Why Veg Oil?
Why run your car on vegetable oil?
Although George Bush and certain oil companies seem to either side step or blur the issue, it is now widely accepted by scientists the world over that global warming is occurring. This is the result of the build up of green house gases in the atmosphere. The continual release of carbon dioxide, previously locked away in fossil fuels, is the main driving force behind global warming. This warming is having disastrous consequences on the planet. It seems you just have to switch on the news each day to learn about another one or more of these. Whether it is tornadoes in Birmingham, flash floods, the melting of ice caps, disappearance of glaciers, heat waves killing pensioners in France, the inundation of sea on pacific islands, droughts, changing seasons or the loss of not just species but whole ecosystems, the effects are numerous and far reaching.
Vehicles running on fossil fuels unfortunately are a major cause of this build up of carbon dioxide. Alternatively SVO is the only readily available fuel for common vehicles with virtually zero net CO2 emissions. Like fossil fuels, SVO still gives out CO2 emissions when burnt in an engine. However unlike fossil fuels these emissions essentially replace the CO2 taken out of the atmosphere by the plants that initially formed the oil, with the help of sunlight. Because of this SVO is referred to as a carbon neutral fuel. For someone regularly using a diesel vehicle, switching to SVO is probably the largest single step they could make in reducing their contribution to global warming.
As SVO is essentially captured sunlight energy it is a renewable fuel which is not going to run out while the sun still shines. Fossil fuels alternatively cannot be regenerated (unless provided with time frames of many millions of years) and are thus in a state of lessening supply. Limited supplies mean that the price of fossil fuels could soon rise to levels which are truly crippling to motorists.
As petrol and diesel reserves fail to keep up with the huge current global demand prices will continue to spiral upwards making them increasingly a source of conflict around the world. It is pretty clear now that the war in Iraq was about controlling one of the last major sources of fossil oil rather than eliminating weapons of mass destruction or al Qaeda. By using vegetable oil as a fuel it is possible to exercise a relative amount of consumer choice as to whether you buy into the war for oil.
Potential for Agriculture
Using straight vegetable oil as a fuel has great potential to improve farm incomes and enhance rural economies. Farmers’ cooperatives in Germany and Ireland are already growing oil seed rape, extracting the oil and selling it directly to motorists. In this way the farmers control the whole production, processing to retail chain maximizing farm income. Large retail chains that have driven down farm gate prices in agriculture are less likely to monopolize such markets bringing the possibility of fairer trade to European farmers.
With this kind of enterprise the local rural economy is also enhanced because the money paid for fuel stays in the local economy rather than moving out to the pockets of oil firms and the sheiks and dictators that control the remaining oil fields. It is hoped that in the near future farmers in Pembrokeshire will start producing this fuel to meet the demand from the growing number of vehicles that have been converted to run on veg oil.