21st Century Green Alternative Fuel Consultants
Biodiesel in California
Biodiesel in California Today
General California Biodiesel Information | Using Biodiesel | Advocating Biodiesel
21st Century Green | Articles
Biodiesel is great for the environment, cuts our dependence on foreign oil, and is good for local economies, but its further acceptance faces a number of obstacles. Many people are still unaware of biodiesel, there is a limited quantity of feedstock to make the fuel, there is not an adequate fueling infrastructure, and it is cost prohibitive compared to petrodiesel. Those of us in California face further challenges in either using biodiesel (B100) or in promoting the use of this fuel:
- The adopting of the EPA's level II vehicle emission standards by California in 2004 instead of 2007 has temporarily prohibited the sale of new diesel passenger cars. Used diesels are now sold at a premium in the state.
- After repeated advocacy by multiple stakeholders, the California Air Resource Board's (CARB) position on biodiesel is becoming favorable, but biodiesel has yet to go through an expensive and rigorous process to become accepted as an alternative fuel.
- The biodiesel industry, and the California Energy Commission (CEC), view biodiesel as a petroleum extender, while biodiesel can be used as a petroleum replacement in a variety of mobile and stationary engines. This policy limits the financial resources available to cover incremental cost for those wishing to transition to biodiesel.
- There is a general anti-diesel sentiment in the state, which, along with the emphasis upon biodiesel/petroleum blends by the biodiesel industry, leads to a discrimination against biodiesel by California's many environmental groups and interests.
- Because there isn't an ASTM standard for biodiesel as a neat fuel, B100 (and blends over B20 -- 80% petroleum /20% biodiesel) needs to be sold in California as a "developmental fuel."
- California does not currently grow a biodiesel feedstock, and the state's limited water resources and fragile ecosystem has to be factored in to any decision to grow industrial (oil seed) crops. Post-consumer vegetable oil, another potential feedstock, is limited by its availability, and the processing of this feedstock into biodiesel is still in its infancy.
Thankfully, there are a number of dedicated people working to build the biodiesel industry in California:
- The use of biodiesel continues to expand in the state, and new producers and distributors are in various stages of formation to help provide enough fuel to meet the growing demand.
- Community-based distributors, retailers, and cooperatives -- focusing on education, quality, and customer service -- have emerged in various parts of the state to offer consumers a choice in meeting their fueling needs.
- New and existing businesses are catering to the growing market for used diesel vehicles.
- Organizations and businesses are working with environmental groups and the CEC to change their respective positions towards biodiesel, and with CARB on emissions (NOx) mitigation.
- Various fuel brokers, distributors, and retailers in California have received Department of Measurement Standards variances to allow them to legally sell B100.
- Groups have begun feasibility studies to introduce oil seed crops into California.
At 21st Century Green, our goal is to provide accurate, comprehensive, timely, and useful information on this web site to those of you that want to use biodiesel in California and to those who want to help build the industry here. (We plan on adding regulatory and legislative information in the near future. We will also present examples of what has worked and why, what hasn't worked and why (to learn from past mistakes), and possible ways to overcome the obstacles to further biodiesel use.) This site is, of course, a work in progress. Thank you for bearing with us!
Biodiesel User Groups
The California Biodiesel Calendar
Purchasing Biodiesel in California
Purchasing Diesel Vehicles
Using the Fuel
Joining a Co-op
Joining the Biodiesel Council of California
Volunteering with 21st Century Green
Who We Are
Contact 21st Century Green
What about California?
A review of Greg Pahl's Biodiesel: Growing a New Energy Economy
- with Wolfgang Rougle
Copyright © 2004-2005, Spike Lewis, 21st Century Green Alternative Fuel Consultants, at [email protected]. All rights reserved.