Using grain (grown with petroleum-derived fertilizer) as a source of motor vehicle fuel may not be the stupidest idea anyone will ever invent — surely someone, someday will propose dealing with California’s water shortage by growing more orange trees in the desert and then distilling the water out of the orange juice — but it has to be close. That current version of that scam is called “ethanol.” The updated version is called “soy biodiesel.”
Here’s the bad news: According to the Washington Times, Norm Coleman is planning to demonstrate that he’s a moderate by pushing this nonsense.
He opposes Republican efforts to allow oil drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, preferring, instead, to focus on alternative and renewable fuel sources, such as soy biodiesel made from soybeans, that “represent important economic growth opportunities” in agricultural states such as his.
Two readers point out that, as opposed to the stupid biodiesel proposal described above, there’s a perfectly sensible biodiesel idea: recycling the vegetable oil used in deep-frying. (I’ve always suspected that fast-food joints did their deep-frying in recycled crankcase oil, but that’s a different issue.) Apparently there are big environmental gains at the point of use as well as in production. I have no idea what the economics is like.