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Bob Armantrout
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Hi!

My name is Bob Armantrout and I'm joining permies.com to answer your questions on the opportunities and challenges of making your own biodiesel to fuel your diesel equipment.

My friend Lyle Estill and I have a combined 25+ years in biodisel production and have recently written a book published by New Society to help you navigate your way towards independence from Big Oil.

Backyard Biodiesel description from New Society

I look forward to interacting with you!
 
Joseph Lofthouse
gardener
Posts: 2579
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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bee chicken food preservation fungi greening the desert
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So which technology do you think is most sustainable long term? And easiest to operate day-to-day and keep operation in the long haul?

Ethanol
wood gas
Biodiesel
Steam
Other

Do any crops/animals strike you as more efficient for generating biodiesel? When I run the math with my farm, it looks like for those items that are edible, I can get much higher prices selling them as food than as fuel.




 
Bob Armantrout
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Hi Joseph,

As I have no hands on experience with ethanol, wood gas, or steam, I'll focus on biodiesel.

Waste fryer oil (aka yellow grease) is probably the best all around feedstock for the small scale biodiesel producer. It can often be collected for free from restaurants, and its use as a liquid fuel is, in my opinion, a higher use for it than as an animal feed additive or use in the cosmetic industry.

Most agricultural crops, like soy or canola can make fine fuel, but as you say, markets for them typically fetch higher prices than for use as a liquid fuel feedstock.

That being said, I know a number of farmers who divert some of their soy or canola crop to make their own fuel on farm, and they are happy to be able to control the availability of fuel on their own farm.

In the battle of food vs fuel - food will usually win the price war. This is why biodiesel from algae is not likely to ever be commercially viable. If you're growing algae commercially - food and nutraceuticals are the markets of choice.

Bob
 
Dillon Nichols
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Location: Victoria BC
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Hi Bob, welcome to permies.com

Can I assume that you feel processing WVO into biodiesel is superior to using it directly in appropriately modified vehicles? Could you share your opinions/experience relating to this choice?

I think that the fuel vs food point is a very valid one at this point in time, but an eventual shortage of fossil fuels may alter this equation dramatically.
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://stoves2.com
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