Environment Transportation Repsol YPF to Make Biodiesel in Argentina By John Laumer is an independent consultant with a long history in business environment. Based in the Philadelphia area, he wrote for Treehugger from 2005-2012. our editorial process John Laumer Updated October 11, 2018 Migrated Image Share Twitter Pinterest Email Transportation Automotive Active Aviation Public Transportation The Spanish headquartered oil firm Repsol YPF (NYSE: REP) is planning to produce biodiesel in Argentina through the use of "advanced technology". Biodiesel is made through a chemical process in which the vegetable oil reacts with alcohol in the presence of a catalyzing agent. Glycerin, for which there are over 1,500 uses, is a valuable by-product of biodiesel synthesis. In this case, the glycerin would be from natural sources and potentially regarded as "organic". Apparently Brazil is also developing a program to produce biofuel for export. This TreeHugger is reminded of of a "BioMass Energy" conference in the early 1980's at which a Brazilian expert gave a complete history of that nation's sucessful and large scale ethanol production for transit fuel use. The slides shown of field laborers hand cutting sugar cane to "feed the beast" of sugar mills and then ethanol refineries put a chill in my spine as I suddenly realized that rainforest clearing and "low paid" labors of indigenous peoples were part of the equation. Ethanol has since fallen somewhat out of favor as a neat fuel in Brazil because modern engines don't handle it as well as the old VW Bugs that were widely ran on it once did. Biodiesel again puts ethanol back into the transit picture, as a process input, but this time for an export market as well. Let us hope that the labor and rainforest dimensions are being addressed.