Hi Don,

I'm glad my article triggered someone from the biofuel industry to answer. I'm sorry to see you disagree with my conclusion, which I saw as relatively positive. There are many places where biofuels have a generally positive impact, and I acknowledge that, but it’s worth recognizing that it’s not always the case, and pointing out what the issues may be.

I’d like to note that the article is about biofuels from an international perspective, whereas your answer seems to be about biodiesel from a US perspective, potentially shifting the way we see things. I base everything on research so I don’t know which myths you’re referring to. I do realize, however, that I talk more about ethanol than biodiesel, which may be what you didn’t like? Either way, I’d be happy to have links to your sources, as maybe I missed something, but right now the research I found is aligned against a lot of what you’re saying.

Responding to your claim that "biodiesel was developed in the U.S. as a beneficial use for the excess fats and oils created as byproducts of protein production.": According to The Biodiesel Handbook (Second Edition, 2010), biodiesel has a long history, and even the inventor of the diesel engine (a German) was interested in its potential in the 19th century. I can’t find any mention of your claim anywhere.

Your argument, that “in the process of harvesting protein needed for the food supply, soybeans naturally produce more oil than we can possibly eat” is partially correct. The process of harvesting the seeds does yield oil. That oil is also extremely important to the food supply, owing to the fact that it’s one of the world’s most consumed cooking oil, including in the United States (See Oilseed Composition and Modification for Health and Nutrition, in Functional Dietary Lipids, 2016).

It’s also worth noting that soybean oil is such an expensive feedstock that it drives the price of biodiesel up, and not the other way around like you are claiming (see Biodiesel a Realistic Fuel Alternative for Diesel Engines, 2008).

I’m with you on the potential benefits of biodiesel, but inflating its benefits will only get people to stop trusting your industry.



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