From the Seattle PI:
More than 1,300 people — some shouting “revolution” — took over Fisher Pavilion at the Seattle Center on Sunday. Look what’s happening out in the streets, they said: Biodiesel is coming of age. It’s all the rage.
Part trade show, part strategy session, part cheerleading camp, the fifth annual NW Biodiesel Forum brought together biodiesel enthusiasts to learn about peak oil, alternative fuels, mass transit and, in a wrap-up discussion, “Biodiesel in the Northwest — The Revolution Has Begun!”
Many of these enthusiasts are people who have purchased diesel vehicles so they can burn biodiesel in them and every last one of them has at least one bumper sticker to let you know it:
Participants learned how to make biodiesel, where to buy it, its environmental pluses and more at upward of 50 exhibits.
And that is the rub of the problem: they learn about the pluses but nothing about the negatives (nuclear looks like manna from heaven if you ignore the negatives). Virtually none of them are aware of the numerous downsides of their choice of fuel. You can both see and smell the exhaust from many of these cars, especially from the older model Volvos. A modern gasoline car with all of its attendant pollution controls emits far less pollution. The owners don’t seem to realize that soot from combusted vegetable oil is very much like soot from a wood stove. They either don’t know or don’t care that they are stuffing food crops into their cars at the rate of 15 acres or 10 football fields of soy annually (or 5 acres of canola).
Here’s an interesting quote:
If Americans increased average fuel efficiency 5 miles a gallon, there would be no need for Middle East oil — and no need for an Iraq war …
… and might I add, no need for environmentally devastating agrofuels.
But, what I really find fascinating about this article is that Imperium Biodiesel is now saying that only 20 percent of its biodiesel will come from palm oil. Their original business plan was to get most of their oil from palm. Thanks to pressure from the blogosphere and elsewhere, the quoted percentage continues to drop, and today they are down to 20 percent.
Imperium is working with a coalition of buyers to ensure that palm oil is produced sustainably.
About 20 percent of the Grays Harbor plant’s feedstock is expected to come from palms, with the rest from American and Canadian soy and canola farmers, said Todd Ellis, Imperium’s director of business development. At first only 1 percent of the canola will come from the Northwest, he said.
Coincidentally, that 1 percent figure is exactly what I said here. I also have to wonder how this Canadian biodiesel refinery will like having Emperium hog up their canola (thus raising the price). I’m also wondering how importing foreign vegetable oil reduces our dependency on foreign oil.
I quote myself below (since nobody else does) from this post:
I have a new prediction to make. Some biofuel refiners will become increasingly deft at dodging negative images. Here are some examples of how they may do it: They will begin to blend small amounts of waste and locally produced oil into their operations so they can say that they use a mix of waste and locally grown oil. As long as the public is not privy to the actual ratios, then most will have their guilt assuaged. The refiners will also grow increasingly cryptic as to what their feed stock is, where it comes from, and how much of it comes from where.
Well, what can I say that I have not said a dozen times by now. According to Mongabay, the Dutch are working on a plan to restrict biofuels that do more harm than good, but apparently, thanks to WTO regulations, they can only ask for voluntary compliance of sustainability standards.
And finally, see if you can spot any contradictions in the following quotes:
“As a Republican, I believe that you know best how to spend your money, that you know better than government or private enterprise,” she said in a nod to biodiesel consumers attending.
For entrepreneurs, Holmquist said she would promote an industry tax break next year. “We’re all talking about incentives and protecting the business climate for biodiesel,” she said.
At the federal level, a $1-a-gallon federal tax credit is set to expire at the end of 2008, Malarkey said.
“Make no mistake, we have a biodiesel industry because of that federal tax credit,” he said.
Wink, wink, nod, nod, know what I mean, know what I mean, eh?