished product should achieve. This should avoid someone slaving away and having it deleted shortly after. Any further alterations after a consensus is reached should be justified in the discussion. This is a fast moving field, so I am not suggesting a fixed intro for all time, but the lead section is arguably the most important part of the article, so it is worth getting right. Stainless316 (talk) 10:42, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

Intro concept well taken, first thing to do is eliminate anything obviously subjective, we need objectivity and data with proofs and/or a contiguous stream of logic. News articles are not proof of fact. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Vinmax (talk • contribs) 03:26, 12 March 2008 (UTC)

I agree that subjectivity should be eliminated, but uncertainty is not the same as subjectivity. From WP:Lead section 'and briefly describe its notable controversies, if there are any'. With biodiesel, there is major controversy over the environmental impact, and as such this should be briefly described in the lead section. It is discussed in detail in the article. The difficulty is to summarise the controversy, without subjectivity, and without giving undue weight to any differing viewpoint. A tricky task, but required for a good introduction. Nobody have any views?Stainless316 (talk) 11:48, 12 March 2008 (UTC)
I think it looks good. Although I think it might be worth to also point out the concern for clearing of rain forest (more than just ghg emissions I mean). Maybe something like:
'in particular there is great concern from diffrent environmental groups that increased demand for palm oil would lead to the clearing of large areas of rain forest. This would have a very negative environmental impact, damaging ecosystems and biodiversity as well as causing increased greenhouse gas emissions instead of reducing them'.
Maybe replace palm oil with some feedstocks if saying palm oil is not neutral enough? I supose there are similar concerns for clearing for soy in Brazil judging from the uk rtfo report.
Sources from environmental groups: [22] and [23]. --Apis O-tang (talk) 01:53, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for the comment, Apis O-tang. I notice you are planning to re-work the environmental effects section. When this is done, it should be clearer to summarise into the lead section. I take your point about environmental effects other than greenhouse gas.Stainless316 (talk) 12:01, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

Misc related intro comments

E8 - V8 whateva, the vacuum Db were on high, if you can use any of this for the intro, please help yourself:Biodiesel is a term applied to diesel fuels manufactured of materials of biological origin, ie.(vegetable - bean, cottonseed, rapeseed etc. & animal fats - beef, pork and poultry, etc. The process whereby these biologically originating oils are converted to biodiesel/biofuel is know as transesterfication. In organic chemistry, an example of transesterification is the process of exchanging the alkoxy group of an ester compound by another alcohol. These reactions are often catalyzed by the addition of an acid or base. Transesterification: alcohol + ester → different alcohol + different ester. (see Wikipedia for Transesterification) Biodiesel is an alternative fuel to hydrocarbon (crude oil) based diesel. These BIO-fuels are utilized in diesel fuel applications and diesel engines. Biodiesel is a renewable sustainable fuel that produces less CO2 that crude oil based conventional diesel. Blends of biodiesel and conventional hydrocarbon based diesel are products most commonly distributed for use in the retail diesel fuel marketplace. Unsigned by 'Vinmax'

Time Magazine Cover Story Calls Biodiesel 'The Clean Energy Scam'

The April edition of Time Magazine put out a very good article on biodiesel highlighting a lot of the environment concerns at http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1725975,00.html.

This Wikipedia entry on biodiesel talks a lot about the benefits of biodiesel and barely touches on the drawbacks and environmental costs. All of the criticism is tucked away at the bottom of the page while all of the hype is at the top. This is especially troublesome when you consider that biodiesel has driven up the cost of food, increased deforestation, and increased global warming. Biodiesel based on sugar ethanol is more effective than corn ethanol but because of high tariffs on sugar and large subsidies to Midwest farmers in the U.S. inefficient and more environmentally costly biodiesel based on corn ethanol is able to succeed in the marketplace. The farm lobby is one of the strongest lobbies in the country and every presidential candidate needs to pander to the biodiesel industry in order to win Iowa which is the first state to have a presidential primary. The worst part of biodiesel is that the government and the special interests masquerade policies that are designed for special interests as green and environmentally friendly. (Ajhendel (talk) 20:44, 10 April 2008 (UTC))

  • It would be advisable to read through this Talk page; you'll note there is on-going discussion regarding the inclusion of these topics. You are notably distant from a neutral point of view. Much of what you have stated above is misleading media-driven hype or, is off-topic (this is a Biodiesel page, not the biofuel or food vs fuel page). The rising cost of all energy is the impetus behind the drive for biofuels, not the reverse. There are certainly negative effects, but most of the reports circulating are non-scientific. Credible sources are added as they become available. As this subject is controversial and important, some mention should be made in the lead section (this is mentioned somewhere in this page, but bringing it back up is appropriate).--E8 (talk) 21:28, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

Talk page maintenance

Hi. Just caught myself responding to comments here from two years ago. Can somebody archive some of the old stuff or point me to instructions on how to do it. --Treekids (talk) 02:39, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

Good thought. I'm unsure what the procedure for this is, but when you find out, please inform me.--E8 (talk) 22:04, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

I will attempt to set up an auto-archiver, archiving anything older than, say, 100 days. Let me know if there are any problems. I think it would also be useful to remove/edit the 'to do' list which clutters this up considerably, but I won't do so unless there are comments from others.--Gregalton (talk) 07:37, 12 March 2008 (UTC)
Whooops! Forgot I had already done so. I am tweaking again to a shorter time as it is now very long again.--Gregalton (talk) 07:42, 12 March 2008 (UTC)

Auto-archiver proposal (and be bold)

I propose to establish an auto-archiver for this page. Since it is so large, I will be bold and start. Please, if any objections, speak now! —Preceding unsigned comment added by Gregalton (talk • contribs) 11:58, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

This page looks much better now. I've manually archived some discussion as it was either 1) unsigned and undated, but notably older, OR 2) older, but not automatically archived.--E8 (talk) 01:12, 13 March 2008 (UTC)

Is there a way to have new sections and comments go at the top instead of at the bottom? I just added something but its way at the bottom where I'm not sure people will see it. (Ajhendel (talk) 20:56, 10 April 2008 (UTC))

I don't think theres any need to worry about that. Since it is pretty much standard to add new comments at the bottom of the page, everyone check that part for new comments. --Apis O-tang (talk) 21:27, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

Yes it does look better since you manually archived some of the discussion. No objections here to stop it. --DavidD4scnrt (talk) 08:18, 12 April 2008 (UTC)

  1. ^'Biodiesel FAQ'. Union of Concerned Scientists. Retrieved 2007-9-05.Check date values in: accessdate= (help)
  2. ^'Tool 14: Alternative fuels'. United Nations Environment Programme. Retrieved 2007-9-05.Check date values in: accessdate= (help)
  3. ^ [[24]]
  4. ^'Everything you wanted to know about biodiesel, but were afraid to ask…'. Canadian Renewable Fuels Strategy. Retrieved 2007-9-05.Check date values in: accessdate= (help)
  5. ^'Scania press release'(PDF).
  6. ^[Biodiesel-Tauglichkeit von Volkswagen-Diesel-Fahrzeugen, VW customer services] - Note: always double-check with the car manufacturer before switching to biodiesel.
  7. ^List of cars that manufacturers allow to run on biodiesel, from Biodiesel Süd - Note: always double-check with the car manufacturer before switching to biodiesel.
  8. ^'First UK biodiesel train launched'. BBC. Retrieved 2007-11-17.
  9. ^'Everything you wanted to know about biodiesel, but were afraid to ask…'. Canadian Renewable Fuels Strategy. Retrieved 2007-9-05.Check date values in: accessdate= (help)
  10. ^'Scania press release'(PDF).
  11. ^[Biodiesel-Tauglichkeit von Volkswagen-Diesel-Fahrzeugen, VW customer services] - Note: always double-check with the car manufacturer before switching to biodiesel.
  12. ^List of cars that manufacturers allow to run on biodiesel, from Biodiesel Süd - Note: always double-check with the car manufacturer before switching to biodiesel.
  13. ^'First UK biodiesel train launched'. BBC. Retrieved 2007-11-17.
  14. ^'Biodiesel FAQ'. Union of Concerned Scientists. Retrieved 2007-9-05.Check date values in: accessdate= (help)
  15. ^'Tool 14: Alternative fuels'. United Nations Environment Programme. Retrieved 2007-9-05.Check date values in: accessdate= (help)
  16. ^ [[25]]
  17. ^Graph derived from information found in UK government document.Carbon and Sustainability Reporting Within the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation
  18. ^Graph derived from information found in UK government document. .Carbon and Sustainability Reporting Within the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation
  19. ^Graph derived from information found in UK government document.Carbon and Sustainability Reporting Within the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation
  20. ^Graph derived from information found in UK government method.Carbon and Sustainability Reporting Within the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation
  21. ^'Biodiesel 101 - Biodiesel Definitions'(?). National Biodiesel Board. Retrieved 2008-2-16.Check date values in: accessdate= (help)
  22. ^'Biodiesel FAQ'. Union of Concerned Scientists. Retrieved 2007-9-05.Check date values in: accessdate= (help)
  23. ^'Tool 14: Alternative fuels'. United Nations Environment Programme. Retrieved 2007-9-05.Check date values in: accessdate= (help)
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