Turning Crop Waste into Biodiesel
Biodiesel provides significant environmental and economic benefits, and can replace about 10% of current diesel use, in place of (or blended with) petroleum-based diesel in vehicles and farm equipment. Typically, biodiesel has been produced from crops such as soybeans, sunflowers and canola, or from recycling cooking oil. However, that creates competition between crops grown for food and those grown for fuel. There is another viable option: crop waste.
Biodiesel's benefits over petroleum-based diesel include:
- Reduced greenhouse gas emissions (up to an 80% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions);
- Cleaner air (significant reductions in particulate matter, hydrocarbon, carbon monoxide and sulfate emissions);
- Income for farmers and rural communities;
- Reduced human health and safety risk (non-toxic and biodegradable);
- Increased energy security by replacing imported oil.
Sustainable Conservation is evaluating and promoting ways to use crop waste to produce biodiesel. This makes great sense in California where millions of acres of crops, such as rice, leave behind vast amounts of organic waste.
Sustainable Conservation's goal is to structure a self-sustaining system for producing biodiesel. The biodiesel can be used locally and/or transported to centralized fueling stations for wider use.