Clean Fuel Causes Lots Of Pollution=Irony

I’m all for new, cleaner energy sources. I would love to get off not just our foreign oil dependence, but our our overall oil dependence. But, what is the point of replacing one pollutant with another?

After residents of the Riverbend Farms subdivision noticed that an oily, fetid substance had begun fouling the Black Warrior River, which runs through their backyards, Mark Storey, a retired petroleum plant worker, hopped into his boat to follow it upstream to its source.

It turned out to be an old chemical factory that had been converted into Alabama’s first biodiesel plant, a refinery that intended to turn soybean oil into earth-friendly fuel.

But the oily sheen on the water returned again and again, and a laboratory analysis of a sample taken in March 2007 revealed that the ribbon of oil and grease being released by the plant — it resembled Italian salad dressing — was 450 times higher than permit levels typically allow, and that it had drifted at least two miles downstream.

The spills, at the Alabama Biodiesel Corporation plant outside this city about 17 miles from Tuscaloosa, are similar to others that have come from biofuel plants in the Midwest. The discharges, which can be hazardous to birds and fish, have many people scratching their heads over the seeming incongruity of pollution from an industry that sells products with the promise of blue skies and clear streams.

“Ironic, isn’t it?” said Barbara Lynch, who supervises environmental compliance inspectors for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. “This is big business. There’s a lot of money involved.”

The Times story points out that this is not an isolated incident, and, in fact, has happened many, many times, In some cases, materials such as unprocessed glycerin, are being dumped illegally on purpose. Many plants are skirting, if not violating, environmental protection rules, sometimes because the industry is so new, they do not understand the rules. Sometimes, though, they are just ignoring them.

What is the point of an oil replacement fuel which is supposedly clean and green that creates pollution before it even gets into a motor vehicle?

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One Response to “Clean Fuel Causes Lots Of Pollution=Irony”

  1. Ephena says:

    Yes, one of the end by-products of bio-desiel is glycerine tainted with methanol. Methanol is a poison, when oxygenated one thing it becomes is formaldehyde, used to embalm bodies because it kills absolutely everything. And you are right, burning the bio-diesel creates the same co2 ans other emmissions as burning petroleum diesel. There is great profit here, collecting used cooking oil, straining it, heating it with methanol and lye and separating the bio-diesel from the glycerine and the rest of it. Problem is the rest of it is a toxic if dumped as-is.

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