Friday, September 30, 2005

Biodiesel

A certain fellow blogger (The Green Robin)has suggested that we convert to biodiesel and away from fossil fuel. Sounds good to me. But, I don't know squat about biodiesel. So, I rolled over to http://www.me.iastate.edu/biodiesel/Pages/biodiesel1.html and read about the oily stuff. Sounds interesting, since around here we are up to our coronal sutures in soybeans.

Here are some calculations (from a previous post, August 16, 205):
- World Oil production (and consumption) 30 billion barrels a year
- 20 gallons of gasoline per barrel
- World Consumption 600 billion gallons of gasoline a year.

United States Consumes 1/4 of this (7.5 billion barrels a year)
United States Consumes 150 billion gallons of gasoline a year.
(at $3.00 a gallon, that's $450 billion a year; a handy piece of change)

From the above link on biodisel:
- 1 gallon of oil per 7.6 pounds of soybeans
- would require 7.6 x 150 billion = 1,140 billion pounds of soybeans a year for USA;

Or, about 1 trillion pounds of soybeans for fully converted USA biodisel supply!

Now, from here we find that:
- average yield of soybeans is about 50 bushels per acre
- from a friend, a bushel of soybeans is about 90 pounds
- an acre of soybeans yields about 4,500 pounds
- 1,000,000,000,000 lbs/4,500 lbs/acre = 222,000,000 acres

Now, 1 acre = 0.0015625 square mile
So, 222,000,000 acres = 346,875 square miles
Or, a land mass about 600 miles on each side of a square:

Now this isn't such a big deal to become gasoline independent, especially if we had efficient cars.


Chaulk one up for the Green Robin:

1 comment:

NiK0 said...

one of the problems i see with the biodiesel argument is that it requires we divert a significant portion of global foodstocks to fuel an incredibly inefficient form of transportation. i feel that efforts should be made to expand public trans enough to decrease our fuel consumption. the beltway commute just seems such a waste of energy to me... there has to be a better way.