The Nitty Gritty of Sustainable Biodiesel

Image credit: Dervaes Institute

We reported on the Sustainable Biodiesel Alliance before here. While their website still reads 'coming soon', it would appear that deep and far ranging discussions are under way as to what exactly constitutes sustainable biodiesel in the first place. For an insider's view, we checked out Lyle Estill's informative and irreverent Energy Blog over at Piedmont Biofuels. It certainly sounds like there is an awful lot of ground to be covered, if his posts here and here are anything to go by. Here's what Lyle had to say about appropriate disposal of glycerin:

"We managed to pass off feedstock and fuel transportation to the Feedstock Working Group, and we assigned folks to work on three discrete categories: Environmental, Energy, and Community Involvement. If we model ourselves after the LEED program, we will end up with tiers. On the environmental front it might look like this for our glycerin cocktail:
Platinum Label: Methanol recovered, FFAs extracted and sold to renderer, water recovered and used for plants on green roof, glycerin sold for human consumption.
Gold Label: Methanol recovered, remainder sold as dust suppressant, reducing water consumption.
Silver Label: Fuel for asphalt furnaces, sold methanol in.
Bronze Label: Stored safely out back in the Great Wall of Totes
No label: Dumped in the groundhog hole by the creek."

While we are sure that working through all these details is a frustrating and convoluted task, we are extremely glad to see this process under way. With so many horror stories out there about the dangers of biofuels, there is an urgent need for some kind of labeling scheme to help the consumer differentiate between biofuels that have been brewed with the environment in mind, and those that are created with the (figurative) blood of Malaysian Orang Utans. For more of Mr Estill's musings, check out our three part interview with him here, here and here. ::Piedmont Biofuel's Energy Blog:: via site visit::