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Where Biodiesel is Used Today

Since prices for petroleum and petrodiesel is rising continuously, the need for alternative energy sources has concerned every government, and biodiesel, as one of the renewable energy sources, has become an increasingly important part to fill such an essential need. Positive responses from current users worldwide gives this industry a very promising prospect in the years to come.

USA | Germany | France | Italy | India | Japan

  1. The USA is quickly becoming a huge user of biodiesel

    • The number of school buses running on biodiesel has increased exponentially, with thousands of school buses nationwide currently running on biodiesel.

      • As of 2004, Clark county in Nevada state uses biodiesel to power 1200 school buses.

      • In Kentucky state in 2004, nine school systems run 600 school buses on biodiesel.

      • There is some evidence that schools are saving money using biodiesel because of reduced maintenence costs and increased mileage per liter. For example, St. Johns school in Michigan kept careful maintenance records and found that they were able to extend the period between oil changes because B20 biodiesel burns cleaner and does not dirty the oil as quickly.

    • Many city bus fleets have converted to biodiesel

      • Some city bus fleets that run on biodiesel include: Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Cincinnati, Ohio; Saint Louis, Missouri; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Olympia and Seattle, Washington; Raleigh, North Carolina; and Springfield, Illinois

      • After 10 years of use, a long-running test of biodiesel in transit buses in St. Louis Missouri found no operational problems associated with biodiesel, and noted that in addition to reducing emissions biodiesel also increased injector life and decresed the need for maintenance. Passengers riding B20 buses have appreciated the fact that these buses lack the acrid smell and black exhaust of other diesel buses.

    • The US military is the single largest user of biodiesel in the country, already consuming about 20 million liters of biodiesel annually even in 2003.

      • The US Marines use biodiesel extensively and have reported no problems, and only positive responses.

      • The US Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines all use B20 biodiesel in their non-tactical vehicles.

      • The increasing usage of biodiesel has gone so smoothly that no one has noticed their extensive use in the US military.

    • US National Parks have began switching to biodiesel. For example:

      • In 2002, all 300 diesel-powered vehicles in Yellowstone National Park began running on B20 biodiesel.

      • Many of the vehicles in Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky run on biodiesel, including tractors, graders, lawn mowers, and even the ferries that carry cars and trucks across a nearby river.

      • In 2001, Channel Islands National Park in California switched its two marine vessels to B100 biodiesel and reported no problems with its use.

      • The US National Park service has started introducing biodiesel to many of the national parks, including: Everglades National Park, Glacier National Park, Yosemite National Park, Harper's Ferry National Historic Park, and many more.

    • Many US local governments have started using biodiesel.

      • In 2003, the City Of Berkeley in California switched its ENTIRE fleet of diesel vehicles to B100 biodiesel

      • Other cities and towns across the country have been switching to biodiesel blends, including Tacoma Park, Maryland; Columbia, Missouri; Keene, New Hampshire; and many more.

    • Many US Universities and Colleges have started using biodiesel. For example:

      • In 2004, Harvard University began using B20 biodiesel in all of its diesel vehicles and equipment, including shuttle buses and mail trucks. According to the University, biodiesel was selected because it provided the greatest health and environmental benefits in the most cost-effective way.

      • Other universities and colleges using biodiesel include: University of Colorado, Clemson University, University of Michigan, University of Idaho, North Carolina State University, and many others.

  2. In Germany, more than 650,000 MT of biodiesel were produced in 2003. It is marketed at a "pure" 100% concentration (B100), and has been a huge success. Some examples:

    • The German Taxi Association has adopted the use of biodiesel nationwide for their fleets of Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, Audi, and Volvo cars since the mid-1990s.

    • Many public transport fleets in cities nationwide have also switched to biodiesel. For example, the city of Heinsberg switched its entire fleet of 130 Mercedes-Bentz and MAN buses to biodiesel in 1998.

    • Since the early 1990s, tourist boats and yachts in Germany have used B100 biodiesel, and a 3-year study on boats using biodiesel concluded with a recommendation that biodiesel be used in more marine transport.

  3. In France, more than 360,000 MT of biodiesel were produced in 2003, and biodiesel is blended with petrodiesel, usually at a B5 concentration, but sometimes as high as B30.

    • Unlike Germany, where B100 biodiesel is marketed separately, French consumers don't even know that the diesel they buy may be blended with biodiesel, which is used by petrodiesel companies because of some shortages in petrodiesel.

    • MacDonald's in France signed an agreement with biodiesel producers, and today McDonald's supplies producers with 1200 MT a year of waste oil for conversion to biodiesel.

  4. In Italy, more than 210,000 MT of biodiesel were produced in 2003.

    • More than 90% of biodiesel is used for home heating at a B100 concentration. Even the Vatican is reported to run biodiesel-powered boilers for heating.

    • Several public bus fleets (e.g. in the cities of Florence, Gorgonzola, Padua, and Perugia) now run omn biodiesel.

  5. Japan, which is totally dependent on imported oil, has been turning to biodiesel as an alternative fuel source

    • Biodiesel was used in the buses of the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan.

    • In Kyoto in 2004, nearly 300 city trucks and buses were fueled with B100 and B20 biodiesel respectively.

    • In 2001, an association composed of 1441 trucking companies began using biodiesel for their trucks.

    • In 2002, a biodiesel-powered turbine started providing heat and power to the Matto-Ishikawa Central Hospital in Matto City.

  6. India has jumped into the biodiesel bandwagon in a big way.

    • Unlike other countries, India has concentrated on using oil-bearing trees such as Jatropha curcas, mahua, and karanji to produce biodiesel. These trees can survive in marginal land that cannot be used for food-crops, and were formerly thought to be useless.

    • The rise of biodiesel has elevated the lives of many rural people.

      • For example, in Southern India, the people of Kolam until recently did not have telephones, running water, television, or electricity. Then in 2002, they were shown how the seeds of nearby oil-bearing trees could be converted to biodiesel to power an electric generator. Today, the village has electric lights, running water, and all the other benefits of technology.

      • Another village called Kagganahalli, which was previously very poor because of the dry and desolate nature of their environment, now have water to irrigate their crops from pumps powered by oil-using electrical generators. The formerly desolate village now produces watermelons, sugarcane, and other crops.

    • In 2002, Indian Railways started using biodiesel from Jatropha for one of its high-speed passenger trains, and plans to convert more of trains in future.

    • Indian automakers have also endorsed the use of biodiesel in their cars, inlcuding Ashok Leyland and Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd.

    • In November 2003, the multi-national automaker Daimler-Chrysler announced that they would be producing biodiesel from Jatropha planted in eroded land for use in the Indian car market.