NBB: Biodiesel Supports World Water Day

John Davis

Today is World Water Day, and the National Biodiesel Board is tapping into the environmental day of recognition to illustrate just how water-thrifty the renewable fuel really is.

In an NBB piece, the group’s sustainability folks point out that fresh water is helped along by biodiesel’s green nature:

By switching to renewable fuels, like biodiesel, we help ensure future access to energy and future access to clean, fresh water. For every unit of energy put into producing biodiesel, 4.5 units of renewable solar energy are stored in the usable form of liquid fuel. Biodiesel is the best way to store energy from the sun in a dense, liquid fuel for transportation uses, but it can also be used as a renewable fuel for stationary uses such as the Thames Water Desalination Plant in London. This plant will use biodiesel from recycled fat and oil from London restaurants and households to provide water for one million people.

We must also protect our water resources by minimizing pollution. Biodiesel production reduces wastewater by 78 percent and reduces hazardous waste production by 96 percent compared to producing petroleum diesel. These numbers are based on the entire lifecycle of the fuel. The conversion of fats and oil to biodiesel uses very little water, and can be done consuming no water at all, if necessary. The year 2008 was a record year for biodiesel production in the US. Even during that record production, the entire US industry used less water than a handful of golf courses use to water their lawn. In the context of our societal uses of water and the benefit it brings, biodiesel production represents a very meager use of water.

And since it is nontoxic and biodegradable, biodiesel isn’t the threat to the environment that petroleum is. Seriously, when was the last time you saw a picture of a duck or an otter struggling through a biodiesel slick in some previously pristine bay?

Biodiesel, NBB