Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Biodiesel, take 2

So... as spotted on Blueoregon tonight, there was some concern raised as some of the posters identified a key issue with commercial biodiesel production - namely, that of Palm Oil production in Malaysia and Indonesia in satiating the demand for oil in the Netherlands, the world's thirstiest biodiesel producer.

I believe that the efforts by Oregon's Senator Ron Wyden in securing funding to help Oregon support its burgeoning biodiesel industry is vital to diversifying the fuels used for transportation, heating, and industry. For cleanly grown low-impact feedstocks, such as grass, they can be relatively organic and carbon neutral in their production.

As far as Palm Oil is concerned, however, which is increasingly becoming a very popular fuel and is mostly being driven by the huge demands of the European Union (including nations like the UK and Netherlands) stipulating Biodiesel.

Unfortunately, they did not discriminate as to their sources. Luckily, they are rectifying that as new information has come to light as how third-world nations have been using TERRIBLE, environmentally-damaging methods for producing oil for biodiesel production.

However, there are other, far more environmentally sustainable oils that can be used for biodiesel - this is because you can use a huge variety of vegetable oils in the conversion process.

Luckily, the Netherlands - the world's largest consumer of biodiesel - is demanding oil that is less damaging to the environment. That country also has a pretty big stake in global warming - the country could be off the map even before 2100 if global warming causes sea level rises.

Here are some very interesting quotes:
The world's centres for oil palm production are Indonesia and Malaysia where rapid deforestation and the drying out of asssociated peatlands are, Greenpeace claim, releasing huge amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and thereby speeding climate change.
BUT - good news also:
In Africa, the situation is very different compared to Indonesia or Malaysia. In its Human Development Report 2007-2008, the United Nations Development Program says production of palm oil in West-Africa is largely sustainable.

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