Demand For Biodiesel On The Rise – And Vehicle Manufacturers Are Listening!

This is an article from Gemma Renton

As we all become more and more aware of the increasingly urgent need to protect and heal our planet, interest in biodiesel is growing. The term “Biodiesel” covers a number of sustainable fuels (including animal fats, vegetable oils, and waste cooking oils), but public interest in the concept of sustainable, green fuels is by no means put off by the diversity and complexity of the matter. Indeed, as biodiesel science progresses, and people become more aware of its potential, demand for biodiesel-enabled vehicles is growing, Until recently, the call for biodiesel was considered a fringe call, which would not generate much profit. So manufacturers felt justified in ignoring it. However, in more recent years, growing environmental concerns have seen biodiesel pushed into the public consciousness – putting pressure on auto manufacturers to make biodiesel-compliant vehicles.

What Is Biodiesel?

The term “biodiesel” refers to any kind of fuel which is sustainably sourced and is reasonably non-polluting. Typical sources of biodiesel include the kind of fats you might use in cooking (indeed, waste cooking oil is sometimes used in biodiesel) – animal fats and vegetable oil, for example. Via a process called transesterification, these fats and/or oils are converted into usable vehicle fuel. The process is one of synthesis, with organic components exchanged with alcoholic compounds which can then be used to power engines. Often, the pertinent reactions are catalyzed via the use of an acid. It’s all a bit complicated – but it works, and it’s getting better all the time. As biodiesel producers refine their methods, and engine manufacturers refine their engines to be more biodiesel compatible, the middle-ground upon which the two meet becomes both broader and more useable.

Rise In Popularity

As you probably know if you’ve logged on to our website, ecological options are becoming more and more popular. For understandable reasons (we need this planet if we’re to survive!), more and more of us are becoming committed to helping out our suffering ecosystem in any way that we can. Interest in biofuels is rising in nearly every motoring community – with (interestingly) the RV community being particularly vocal. Perhaps because RV ownership represents a commitment to more sustainable vacations (flying does, after all, stomp down a hefty carbon footprint), and perhaps because biodiesel should be cheap and easy to manufacture (great for long-distance journeys!), RV owners and potential RV owners are constantly lobbying manufacturers and insurers to look at the potential of biodiesels. Biodiesel-specific RVs are already on the market in response to these demands, and other auto companies are watching their progress with interest.

Asian Revolution

Of extreme significance in the biodiesel world is China’s surprising uptake of the fuel. China has been introducing biodiesel-reliant public transport for some time now, and encouraging delivery outfits to use biodiesel for their trucks. China is not known for its environmental outlook. Indeed, it’s one of the world’s major polluters, and its construction projects raise frequent cries of anguish from eco-campaigners everywhere. Air pollution, and the masks worn by citizens to combat it, are emblematic of major Chinese cities, and China has been ruthless in prioritizing economic growth over ecological sustainability. It’s killed many of its river, and is destroying its native species and habitats at an alarming rate. So its sudden interest in biofuel seems peculiar at first sight. However, it should be remembered that China is not a capitalist country. Innovations are prized not on the amount of money they can make for corporations, but on what they can do for their country. Biodiesel offers China a cheap and efficient way to generate transportation power, and offers a relaxation of the nation’s ties to the international oil market. It also offers a sop to the Chinese people, who, like people everywhere, are becoming increasingly aware of the planetary health problems we’re experiencing, and want to see action taken to turn the tide. Whatever the reasons for China’s interest in biodiesels, it’s a positive for the industry as a whole. China has a huge economy, and should they decide to dedicate their considerable scientific resources to this issue, it’s likely that we’ll see enormous improvements in biodiesels within a very short space of time…

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