FUEL OR FOOD?


Homebrew biodiesel

Jordanne walked to our neighborhood hardware store around the corner to buy some lye and they were all out! She then went next door to Smart & Final and they, too, were out!   Justin needed some to make a small batch today for a film crew that’s coming to do a documentary on biodiesel.

Lots of people either have clogged sinks or there are a few folks in the area brewing biodiesel (or making soap!)Just kidding. Instead, it’s probably because we recently heard that Red Devil is no longer making lye. This will certainly effect homebrewers and soapmakers in the area.

There is a bit of controversy brewing overbiodiesel. Some folks who are advocating its use and see it as an opportunity of mass production , even offer investments in companies that make this carbon neutral fuel.

The way we see it is that biodiesel can be used here and now for cars that currently run on diesel. “Dino-Diesel” is the most polluting fuel on this planet, especially in the LA basin. If all semis, school buses, municipal service trucks, even boats and tankers, used biodiesel there would be a drastic reduction of pollution. These cars are the work force of our society and modern technology has yet to built an alternative for such use.   But, then there is the factor of where the oil source would come from and that is another hot, button debate issue. Check outFood or Fuel?

However, in our opinion, biodiesel is a band-aid solution and nor are we advocating the over consumption of fried foods that contributes to obesity of our nation. Biodiesel is becoming more and more “popular,” as an alternative fuel source, but it is worth reminding everyone that biodiesel is not THE answer to the oil dilemma.

I guess when so many things are out of control, this is a momentary solution that we can do NOW instead of waiting around for the perfect solution. This is a step in the right direction but it’s not the final destination.  

I remember hearing that a study concluded that the draft horse was more efficient to any farm machine created. So it is with bikes: [T]he bicycle is the most efficient machine ever created: Converting calories into gas, a bicycle gets the equivalent of three thousand miles per gallon. ~Bill Strickland, The Quotable Cyclist ~

In a September 2005 post, we wrote:

September 28, 2005
We are not advocates who believe that biodiesel is THE answer to our ceaseless consumption of petroleum. Just because we have a car that runs on biodiesel doesn’t mean that we drive more than before. (In fact, we are trying to drive less). The only ‘answer’ is that we consume too much energy and we need to reduce or eliminate our consumption. The fact of the matter is this: There is nowhere near enough vegetable oil in this country, new or used, to substitute for our ever growing petroleum addiction. Such solutions like biodiesel, solar panels, hybrid cars are, what Jules likes to refer to,only”band-aid” solutions (only temporary). For example, is it green and sustainable to have a biodiesel powered HUMMER? Defeats the purpose….. How about an electric can opener, microwave (or even this pc!) powered by some sort of green energy? We need to look beyond these temporary solutions. As the world faces ever increasing danger based on its dysfunctional systems, there is a critical need to look ahead with a new vision which set eyes on forging a new path beyond permaculture, alternative fuels/energy and other so-called “green” trails.

No Comments

  1. Heather Hawkes says:

    I never thought of it that way, but it is so true. Just band-aids.
    I just wanted to add that I stumbledupon your site while looking for info on chickens. What a treasure to find, and such an inspiration. I have been trying to take this path with my family, but it is a slow journey. (With 4 little kids! LOL)

    Thank you

  2. Rurality says:

    Finding lye is going to be an ongoing problem for small users. Since it is used for meth production, the supply is becoming more tightly regulated.

  3. dragonfly183 says:

    oooh nooo. I buy red devil lye for soap. now where am i going to get it 🙁