November 14, 2007
Biodiesel craze turns fryer grease to gold
This article, from the Daily Journal of Commerce, gives insight into the present recycled cooking oil market in Portland and the effects due to the popularity of biodiesel. Mostly gone are the days of getting used oil for free, some restaurants are now charging up to $1.20 per gallon to collect their used grease to be converted to biodiesel.
“You have processors now in the metro area who are looking at using that grease for biodiesel primarily,” Mike McCallum, president and CEO of the Oregon Restaurant Association, said. “There are restaurants who are being solicited for the use of the grease and are getting some money for it.”
While this is indicative of an increasing demand for biodiesel in Portland, it also likely means increased prices for the end-user.
The result in the long run may be more expensive biodiesel at the pump.
“It’s going to drive the cost of biodiesel sky-high,” Loren Fennell, founder of the Alternative Energy Coalition, who collected used oil for years for Portland biodiesel cooperatives before quitting due to the increased competition.
Continue reading "Biodiesel craze turns fryer grease to gold"
November 14, 2007 7:59 AM
Peter W Says:
Saw that one coming.
November 14, 2007 11:54 AM
Garlynn -- undergroundscience.blogspot.com Says:
Yeah, this is a major reason why I own two biodiesel vehicles -- and have not converted either one to WVO yet. The cost of conversion runs from about $800 to as high as $2400 (for an Elsbett kit). But, with prices on the rise for the waste oil, how long would it take to recover that investment? And is it worth it?
At this point, I'm inclined to think that my time is better spent just letting somebody else figure all that stuff out (where to source the oil, and then take the time to transesterify it), and then purchase it for them at whatever the market price turns out to be. Currently, that's as high as $3.70-$3.80 a gallon... but, as somebody else pointed out to me, you pay more for organic produce, don't you? Then why not pay more for non-petroleum fuel?
November 14, 2007 6:52 PM
I think, and someone correct me, that the energy density in biodiesel is so low that most of the gasoline that you're not burning per gallon, you're still burning per mile (decreased efficiency); so in the end you are aren't really conserving any petroleum fuel unless you also curtail your driving... which you could do with biodiesel or without.
I'm of the opinion that we should pony up with some Hydro and Nuclear (aka, "The Washington Option"), get fully dual-mode vehicles which can run in full-electric or hybrid mode, so that 95% of your day-to-day driving energy needs can be met using the grid, but you still have the long-range option of stored gasoline. The best thing of all, this wouldn't require any new technology and is only marginally more expensive for today's consumers, who are already on-board with hybrid technology and could likely go all-electric as long as they knew they had a gasoline back-ups.
November 14, 2007 7:45 PM
"I think, and someone correct me, that the energy density in biodiesel is so low that most of the gasoline that you're not burning per gallon, you're still burning per mile (decreased efficiency); so in the end you are aren't really conserving any petroleum fuel unless you also curtail your driving... which you could do with biodiesel or without."
Biodiesel is a replacement for regular diesel, and ethonal is a replacement for regular gasoline, and diesel and gasoline aren't interchangeable. (Ethanol is made from corn, (the sugars in the corn in particular,) Biodiesel is made from vegetable oil.) But besides that:
Yes, there is less energy in a gallon of Biodiesel than in a gallon of regular diesel, by 5-8%, but it tends to burn more completely, so the actual effects are smaller than that. So if you burn a gallon of biodiesel instead of a gallon of regular diesel, you may end up going a mile less per gallon on the biodiesel. However, since you didn't burn any regular diesel on a per gallon basis, then on a per mile basis, you still didn't burn any regular diesel, so you are indeed saving petroleum.
Ethanol has 34% less energy per gallon compared to gasoline, but again, if you burn ethanol, on a per gallon or per mile basis, you are still not burning gasoline so you are saving petroleum.
There is a question of how much energy it takes to produce the fuel in the first place though. If you have to drive around to a bunch of fast food restaurants to pick up their used vegetable oil, then you are using some of the fuel... Likewise, if you have to use a tractor to plant and harvest a bunch of Canola, then you do use some fuel there. For Canola oil, you use less fuel to grow it than you get from it, so in the end you do use less petroleum. For Ethanol, you use more fuel to grow the corn and make it, than you get from it, so it is possible to use more petroleum, but lately they've been building coal powered Ethanol plants, so while it uses less petroleum, it is worse for the environment...
November 19, 2007 9:44 PM
Have you ever had to smell one of these foul odored things? I was behind one the other night and it smelled absolutely terrible and emited a heavy blue smoke. A volvo proudly proclaiming "BIODIESEL". They should outlaw these things before people with bad asthma get killed.
November 19, 2007 10:03 PM
Bob R. Says:
Have you ever had to smell one of these foul odored things?
Ever had to smell? Yes. Foul-odored? No.
I was behind one the other night and it smelled absolutely terrible and emited a heavy blue smoke. A volvo proudly proclaiming "BIODIESEL".
It was either in serious need of a tune-up, or wasn't running pure biodiesel.
- Bob R.
November 19, 2007 10:11 PM
That must have been the case. The car did make a lot of noise, too.... I run ethanol in my new Silverado pickup but it gets terrible mileage versus regular gas!
November 19, 2007 10:25 PM
Bob R. Says:
Yes, ethanol has lower energy density than gasoline, which translates into fewer miles driven per gallon.
From a consumer perspective (excluding the price of food and tax subsidies), if you pay less for than ethanol than gasoline, you may be ahead of the game.
Many studies suggest, at least for corn ethanol, that the non-solar energy inputs require exceed the energy output. (In other words, at least in the case of corn, it's better just to burn gasoline directly rather than to farm/produce ethanol.)
There is a lot of research in this area, and breakthroughs in the production of ethanol from switchgrass, sugar beets, or algae may be of great benefit, but I'm overall skeptical of ethanol as a replacement motor vehicle fuel in general.
- Bob R.
November 19, 2007 10:28 PM
if you pay less for than ethanol than gasoline, you may be ahead of the game
Yeah, well I'm getting my ethanol for free... Family connections :)
August 29, 2009 12:00 AM
Brunch Box/Side Cart Says:
Hey. We're a food cart in downtown Portland who would be happy to give away our used filtered fryer oil (for free!). Just email us, find us on facebook.com/brunchboxpdx, or twitter.com/brunchbox, and let us know you'd like to pick some up.