Biodiesel on a Small Scale, Too

John Davis

So many times, we talk about large biodiesel refineries coming online that will supply entire regions with the renewable fuel. But this little item in a local on-line paper caught my eye. The University of Wisconsin Extension Service is sponsoring at least two workshops… one at the Fox Valley Technical College in Appleton on March 27th and one in Dunn County on March 29th… teaching farmers how to brew their own biodiesel right on the farm.

The Dunn County News points out that Rudolph Diesel, inventor of the diesel engine, had intended for farmers to do just that… make their own fuel to run the tractors to work their farms. The article goes on to promise that at the upcoming workshops “farmers will get an unbiased, research-based look at what it takes to produce farm-based biodiesel”:

Jim Faust, UW Extension Ag Agent noted “There is a tremendous interest in biofuels, both among farmers, industry and government, whether it’s corn ethanol, biodiesel or ethanol from cellulose. It represents a potential win-win situation in terms of economic development in rural communities, reduction of greenhouse gases, as well as taking the U.S. on the road towards energy independence.

Gov Jim Doyle Wisconsin already has an aggressive plan for renewable energy. Governor Jim Doyle wants to replace 25% of the energy used in the state with energy from renewable sources, such as biodiesel and ethanol, by the year 2025 (see his plan here).

While these types of plans, such as the Wisconsin 2025 initiative and the big refineries, so often grab the headlines on this web site, it’s also the little initiatives such as the Wisconsin Extension Service’s attempt to teach farmers to make their own fuel that help chip away at that foreign fuel dependence.