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Solar-Powered Biodiesel Station Opens in Atlanta

As someone who runs biodiesel in a thirty-year old Mercedes diesel sedan, it was very pleasing to hear of the opening of a new biodiesel fuel station in Atlanta.

Located at 250 Arizona Ave. NE and providing B100 and B20, the new station is the result of a partnership between the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) and Clean Energy Biofuels (CEB). The station is part of the I-75 Green Corridor Project, which is intended to have 1,786 miles of roads where either ethanol or biodiesel pumps can be found by all motorists who can use the alternative fuels. This interstate corridor spans six states — from Hiealeah, Florida to northern Michigan.

The new Atlanta biodiesel station recovers used oils from food service establishments and utilizes solar power to process it to make biodiesel, a fuel which is non-toxic, biodegrades, and has a much smaller carbon footprint than petroleum diesel, aka ‘dino diesel’. The Atlanta station’s biodiesel is formulated to meet the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) International standards.

Biodiesel typically is locally produced, so it supports the economy where it is made and does not generally require shipping over long distances, meaning there is very little carbon footprint for transporting it.

It also produces between 50% and 75% less CO2 than burning regular diesel fuel does. Substituting biodiesel for regular diesel also reduces sulfur emissions by one hundred percent.

However, some studies have indicated burning biodiesel could result in increased nitrous oxide emissions. Others have indicated nitrous oxide emissions are the same or slightly decreased.

Biodiesel is compatible with a number of diesel engines, without any modifications required except for changing a number of small rubber hoses, because biodiesel tends to erode them. Not all new diesel engines can use biodiesel though, so it is important to make sure there is compatibility first, before trying biodiesel or there could be engine damage.

Image Credit: Shizhao

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