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Biodiesel flickers out leaving investors burned

Written by Atheo | Aletho News | January 5, 2010
Andy Singer

The future of biodiesel fuel looks highly uncertain as federal tax credits that provided refiners $1 for every gallon produced expire with the new year. While many fleet vehicles have been manufactured to use the fuel, few will continue to do so since they are convertible to traditional fuel.

The National Biodiesel Board reports that the industry is currently operating at 15% of capacity. The largest US refinery, located in Houston, is sitting idle.

Prospects for extending the tax credit have been hampered by a major scandal involving Alabama’s Cello Energy, a “next-generation” biofuel company specializing in plants-to-fuel technology. A federal jury found that it had defrauded investors and ordered a $10.4 million payment for plaintiffs. Cello had claimed that it could produce $16/barrel fuel at its refinery using hay, switchgrass and wood chips. The Alabama Press-Register reports that “a string of witnesses testified that samples of the fuel allegedly produced at Cello’s facility… were derived entirely from fossil and not renewable sources”. Grassoline it was not. The EPA had been counting on a tripling of Cello’s refining operations to meet 70% of its target of 100 million gallons for 2010 production. Lawmakers have lost confidence in the entire biofuel industry, including biodiesel which happened to have the immediate need for subsidy renewal.

Biodiesel production, which uses soy beans produced through industrial agriculture, is simply not economically viable. Leaving aside the moral implications of dedicating arable land to fuel production, which results in higher market prices for basic foods, the higher production cost of biodiesel reflects a likely net energy loss once the entire process is accounted for.

The economic hope for soy-biodiesel had been predicated on promised cost advantages in GMO crops which turned out to be largely hyperbole and wishful thinking. With oil and gas prices stable, and with new non-conventional production methods that are vastly increasing economically recoverable oil reserves, it is unlikely that biodiesel of any type could be competitive any time in the foreseeable future.

Update #1:

Reuters | February 16, 2010

WASHINGTON – Senate leaders have dropped from a jobs creation bill a U.S. tax credit for biodiesel, creating uncertainty for biodiesel makers, who say they need the incentive to keep running.

A $1-a-gallon tax credit, which expired at the end of 2009, was in the first draft of the bill. But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid pared back the bill on Thursday, dropping the biodiesel tax credit, among other tax measures. [...]

The American Soybean Association has said biodiesel production has essentially stopped since the tax credit expired at the end of 2009. – source

Update #2:

6/28/2010

The Senate has voted down a bill that would have reinstated the $1 per gallon biodiesel tax credit through the end of 2010… source

Update #3:

Investors left in the dark: Two energy companies pull the plug on biodiesel plants

July 26, 2010

Investor Jim Berliner estimates altogether some 123 investors made payments to Canadian-based Sunx, which had planned on building up to 330 small-scale biodiesel processing plants in North America, according to a former version of the now-defunct Sunx website. In a brochure for potential investors, Sunx had touted securing more than 100 owner/operator agreements worth more than $60 million.

Update #4:

Biodiesel industry fails yet again on subsidy

Des Moines Register | September 19, 2010

The biodiesel industry’s wait for the return of its subsidy continues.

The Senate turned back an effort Thursday by Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Ia., to revive the $1-a-gallon tax credit as part of a small-business bill. The subsidy lapsed at the end of 2009 and repeated efforts to attach it to bills in the Senate have failed.

Grassley’s move needed 67 votes but received only 41…

Update #5:

Obama signs tax pact; ethanol, biodiesel, renewable diesel credits restored

December 17, 2010

Last night, the US House of Representatives voted by a 277 to 148 margin to approve the Obama tax deal, which extends the ethanol tax credit through 2011, and retroactively extends the biodiesel tax incentive and the renewable diesel incentive through 2011. The bill also renewed the 54-cent tariff on Brazilian ethanol through 2011.

Kate McMahon, Biofuels Campaign Coordinator, Friends of the Earth

“Shoveling out billions of dollars for oil companies to blend dirty corn ethanol into gasoline – if even for just another year – is a waste of taxpayer dollars.  Extending these subsidies is simply bad policy hidden within the political mess of a trillion dollar tax package.”

Also by Atheo:

January 9, 2012

Three Mile Island, Global Warming and the CIA

November 13, 2011

US forces to fight Boko Haram in Nigeria

September 19, 2011

Bush regime retread, Philip Zelikow, appointed to Obama’s Intelligence Advisory Board

March 8, 2011

Investment bankers salivate over North Africa

January 2, 2011

Top Israel Lobby Senator Proposes Permanent US Air Bases For Afghanistan

October 10, 2010

A huge setback for, if not the end of, the American nuclear renaissance

July 5, 2010

Progressive ‘Green’ Counterinsurgency

February 25, 2010

Look out for the nuclear bomb coming with your electric bill

February 7, 2010

The saturated fat scam: What’s the real story?

December 26, 2009

Mining the soil: Biomass, the unsustainable energy source

December 19, 2009

Carbonphobia, the real environmental threat

December 4, 2009

There’s more to climate fraud than just tax hikes

May 9, 2009

Obama, Starving Africans and the Israel Lobby

Older articles by Atheo

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January 4, 2010 - Posted by | Author: Atheo, Corruption, Economics, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity, Science and Pseudo-Science

27 Comments »

  1. [...] Biodiesel flickers out leaving investors burned « Aletho News Posted in Biodiesel, Diesel | Tags: been-manufactured, Biodiesel, Diesel, federal-tax, fuel, [...]

    Pingback by Biodiesel flickers out leaving investors burned « Aletho News | ALL DIESEL TECH | January 4, 2010 | Reply

  2. “With oil and gas prices stable, and with new non-conventional production methods that are vastly increasing economically recoverable oil reserves, it is unlikely that biodiesel of any type could be competitive any time in the foreseeable future”

    I suppose the validity of this statement depends upon one’s ability to accurately foresee the future. Make no mistake, existing oil fields are in an accelerating depletion mode. No amount of new drilling can overcome that depletion and provide predictable new supply growth.

    Peak Oil is real and prices will rise once again. Take that one to the bank.

    Comment by brisa | January 5, 2010 | Reply

  3. brisa,

    Proven oil reserves have been steadily increasing even without the addition of non-conventional reserves which for some inexplicable reason are not included in the general figures.

    Your assertion that “peak oil is real” is baseless. Alarmists have been dredging that stale lie out every 25 years for over a century.

    Comment by Aletho | January 5, 2010 | Reply

  4. [...] The economic hope for soy-biodiesel had been predicated on promised cost advantages in GMO crops which turned out to be largely hyperbole and wishful thinking… full article [...]

    Pingback by Biodiesel flickers out leaving investors burned | Dailycensored.com | January 5, 2010 | Reply

  5. Everyone reading this “article” ought to wonder, “What AGENDA does “Aletho” find so compelling that he/she/it is willing to attach the Aletho name to a piece with such GLARING ERRORS and FALSEHOODS?” As anyone can see, Aletho sets up the article with headline about BIODIESEL, yet both the corporate example cited (Cello Energy) AND the Andy Singer comic Aletho has attached to it are about ETHANOL!! That Aletho did not take the time to understand the difference between ETHANOL and BIODIESEL shines a bright light on either (a) Aletho’s ignorance of the basics of alternative fuels; (b) Aletho’s deliberately SUBVERSIVE attempt at slamming BIODIESEL; or (c) BOTH.

    Comment by Joe | January 5, 2010 | Reply

    • Joe,

      Biofuel encompasses both ethanol and biodiesel. They also both suffer from the very same problems, the demand that they drive increases their input costs and the net energy gain is dubious. The simultaneous failures of the two industries are testament to this.

      Whether you own shares of an idled biodiesel refinery or an idled ethanol refinery, the loss is the same. Singer’s cartoon applies equally to biodiesel, all you need to do is switch the word corn to soya and switch the word ethanol to biodiesel.

      The scandal at Cello does have an impact on the ability of politicians to keep throwing vast sums of money down the biofuels rathole.

      If you read the automatically generated WSJ article U.S. Biofuel Boom Running on Empty linked above you will find that they drew the same conclusions about the industry as a whole.

      Comment by aletho | January 5, 2010 | Reply

      • Thanks for responding…I appreciate your willingness to try to clarify your “message.”

        That said, you are still guilty of “spin” and obfuscation of the facts here: Yes, of course it’s true that the term “Biofuel” encompasses both ethanol (a gasoline replacement alt fuel) and biodiesel (a diesel fuel replacement). HOWEVER, your article does not purport to be *about* “BIOFUELS”– in fact, *that* word appears only once: middle of the third paragraph.
        Instead, both the headline and the article use the word “BIODIESEL,” leaving the reader to think that the misdeeds of the Cello debacle were biodiesel-related (which they clearly are not; that’s an ETHANOL-only story).

        As for the cartoon: your saying “just substitute ‘soy (‘soya’) for ‘corn’ ” reflects a gross ignorance of many FACTS that distinguish biodiesel from ethanol…to name a few: (1) soy is only one of over a dozen types of vegetable that can be (and are, today) economically converted into BIODIESEL in an environmentally sustainable way; (2) biodiesel can also be (and is, nation-wide) made from waste vegetable oil and animal fats (waste products from the food industry); (3) contrary to what “Joy Ezell” asserts in this same blog, biodiesel’s “energy return” (a.k.a. “energy balance” or “how many units of energy units you get back from one unit of energy IN to the process) is over 4.5 — corn ethanol’s energy balance or “net enegy gain” is less than half of biodiesel’s); and (4) unlike Ethanol– which is poor performer (compared with gasoline) and which requires specialized or significantly modified “FLEX” engines, BIODIESEL performs in *unmodified* diesel engines as well as the petrodiesel fuel it’s intended to displace AND BIODIESEL is easily introduced to the existing diesel fuel distribution infrastructure.

        Lastly, you’re right– that WSJ article cites the story of a select FEW large biodiesel producers (e.g. GreenHunter and Imperium, at over 100 million gallons/year each), and draws conclusions “about the industry as a whole.” It wrongly and erroneously paints GreenHunter’s having failed as representative of the entire industry. WRONG WRONG WRONG. GreenHunter– and a few other other mega-producers like Imperium– failed largely because they counted on their un-checked ability to dump cheap fuel onto the E.U. market…and when the Europeans got wise and closed the door on them, they didn’t have a Plan-B.
        There are over a hundred other U.S. biodiesel producers– which apparantly neither you nor the author of that WSJ article took the time to research– whose business models do work and which ARE largely fulfilling “the promise” of alternative BIODIESEL fuel.. You really should Educate yourself about what HERO BX does (http://www.herobx.com/) for instance, before you blithely paint the entire biodiesel industry as having “failed.”

        The tax subsidy expiration had nothing to do with politicians’ finding it hard to support biodiesel (or BIOFIELS, for that matter), which is another point you’re apparently trying to make (in your reply to me)… WRONG AGAIN– it expired 12/31 along with ** over 50 ** OTHER “incentive provisions” (e.g. the R&D Credit and the Estate Tax) which the Senate simply ran out of TIME to address.. All of their time was taken up with Health Care reform– which took them right up to Christmas Eve, no less.
        So to single out biodiesel and imply that its federal support having not been renewed (YET) as evidence of FAILURE is ANOTHER clear sign of ignorance (and thin “research”) on your subject matter– how Congress works, in this case.

        To paraphrase Mark Twain, “The reports of BIODIESEL’s death are GREATLY exaggerated.”

        Comment by Joe | January 6, 2010 | Reply

        • Joe,

          The first two paragraphs deal specifically with biodiesel. The withdrawal of subsidies is the current story, one that for the moment only applies to biodiesel.

          The third paragraph provides context in which to understand the withdrawal of subsidies. The economic problems run across the board, your contention that Cello’s failure to perform does not reflect on the biodiesel industry is at odds with the analysis of the financial writer at the Wall Street journal as I already pointed out.

          Your claim that many “vegetables” can “economically produce biofuel” is at odds with the current break even price for biodiesel which is $3.30/gallon. Your industry is dead. Waste oils exist in minute quantities, the balance of your comment barely merits reading.

          My advice for you; find a different way to make a living, preferably one that does not do so much harm to the environment in the name of “energy independence”. Why hang around waiting for a government handout?

          Comment by aletho | January 6, 2010 | Reply

          • Aletho — I hate to break it to you (i.e. I hate to have to tell YOU what the words in YOUR OWN article are “about”), but the third paragraph is NOT, in fact, about the impact of SUBSIDIES; based on what YOUR WORDS say, it’s about the impact of SCANDALS involving CRIMINAL activities by some bad actors; nothing more.

            As for the rest:
            ..On my “claim” about other veg oils being suitable for biodiesel — it’s not a “claim,” it’s a FACT; it goes on every day in the shops of hundreds of biodiesel makers, large and small.

            ..On your confident assertion that the “current break even price for biodiesel..is $3.30/gallon.” Says who? You write that like there’s one central authority that sets prices — Not so.
            The “break even” price is unique to each individual producer’s own cost structure, production efficiency, and materials procurement arragements. I don’t think you know what you are saying in quoting that source and CLEARLY don’t know anything about how a business is run.

            I honestly mean you no disrespect, but you obviously know next to nothing about the real nature of biodiesel production, but instead live in a world where all you have to do is put an idea down in writing and it becomes FACT.
            You seem to want to hold fast to your “FACTS,” so I won’t burst your bubble… But you should at least be self-aware enough not to hold yourself out as any kind of authority– or advice-giver– on subjects about which you know very little beyond the sound bites, half-truths, and attention-getters.

            Lastly: on your stating that what I wrote “barely merits reading” — I’ve got news for you, Aletho– in that statement, you reveal yourself as one of the vast legion of lukewarm “journalists” who don’t want to be burdened by the Truth or the Facts if they don’t support the writer’s argument. That’s sad.

            I think I’ll print out and hang onto your “authoritative” statement that my “industry is Dead.” You will be proven wrong in that statement, as (I suspect) you will be proven wrong about a wide range of other statements, so long as you continue spouting words and ideas without really knowing what they mean.

            Granted, you are a dealer in Bad News– because, let’s fact it: Bad News SELLS.. This is proven out by The Progressive Mind and other sites that are just parroting your “article.”

            *Just stick up a negative headline and the masses will flock to it.*

            But at least be balanced and–above all– CORRECT in what you write. WARNING: this will take TIME and it will require a LOT more WORK than you’ve obviously expended in publishing *this* particular article.

            Good Luck to you.

            Comment by Joe | January 6, 2010 | Reply

            • Joe,

              You write – “The “break even” price is unique to each individual producer’s own cost structure, production efficiency, and materials procurement arragements.”

              That is simply false. All of the prices of inputs are a function of market supply and demand. Even including whether a field is planted in soy, corn, wheat or what have you. The prices across the board very quickly all adjust to the market conditions. The reason that your industry failed is because the bigger it got, the higher it drove up the cost of the inputs. It had to die.

              You continue to cite examples of biodiesel production that are based on inputs that have a tiny potential in volume. This is what makes your commentary not worth considering.

              By the way, I don’t consider the demise of biofuels to be “bad news”, but rather GOOD NEWS! This should be apparent from only a cursory view of the graphic.

              Comment by aletho | January 6, 2010 | Reply

        • So-called ‘green’ energy tax credits create HUGE economic dislocations, and biofuels is a perfect example. Just because some biodiesel manufacturers APPEAR to be profitable has more to do with VC investors looking for sizeable tax credits, and now with those gone, and biodiesel demand gone with overall fuels demand destruction, 2010′s ‘Great Recession’ will spell the inevitable deathnell for all bio-diesel, those with ‘poor’ business plans and those with ‘golden’ ones.

          Better get on board the ‘water-powered carburetor’ schuffle!

          Comment by Gee Gee | February 24, 2010 | Reply

  6. [...] Biodiesel flickers out leaving investors burned « Aletho News. January 5th, 2010 | Category: Uncategorized | Leave a comment | [...]

    Pingback by The Progressive Mind » Biodiesel flickers out leaving investors burned « Aletho News | January 5, 2010 | Reply

  7. you could modify the cartoon with hybrid plantation pines, helicopters to apply herbicides and inorganic fertilizers, with log and chip trucks hauling trees and chips to a cellulosic ethanol plant…and have the same story. No energy return on investment.

    Comment by Joy Towles Ezell | January 5, 2010 | Reply

  8. Anybody can press his own bio diesel out of just about anything. Hemp, Soy, Rape are all good rotation crops and make excellent bio diesel. Gotta grow crops and gotta rotate sometime, right? I have two trucks that run well on the bio diesel produced by the plant near my house and buy bio diesel at the large service stations on the highway. I assure you bio diesel is not going anywhere. All commercial Generators run on diesel, all the military runs on diesel, all the buses and trains run on diesel, all the big trucks run on diesel and all the planes run on a version of diesel. Regular diesel is the byproduct of making gasoline made from oil, which comes primarily from the middle east, an unstable situation at best, not to mention someone out there might actually want something of value for their oil very soon as our dollar disintegrates. I don’t see how this adds up to Bio diesel being dead. Are you saying that Oil from the middle east is going to go down in price or what? America no longer needs to move product? I don’t understand. In any case I’ll keep on trucking while your sucking fumes in your gasoline powered car or paying $20 a gallon! If you just meant bio fuels like Ethanol I’d agree with you, that was just another depopulation ploy, like you alluded to in your piece. Anyways good show!

    Comment by Chris | January 13, 2010 | Reply

    • Chris,

      I’ll point out the major problems with your perspective.

      1) Most oil does NOT come from the Middle East. In fact less than 15% of US oil is sourced there.

      2) The Middle East is only unstable because the US pays to keep it that way.

      3) Yes, oil is going down in price over the coming decades due to the phenomenal advances in fracking and deep drilling. Biodiesel will never be competitive in our lifetimes.

      Comment by aletho | January 14, 2010 | Reply

      • Very, very weak. Your ridiculous argument still has us relying on foreign oil as the world hates us more and more for our wars for…oil! Even as you write that the price of oil is going down its going up..on the middle of winter, not the heat of summer! You don’t even mention the fact that oil producing countries are running from the dollar just like China (buying gold), India (buying gold) and Germany are. How do you suppose buying oil in euros, converted from a worthless dollar will impact things? You seem to have a very narrow vision of the world around you. Are you blind to the complete collapse of our dollar? Have you heard about the tungsten filled gold bars in fort knox? I’m no economist and certainly no oil baron but I can see the writing on the wall and I can read between the lines. You have some sort of agenda or axe to grind. The buses run on diesel, the trains run on diesel, the big rigs run on diesel, the major electrical generators all run on diesel…still! My rigs run on diesel, I can buy bio diesel from the refinery at 3.30/gallon and pay a little less than 3/gallon at the pumps for sulfur laden toxic gasoline byproduct. Its more than worth it to pay the extra 30 cents/gallon to support the local economy. Bio diesel is clean, you can put it on you salad…etc. Where are your sources for this Fracking and deep drilling? Do you have any? And Its not my perspective, its yours, I live out here in the farmland with all the diesel trucks, tractors, hay balers, generators, and everything else that now runs on bio diesel out here. We love it far more than paying for foreign oil, its sustainable and helps the local economy. As a matter of fact all of our county vehicles run on the bio diesel produced from our local plant, pressed from our local crops. You’re ignorant in this regard.

        Comment by Chris | January 14, 2010 | Reply

        • Chris,

          I will deal with your arguments one by one:

          Your ridiculous argument still has us relying on foreign oil”

          Is it your contention that the US should no longer engage in global trade? Or perhaps that trade will freeze up? Are you aware that oil is an entirely fungible commodity, once it leaves port the exporter has no control over its destination? Do you truly believe that global trade in oil will seize up and if so why?

          “How do you suppose buying oil in euros, converted from a worthless dollar will impact things?”

          Not in the least. The currency of transaction has no bearing whatsoever. If the dollar suffers hyperinflation, oil will be more costly to dollar holders whether they pay for it in dollars or euros. In either event biodiesel would still cost much more than oil.

          It sounds like you have been exposed to some kind of hate propaganda or xenophobia about trade with the Middle East. Perhaps you should consider whether it pays to hate people just because you are told to. The high cost is borne by you as you freely divulge in your comment.

          Comment by aletho | January 14, 2010 | Reply

          • Well it sounds like you are on board with the concept of hyperinflation, I guess that’s a start. I’ll be frank with you though, your whole argument rests on the theory of “Fracking and Deep Drilling” in which you site no source or give any links to, without that you don’t even have an arguement. I just wonder how its possible to go wrong with a $3500 presser and 40 acres of rape and one man pressing all he needs for his own operation? I know the Bio diesel plant in my own county very well because I’m part of the town that its in, they even call on me sometimes to fix stuff for them. The plants infrastructure is already there, the crops are growing, more and more each day, they have 4 employees working full time (if you call that work they do) making like 12 dollars an hour, how is this going to fail? I already told you they HAVE to grow those crops as rotational crops and I personally know more crops are going to be pressed in 2010 than 2009 in my county, that is expansion despite the very large contraction going on around us now, even with foreign oil. Yes trade will freeze up. There are plans to attack Iran even now over nothing. Hyperinflation is already here, been to the grocery store lately? And the cost of that bio diesel will go up too because its a commodity, but the workers will still get that same $12 an hour, the infrastructure will still be there and the crops might just come cheaper too. Do you think somehow the military will just abandon the Diesel Quads they just ordered? You really need to do some research on what diesel fuel really is all about son. even if all the If trade with the middle east is less than 15%, like you said why is it important what I think about the middle east? According to you apparently we are getting all of our oil from Hugo Chavez! My best friend is Muslim, I think, what do I care? I believe in freedom of religion, fool! I obviously get my information from the web, I managed to get here somehow. Seriously do some in depth research on diesel fuel, not politics or anything else, the actual fuel, how its made, who uses it, you’ll see.

            Comment by Chris | January 14, 2010 | Reply

            • Chris,

              I just wonder how its possible to go wrong with a $3500 presser and 40 acres of rape and one man pressing all he needs for his own operation?”

              The product will never be competitively priced. If the price of oil were to go up, the cost of biodiesel inputs goes up. The entire industry fails as soon as the government subsidy is withdrawn.

              There are plenty of better things to do with rotational crops than burn them as fuel.

              The military’s diesel equipment runs just fine on regular diesel fuel.

              Yes trade will freeze up. There are plans to attack Iran even now over nothing.”

              And there you have it! The entire biodiesel industry is just a war preparation for criminal aggression. The only way that it pays off if is we CHOOSE war. Why would you support something as immoral as that?

              Comment by aletho | January 15, 2010 | Reply

              • What about the Fracking and deep well drilling links that your whole flimsy argument is based on? Where are those? I have repeatedly asked for a source. But I guess its clear that you believe we should rely only on foreign oil for our most vital resource, that comes from a completely difference culture and value system. Seriously you don’t even know the difference between Ethanol and Bio diesel. The rotational crops after being pressed still go to feed the livestock, but you wouldn’t know this because you did no research. Bio diesel is the absolute future of our small economy. You seriously think the people in my town are preparing for war? They are preparing for sustainability. Even though you site no source or provide no links to your fracking and deep drilling myths, you don’t seem to know that bio diesel has also made major improvements that eclipse anything in fossil fuels. Bio diesel is already competitively priced, so I’m not sure where you came up with that bit of nonsense. I don’t have any more time for this. I hope your not getting paid for these articles, they’re rubbish. I’m on the ground here, not writing from some office somewhere, I see whats really going on.

                Comment by Chris | January 15, 2010 | Reply

                • Chris,

                  Go to the Cambridge Energy Research Associates for info on oil reserves and fracking technology. Unlike “sustainable” biofuels its not a myth.

                  Comment by aletho | January 15, 2010 | Reply

            • The truth is probably somewhere in the middle. British Columbia has announced a ‘Saudi’ sized gas field, of course, a mixed metaphor meaning oil in general, and Brazil has tapped a ‘Saudi’ sized oil field, but in deep water, and the Canadian gas pipeline, subsidized on the premise of natural gas to Chicago, will instead be used to burn more tar sands out of the ground, and frac’ing while it’s old technology is in higher use, at least until they inadvertently drain the Oglalla Reservoir, but in any case, there is plenty of fossil!

              Comment by Gee Gee | February 24, 2010 | Reply

  9. I remember last year bicycling through Mississippi and all the farmers were growing corn in a big way. Someone told me the price farmers were getting per bushel(I don’t remember what it was), and it was far better a price than any other commodity. Apparantly, the government was suppoting corn for gas?? Can anyone elaborate on this?? I don’t mind supporting ethanol as an additive to gasoline. However, I have to wonder if all this is going on while there are capped oil wells available??..

    Comment by Will | April 27, 2010 | Reply

    • Will,

      The government mandates that up to 10% of your gas is ethanol. The refinery blends in the more expensive product and you eat the cost.

      The extra demand for corn, and by extension any crop that is grown in similar acreage, doubled the market price of basic cereal grains in 2007-2008. Besides starving millions worldwide the higher prices made the biofuels industry uneconomic.

      Comment by aletho | April 27, 2010 | Reply

  10. I don’t know the US rules but here in the UK you can make 2500 litres of biodiesel/vegetable oil a year and use as motor fuel without paying Excise Duty (which here doubles or more the cost). This has created an industry where all the fast food places can realise a value on their waste oil. I recentle went to a local chemical company to buy methanol so I could convert dripping (from my grill pan) into fuel for my car & they had run out. They said they were waiting on a truckload delivery (5000 litres) so the demand/production is out there. Important when you see our stooge “leaders” writing out blank cheques for the War for Profit scam.

    Comment by Brown's Bottom | July 24, 2011 | Reply

  11. the last commentor from browns bottom brings up an important point:

    biodiesel and ethanol work on the local level.

    CHARLES 803 the still, apparently is very popular method of making alcohol and free plans are online.

    Biodiesel: There were biodiesel cooperatives long before it became a commercial drive.

    It seems the whole purpose, of these fake subsidies, besides starving people to death, and throw cash towards certain people, is to paint a negative stroke on the basic production of biodiesel and ethanol locally. These large-scale production methods are taken out of a normal context when the beneficiaries become someone not also involved in the process, and the employees loose all connection with a beneficial stake. Donating fiat and expecting more in return doesn’t count; that’s trading in sin. OTOH if the local coop system needs maintenance and it comes down to my time given directly, that’s different. Substance for substance, no conversion or traversal.

    I do not find within me sorrow for these ‘investors’ who decided to convert their energy into fiction instead of substance; a fundamental error I hope more people learn from.

    Comment by moo | September 5, 2011 | Reply

    • Biodiesel from stale restaurant oil could replace a minuscule fraction of petroleum use and is not worthy of discussion for the purposes of answering mass production and marketed energy questions. Perhaps biodiesel is the highest and cleanest use of that material but that does not pertain to supplying society with any significant quantity of fuel.

      Comment by aletho | September 5, 2011 | Reply


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