This week's book giveaway is in the OO, Patterns, UML and Refactoring forum. We're giving away four copies of Refactoring for Software Design Smells: Managing Technical Debt and have Girish Suryanarayana, Ganesh Samarthyam & Tushar Sharma on-line! See this thread for details.
I like the list of things you need: "cooking oil, barrel, biodiesel processor, thermometer", as if everyone has a biodiesel processor sitting around the back yard. The only reason biodiesel is cheap now is that there is little demand for used oil. Since the manufacturing capacity of cooking oil is probably very close to the demand, any substantial increase in the use of cooking oil for fuel will be met with a corresponding increase in the cost of soybeans as we have seen with corn and ethanol. As used oil becomes valuable as fuel, expect a market to take root. No more free oil for hauling it away (I'm sure Groundskeeper Willie will fight you for it). Any biodiesel revolution will have to be fueled (so to speak) by a revolution in the production of source oil. I've heard stories recently about algae but it sounds like they are years away from anything that can compete with fossil fuel, and OPEC and oil companies will likely manipulate production to keep it that way.
Originally posted by Joe Ess: Any biodiesel revolution will have to be fueled (so to speak) by a revolution in the production of source oil. I've heard stories recently about algae but it sounds like they are years away from anything that can compete with fossil fuel, and OPEC and oil companies will likely manipulate production to keep it that way.
In the past no one has been willing to invest serious money on alternative fuels because even if they could be made competitive with oil at current or future prices, OPEC could simply flood the market with cheap oil long enough to put their competitors out of business. (For example, I've heard that it only costs Saudi Arabia about a dollar a barrel to pump out its oil.)
The major oil companies, of course, own or have contracts with oil fields that are much more expensive to use, and they don't want those investments to become worthless overnight.
But I think this time the new technology will be developed anyway, for several reasons:
(1) The oil producers cannot long supply all the demand even if they wanted to.
(2) Fears that burning of fossil fuel contributes to global warming will give countries an incentive to subsidize use of renewable fuels (or tax imported fossil fuels) even if producers of fossil fuels try to put competitors out of business by temporarily lowering the prices.
(3) The economics of the oil industry seems to contribute to international political instability. Would-be tyrants who are cruel enough to suppress opposition can attain great rewards by taking over poor countries with large oil reserves. The resulting top-down wealth gives them the freedom to enact inefficient domestic economic policies and mischievous foreign policies. Denying them this financial windfall could be more important to our security even than weapons development.
So if alternatives to oil have been suppressed in the past, I don't think it will continue.
Need to be careful when purchasing some of the necessary items. Interestingly, some of those items are also common to cooking meth. As my son found out when the Sheriff's Office came calling after making a large purchase at the local hardware for his, then, experimental bio diesel project.
If you have a diesel you don't need to do anything with cooking oil. Just strain it and put it in the tank.
I gotta say I like the iea of cookin' up a little diesel fuel in the back yard, it appeals to my decentralization tendencies
I also like the idea of putting all of that "grey" water to productive use...
Spot false dilemmas now, ask me how!
(If you're not on the edge, you're taking up too much room.)
Joined: Jun 06, 2002
This could give Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia moonshiners something to make besides corn liquor.
In England, a man was charged with evasion of fuel taxes for using cooking oil from a fast food restaurant in his Mercedes. His conspiracy was revealed by the attractive aroma coming from his car's exhaust. [ September 18, 2007: Message edited by: Frank Silbermann ]
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