National Biodiesel Day is celebrated on March 18, which is the birth date of Rudolf Diesel, inventor of the engine that bears his name. He would be 156 years old today, but he died a century ago last September, disappearing from a ship in the English Channel in an apparent suicide, despite his many accomplishments.
Diesel was only 39 when he introduced the first high-compression prototype engine in 1897, designed to run not on petroleum but on peanut oil. Today, diesel engines are responsible for moving the majority of goods, including electronics, from manufacturer to consumer. But, more than ever those engines are being run on the type of fuel their inventor envisioned.
“National Biodiesel Day is a reminder that diversity in fuel supply means more stable prices and less dependence on a global oil cartel. That benefits the economy, the environment and leaves more opportunities for our future,” said Joe Jobe, CEO of the National Biodiesel Board. “It’s in everyone’s best interest to have a choice in transportation fuel, and that’s where biodiesel – America’s first Advanced Biofuel – comes in.” With plants in almost every state, biodiesel production amounted to nearly 1.8 billion gallons in 2013.
Jobe notes that the EPA proposal to lower the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) this year would be a step backward for production, setting the volume requirement at just 1.28 billion gallons. “The biodiesel industry is asking the Administration to revise the biodiesel proposal so that it is at least consistent with last year’s production,” he said. Rudolf would probably agree.