The Green Gold Rush to make biodiesel has begun in earnest in California. It would not be profitable without subsidies from LCFS credits, federal RIN D5 credits, and Blenders Tax Credits at $3.32 a gallon, which is enough to cover production costs, according to Van der Wal, biofuel advisor at Stratas Advisors in Singapore.
He said “It’s a mind-boggling amount of money, you will make a lot of money as long as all these subsidies come in.” Without this money, biodiesel is an energy sink, with very low EROI.
Biodiesel competitors already in the market have already locked up much of the tallow, cooking oil, and other resources Marathon and Phillips hope to use (Bloomberg 2021). And California doesn’t grow many soybeans because of water shortages, so importing soy will increase CO2 via transportation emissions here and the CO2 from tractors and trucks in other countries or the U.S.
Corn and soybeans are very destructive to the environment, eroding more topsoil, causing more pollution, global warming, acidification, eutrophication of water, water treatment costs, fish kills, and biodiversity loss than most other crops (Powers 2005, Troeh and Thompson 2005, Zattara and Aizen2019).
Food versus fuel. Over 40% of the corn crop becomes fuel, not food at a time when 43 million Americans need help with food stamps (USDA 2020) and the high unemployment rate from Covid-19 could drive the need for food aid up to over 54 million people (Lee 2020).
Too many pesticides. Corn and soy are especially destructive because they need a lot of pesticides. Of all pesticide use on crops, corn’s share is 39.5% and soybeans 22% (Mclaughlin and Walsh 1998, Padgitt et al. 2000, Pimentel 2003, Patzek 2004, Fernandez-Cornejo et al. 2014). I don’t want to say they have a drinking problem, but shall we say they have a “dependency problem.”…
…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…