The Pro's and Con's
What are the Pro's?
Known to be less toxic than salt, and has the ability to dissolve (biodegrade) as fast as sugar.
Biodiesel is better for the environment, not only because it is made from renewable resources (such as: algae, turkey poop, canola oil, soy oil, rapeseed oil) but because it has lower emissions than the run of the mill petroleum diesel.
Us, as American's, using biodiesel, decreases our dependence on imported fuel (aka fuel from other countries) contributing to our own economy, because it will be produced on our homeland with available natural resources.
Help the growth of smaller rural communities.
Biodiesel can also be made from discarded vegetable oils by local restaurants, therefore reducing the restaurant's own disposal costs, while providing us with a renewable liquid transportation fuel!
Biodiesel is known for being non-toxic and biodegradable. Any spillage or overflow during transportation and/or the production process with have less impact on the environment, as compared to petroleum spills.
This fuel can be made from algae (another renewable source). Algae can be grown in ponds in association with sewage treatment plants, helping reduce not only air pollution, but generating a liquid fuel for our transportation system.
Since this fuel contains no sulfur, any possible combustion of this fuel has no risk of sulfur oxide emissions (something that plays a part in acid rain and snow, which effects convention diesel vehicles quite a bit)
What are the Con's?
It is not widely available to consumers, yet.
In the US, commercially made bio-fuel costs a tad more than the standard petroleum diesel (this is because biodiesel is only produced by small-scaled facilities state-wide)
Soy (and other forms of oil derived biodiesel) gels at 32 F (therefore, not as effective during the cold weather months).
The larger scale production sites could put, and will put, a huge demand on farmland, potentially reducing the export of food crops (putting rural areas who rely on local produce in a bind).
Many companies have found themselves unable to meet the quality standards because of the inability to remove all impurities and water during the product's refining process.
There are currently around 1,000 filling stations that carry some blend of biodiesel. The majority of these stations are in the Midwest, with the most spread throughout Illinois, Indiana and Minnesota. (Which benefits us, as residents of Illinois, but not the people who live in bigger cities, with the majority of air pollution)
The biodiesel production process is highly combustible due to the chemicals used, sadly, having the possibility of injuring the producers and possibly the consumers of this product.
Biodiesel Solutions, a company in Fremont, California, sells equipment you can set up in your basement or garage to manufacture biodiesel. They claim that it currently costs only about $0.75 per gallon to make, far lower than standard diesel, which is currently running about $2.50 per gallon. The unit costs about $3,500, which is not very cost effective to the average American citizen, making the switch hard for people who not only don't have the money, but do not live close to the few places who sell it as a petroleum alternative, which is the only other affordable option available, at the moment.
The pro is that there is a way to make a switch in your own home, but the overall con is that unless the customer has the time and money to produce their own fuel, they will have to wait for it to come out to their area to start the conversion from petroleum to biodiesel.