OK ... so this is a bit "out of left field", but I recently read Josh Tickell's Biodiesel America: How to Achieve Energy Security, Free America from Middle-east Oil Dependence And Make Money Growing Fuel, and figured it was Green, and Tech, and although (with apologies to GWTW's Prissy) "I don't know nothin' 'bout gassin' autos.", probably has some Chicago applicability to it as well.
The link here goes off to my review. As you may recall from previous books featured here, I read and review a lot of books, and have started to point out those ones that seem to fit the Green Tech Chicago "mission", and this one looked to me like I'd be doing you a disservice by not bringing it up.
Now, before picking this up at the dollar store (I do love getting nice hardcover books for a buck!), I really didn't know much about Biodiesel ... given that I live downtown and never had to have a car for transportation, that whole "vehicle upkeep" thing has always been something alien to me. Sure, when I've had a rental, I've seen the Biodiesel option at gas stations, and I knew that it was a fuel derived from plant stuff, etc., but I came to this book with a pretty blank slate.
As a backgrounder for "all things Biodiesel", I can certainly recommend this ... most of the book is given over to the history, technology, and potential sources for Biodiesel ... which made me feel, by the time I got through it, that I had a pretty decent grasp on the subject. The main caveat that I raise in my review, however, is this is a bit "dated", coming out in 2006, so the "political" stuff (and "forecasting" figures) are pretty much "water under the bridge" at this point, either supplanted by new laws and treaties or new data/information. As such, this might not be the most amazing primer on Biodiesel that's out there (but I don't know of others to suggest), but for a basic understanding of the concept, it's pretty solid.
One of the things I found most fascinating in here was the discussion of how various crops could work for raw material, with analysis of how much oil the plants (or algae) produced, how much of it would need to be under cultivation, etc. The one I thought was most promising was Mustard ... with the grain being oil-rich, and the plant being edible. The author gets into a lot of detail in this, looking at how many processing plants of what size would need to be built, and how the Biodiesel produced would be integrated with the existing fuel distribution system ... all very interesting challenges.
Anyway, go on over to my review for all my thoughts on this.
Oh, and by way of something of a P.S. ... sorry for not posting more over the past couple of months. I've had intents of sharing stuff I've seen on the web (in lieu of having been to conferences or other places where I could shoot interviews, etc.), but I was noting that most of that was coming from one source, Fast Company's "Coexist" features (http://www.fastcoexist.com), and I was having yet another navel-gazing "crisis of conscience" about whether this was going to be a) of use to you readers, and b) fair to Fast Company (as it could be seen as simply "piggybacking" on their product). I've had dozens of things that I initially thought "Hey, that would be great for GTC!", only to not pull the trigger on it.
What do you think? I could be posting several days a week if I was simply passing along cool stuff I saw on the web, but it seems that that might "dilute" the Geen - Tech - Chicago (pick at least 2) focus here.
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