EcoSystm: Biodiesel!

Diesels get better mileage than gas engines. Biodiesel has a lower carbon footprint and supports farmers. Great reasons to dump a gas engine and run biodiesel. Want a better reason? Exxon made 36 Billion last year... you don't have to buy gasoline.

Welcome to EcoSystm #2.

Listen up: first person to call Patrick a tree huggin' California Hippy for wanting to run biodiesel instead of gasoline in his daily driver gets mocked. Publicly. We're not kidding around. We're here to learn more about biodiesel, how it's made, and what it takes to run it thru a diesel car or truck engine.

Did we say hippy? Sure, Team Systm recycles. We reuse. (David is the -king- of reusing.) We do what we can to keep stuff out of waste dumps and toxic stuff out of the water supply. Our producer Glenn runs Biodiesel cause he thinks it's the right thing to do.

So do the folks at the BioFuel Oasis over in Berkeley, who took some time to talk to us about what to look for in biodiesel.

They pointed out that not all biodiesel comes from domesetic sources: if you want to support American farmers, make sure your biodiesel is made from oil that originates in the US.

Whereever the source, Biodiesel is vegetable oil that's been thru a process called transesterification. That means they've taken the glycerin out and replaced with alcohol --making a thinner fluid that'll pass thru a Diesel engine's fuel injectors. It's a pretty nifty hack. That process is what separates biodiesel from waste vegetable oil (greasel) or vegetable oil conversions, which require heating the fuel to make it thin enough to pass thru the engine. (The Biodiesel Board has some good info.)

You can brew biodiesel in your own home... tho, frankly, we'd rather buy it pre-made. The neighbors think we're sketchy enough without us rolling 50 gallon drums of vegetable oil and lye into the garage.

In any case, this whole Biodiesel thing isn't about better gas mileage Sure, Patrick's buddy has a massive Cummins diesel powered Dodge Ram 2500 Crew Cab that gets better gas mileage than Patrick's 3.4L powered Toyota. (Better mileage is more of a diesel vs. gas thing.)

Nor is it about a lower carbon footprint. (Though, in theory, locally produced biodiesel should have a lower carbon footprint: it comes from plants that turn C02 into 02, right?)

Nope, it's about Exxon Mobil making $36 billion last year. There's nothing wrong with that: it's an amazing feat for any corporation.

Patrick just wants to exercise his free market choice... and not put any more money in XON bank account.

And, hey, even running B5 or B20 (5% and 20% biodiesel to diesel blends) reduces our dependence on foreign oil... that's a good thing.

Almost as good as reducing our oil consumption, period... anybody up for an electric car mod?