Pros & Cons
- The major reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from the use of biodiesel fuels comes from the life cycle of the fuel source itself and not necessarily from its reduction in tail gate emissions. In the collection of vegetable oils from naturally grown plants, recycling used frying oils or rendering animal waste products, the manufacturing of pure biofuel produces 60 to 100 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions compared with that of petroleum diesel. (Canada, 2007).
- Biodiesel is composed of 11 percent of oxygen by mass which when added to petroleum diesel, allows it to burn more efficiently. (STM, 2003). In addition, biodiesel has mild solvent properties and is thus considered to be a clean fuel. These factors allow biodiesel to help reduce the emissions of fine particulates and unburned hydrocarbons into the air, some of which have been associated with cancer-causing properties. (Canada, 2007).
- Many food and animal waste products that now end up in our landfill sites decompose naturally to produce methane gas which also contributes negatively to climate change. By diverting these products into biodiesel instead, we can further impact the environment in a positive way. (EIA, 2006).
- Biodiesel fuel usage is a viable option that can implemented without significant delay into existing diesel engines and using existing fuel transportation and delivery systems. This could certainly have important impacts in the fields of public transportation and the trucking industry.
- Of major consideration is the fact that the vast majority of privately-owned vehicles have engines that are designed only for use of petroleum fuels. Further research regarding the adaptation of these engines to allow for the use of blended fuels is required.
- Education is needed for the public regarding the advantages of using biofuels. Promoting the use of public transportation fueled by biodiesel would certainly help reduce greenhouse emissions. However, most car drivers are not ready to give up the comforts and flexibility associated with the use of their cars so that governments would need to actively provide interesting incentives for them to do so.
- Consider the possibility that societies and governing bodies actively embrace the use of biodiesel fuels, there would then soon likely be a problem of supply and demand. Resources would need to gear up in order to effectively divert currently discarded waste products from our landfills and to produce raw materials from our farm lands and forests. On one hand, a direction towards utilizing our renewable resources may in turn create new industries and reduce our disposal costs. On the other hand, expertise and foresight would be required to keep the system in balance.
- Farmers and the lands they tend to are obviously essential to the production of our foodstuffs for our consumption. Diverting these resources for the production of biodiesel raw materials would be unsound and could drive up the cost of food. (Gristmill, 2007). Our forests and natural landscapes need to be preserved as well so that mass forestry projects would require strict regulation. Altogether, environmental, economic and sociological factors would require an overall coordinated and balanced approach.