Animal vs. vegetable | Letters to the Editor | Indy Week
Pin It

Animal vs. vegetable 

Your mention of fuel from vegetable waste in the feature on Piedmont Biofuels ("8 Days a Week," Dec. 19) gave the impression that its product is entirely plant-based.

According to Piedmont Biofuels leader Lyle Estill, only a small portion ("several hundred gallons a week") comes from waste vegetable oils, produced at the co-op in Moncure. The bulk ("closer to 25,000 gallons/week"), from the industrial facility in Pittsboro, uses waste chicken fat.

Anyone thinking that they're doing the planet a favor by purchasing biodiesel from Piedmont Biofuels should look a little more closely at it. The confusion over biodiesel feedstocks results directly from information presented by Piedmont Biofuels. With repeated references to plant oils on its main Web pages, and without a specific statement otherwise, the term "multi-feedstock" can easily be assumed to mean different plants. While animal fat is mentioned in Piedmont Biofuels' blogs, the theme of the upfront presentation is sustainability of plant-based energy.

For example, the lead paragraph on the "Our Story" page states: "From the beginning, Piedmont Biofuels has focused on small-scale biodiesel production. Our expertise lies in small reactor design for making fuel out of waste vegetable oil."

Then, the "Education" section touts "Vegetable Oil as Alternative Fuel," with reference to it in a separate pdf file. There are many other examples.

The use of animal feedstocks financially aids the producers of them by providing one more revenue stream, allowing them to avoid disposal costs—whether it is the main item produced or incidental to the production of some other. If you purchase a product, you support its production.

Given the energy-intensive (typically petroleum-based) nature of raising meat, and the inefficiencies of conversion of plant protein to animal protein (with the associated waste of water and land), animal-derived biodiesel is not eco-friendly. If Piedmont Biofuels is earnest about promoting alternatives to an unsustainable energy policy, it seems contradictory that it would formulate animal-based biodiesel.

Joe Regan
Raleigh

Editor's note: The Independent article specifically referred to a tour of the Piedmont Biofuels co-op in Moncure, where vegetable-based biodiesel is produced.

Comments (5)

Showing 1-5 of 5

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-5 of 5

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Letters to the Editor



Twitter Activity

Comments

I think what the people tearing these statues down don't realize is.. they just gave the conservative right-wing media and …

by Edward Teach on Fine, Let’s Argue About Silent Sam Some More (and Other Things Our Readers Told Us This Week) (Letters to the Editor)

Well-stated, excellent article!

by Barbara 2 on Fine, Let’s Argue About Silent Sam Some More (and Other Things Our Readers Told Us This Week) (Letters to the Editor)

Most Read

Most Recent Comments

I think what the people tearing these statues down don't realize is.. they just gave the conservative right-wing media and …

by Edward Teach on Fine, Let’s Argue About Silent Sam Some More (and Other Things Our Readers Told Us This Week) (Letters to the Editor)

Well-stated, excellent article!

by Barbara 2 on Fine, Let’s Argue About Silent Sam Some More (and Other Things Our Readers Told Us This Week) (Letters to the Editor)

No problem. It's understandable.

I would like to make one comparison between WWII and the Civil War. Around 5.5 …

by INDEED! on Silent Sam Isn’t Really About Racism (and Other Things Our Readers Told Us This Week) (Letters to the Editor)

RE: "My post did not equate the Third Reich and the CSA. Perhaps you should be less defensive and read …

by Mike PALADIN on Silent Sam Isn’t Really About Racism (and Other Things Our Readers Told Us This Week) (Letters to the Editor)

I love these pieces that respond to comments. They're hilarious. …

by Timothy Oswald on Silent Sam Isn’t Really About Racism (and Other Things Our Readers Told Us This Week) (Letters to the Editor)

© 2018 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation