Biodiesel has a lot of good things going for it but this is really cool. If you’re familiar with the process of making biodiesel, you know that glycerin is produced as a byproduct. If you like homemade soap, you can get started right away but Galen Suppes, a researcher at the University of Missouri-Columbia, is working on a way to turn that glycerin into propylene glycol, … that’s antifreeze. So you can make fuel and antifreeze out of soybeans. Now, you probably also know that regular antifreeze is nasty stuff, … this antifreeze is nontoxic.
… this technology can reduce the cost of biodiesel production by as much as $0.40 per gallon of biodiesel. The market for propylene glycol already is established, with a billion pounds produced a year.
“The price of propylene glycol is quite high while glycerin’s price is low, so based on the low cost of feed stock and high value of propylene glycol, the process appears to be most profitable,” Suppes said. “The consumers want antifreeze that is both renewable and made from biomass rather than petroleum from which propylene glycol currently is produced, as well as nontoxic.”
So you get two useful products when you make biodiesel, lower the overall cost and the antifreeze is nontoxic. That’s a helluva combination. I like it.