Biodiesel is growing in popularity around the world as an alternative fuel source. Those facts are indisputable. How much the fuel can grow, though, is widely up for debate.
Because biodiesel is derived from feedstock, be it ethanol, corn, waste, or some other product, there are wide variations in quality and supply. New standards by ASTM are helping to standardize the fuel. And as more and more manufacturers certify the use of biodiesel in their vehicles, the fuel is likely only going to become more popular.
The Energy Information Administration predicts that the use of biofuels will reach 5.9 million barrels per day worldwide by 2030, with the U.S. using 1.9 million of those, up from just 0.3 million in 2006. The report, though, mentions that this increase is supported by legislation in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 which mandates the increased use of biofuels.
But, for some, including New York-based renewable energy company Innovation Fuels’ CEO John Fox, there needs to be more help provided. Speaking at the European Biodiesel 2009 Conference in Prague, Czech Republic, Fox called on governments to provide support to spread the use of the fuel.
“Because fuel products are international, biodiesel companies need to have a global reach with a localized presence,” he said. “The major factors to growing our business are without question, feedstock flexibility and the ability to create biodiesel blends for end customers as an understanding of this early on has greatly contributed to the success we have had.”
He outlined the three areas that need to be addressed: geographic depth, strong institutional funding and vertical integration along the supply chain, adding that “government support is essential” for both U.S. and European suppliers.
Fox, unlike some people today, realizes that to lessen our dependence on oil, we need the cooperation of all parties around the world, from industry leaders to government leaders and everybody in between.
Is biodiesel the solution to our problems? Maybe, maybe not. But people like Fox are at least trying to find one.