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U.S. Falls Behind in Biodiesel Production

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Michael Spencer

Michael Spencer

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In 2008, the United States used 128 million gallons of petroleum each day to produce diesel fuel for commercial trucks, trains and boats. 26 million gallons of bio fuels were also produced each day of which only 825,000 gallons per day was used for bio diesel production. The U.S. actually exported more bio diesel than it consumed. Currently soybean and rapeseed oils are the primary feedstocks for commercial use but serious consideration is being given to the jatropha plant, halophytes, and algae. Both the U.S. and Europe are still predominately using first generation bio fuels which require the transesterfication of food based crops like corn, soybeans, rapeseed and palm oil to create ethanol and bio diesel. The future of bio diesel resides in the third and fourth generation of bio fuels. Third generation bio fuels seek to improve yields through improving the feedstocks themselves instead of the processes. Forth generation bio fuels will consist of genetic engineered feedstocks designed to increase oil yields and provide for greater levels of CO2 sequestration.

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