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Rich_biotech's picture

jatropha oil has gained great significance as biodiesel. whether the oil extracted from seeds or microalagal oil production is a better way? that is in terms of economy as well as environmental aspects

Tony Rook
Tony Rook's picture
Here is a recent article from

Here is a recent article from Technology Review Magazine detailing concerns about the high costs of biodiesel. Would there be a similar concern for biodiesel made from jatropha oil?

The High Costs of Biofuels
A new report warns of the dangers of relying on biofuels to reduce carbon emissions and oil consumption.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
By Kevin Bullis

Although biofuels continue to have strong political support, they may not be a smart way to address global warming or wean countries off of oil. A new report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), a respected international group with 30 member countries, including the United States, warns that increased use of biofuels will cause high food prices, won't do much to offset petroleum consumption, and is an extremely expensive way to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions.

The idea that as farmers grow more crops destined to become fuel, rather than food, food prices will increase, isn't new. The report adds that biofuels aren't worth the cost. For various reasons, biofuels will only account for 13 percent of liquid fuels by 2050, doing little to offset petroleum consumption. What's more, there are cheaper ways to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions. To achieve one ton of carbon-dioxide reductions costs more than $500 in subsidies in the Unites States. In contrast, a businessperson wishing to offset carbon emissions from airline flights can do so for less than $15 a ton. (Such offsets use efficiency measures, reforestation, and various renewable sources of energy to reduce carbon emissions.)

What, then, should be done about carbon-dioxide emissions from vehicles? Private offset programs will probably only take us so far. More-efficient gasoline and diesel cars, as well as electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids, can help. (See "Electric Vehicles 2.0.") Biofuels can still play a role, but government investment should focus on research on second-generation biofuels (for example, ethanol from grass and agricultural waste), since these could have a far greater impact on carbon emissions than, say, the ethanol from corn grain produced today. Ultimately, instead of mandating the use of biofuels--or any particular technology, for that matter--the government should instead put a price on carbon-dioxide emissions, and let the market sort out the best strategy.

Referenced Link: High Cost for Biofuels

Jason King
Jason King's picture
I think the free market

I think the free market usually does provide the common sense solution. However, with all issues of a "green" nature, governments are getting involved and are introducing a mixture of taxes that interfere with the free market. Unfortunately there is little joined-up thinking and so it is not unusual to find that one law (requirement for diesel cars to have a particle filter) means that another potentially promising avenue - biodiesel or even pure vegetable oil - is prevented, since these fuel alternatives block up the filters.

And what is the point in increasing taxes on flights if at the same time the government is planning to increase the capacity of existing airports?
I could go on (and on), but won't.

nin1318's picture
in my opinion, we don't need

in my opinion, we don't need biodiesel, hybrids are trendy but in reality the production costs (energy wise) are very high, and who knows how we're going to dispose of all those batteries.

what we need to do is use consumers to drive change. sure, increasing CAFE is good to help a little, but in reality change isn't going to come about unless consumers demand it by showing their opinions with their wallets.

to achieve this, there are some very simple solutions that are already used in other countries:

1. tax the hell out of gasoline
2. tax gas guzzlers without exception
3. tax engine displacement and horesepower
4. tax carbon emissions
5. add city-center commuter fees dependent on time of day
6. increase fees for parking, tolls, and other charges for oversize and/or polluting vehicles

7. use all this money to improve infrastructure, research higher-milage alternatives, and alternative power sources such as fuel cells

8. get the US government to stop making it illegal to sell the most clean cars in many states.
9. require all fuel stations to sell only ultra-low sulfur diesel and in conjunction make it legal to operate new clean diesel vehicles in all states (ie mercedes bluetec, and the VW version)

these are easy solutions but our worthless government, no matter how much they spout about increasing CAFE, or clean air act, is too afraid to do something truly worthwhile about the problems of oil dependency and pollution.

nin1318's picture
sorry, HECK. i wish i could

sorry, HECK. i wish i could show me rolling my eyes.

themadscientest's picture
its easy just use old fryer

its easy just use old fryer oil i have biodiesel made from it in a lamp and it costs almost nothing even if im using HEET as my source of methanol and drain cleaner as my NaOH source