Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Biofuels!

[One of the running gags at Eschaton is Atrios' failure to blog on biofuels. One hapless poster complained that the host's refusal to deal with this subject was a black mark against his liberalism. The usual crowd went crazy with laughter, and thus the gag arises several times a week, usually when an "Open Thread" appears. So,for NTodd and Eli, here's your steenkin' blog on biofuels.]

Because of the high cost of oil, prices for gasoline and diesel have skyrocketed, which means the costs of products trucked and trained to market have also risen, as have the costs of construction. This rise in costs has been evident world-wide, and the European Union is exploring the use of biofuels as an adjunct (although not a complete replacement) for diesel. At least one Asian nation is moving more quickly on the issue, according to the LA Times.

Malaysia may become the first Asian country to require the replacement of diesel fuel with biofuel for vehicles and machinery, in an effort to cut fuel subsidies and boost the local palm oil industry.

Malaysia's ministry of plantation industries and commodities wants to include the mandatory sale of biodiesel in a proposed biofuel bill expected to be submitted for cabinet approval this month, a ministry official said.

Biodiesel, a mixture of 5% palm oil and 95% diesel fuel, would be sold beginning in 2007 if the law is approved. Malaysia is the world's leading producer of palm oil.


The decision would be a win-win situation for Malaysia because it would not only decrease the cost of fuel in the country, it would also add to the export of one of its major home grown products. Europe would be the primary target for the biodiesel.

As the article notes, no modifications of existing diesel engines would be necessary, and the fuel itself is cleaner burning so air pollution would be lessened.

What is most interesting about the article, however, is the following:

Since the 1980s, the Malaysian Palm Oil Board and Petroliam Nasional Berhad, the state energy company, have been developing technology to convert crude palm oil into a diesel substitute.

At least one government has been forward thinking for twenty years. Unfortunately, that country has not been the US. In the meantime, the big oil corporations are raking in billions each quarter and Americans are paying close to three dollars a gallon for that precious fluid.

Sad, really.

3 Comments:

Blogger konopelli/WGG said...

my choice for bio-diesel supplement would be hemp oil...

that way you get two contentious matters rolled into one...

:lol:

5:16 AM  
Blogger ntodd said...

MARS, er...BIOFUELS, BEYOTCH!

4:47 PM  
Blogger Eli said...

Well, thank God *someone's* not a sellout...

6:38 PM  

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