Apparently, biodiesel makers are having trouble keeping their product from spilling into waterways — when they’re not actively dumping glycerin (a biodiesel product) into streams.
That’s the message from an article in Tuesday’s New York Times.
According to industry dogma, biodiesel is "nontoxic, biodegradable and suitable for sensitive environments," The Times reports.
Not so fast. According to a Canadian scientist, quoted in the article:
[A]s with most organic materials, oil and glycerin deplete the oxygen content of water very quickly, and that will suffocate fish and other organisms. And for birds, a vegetable oil spill is just as deadly as a crude oil spill.
In other news, a study published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences warned that increased corn ethanol production will likely "worsen" the massive "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico — where fertilizer runoff from the Midwest accumulates every year, feeding an algae bloom that blots out sea life underneath.