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Presentation at Ferris highlights benefits of biodiesel

BIG RAPIDS - The Social Sciences department at Ferris State University is presenting "Alternate Energy: Biomass Diesel Fuel" from 7 to 8 p.m. on Oct. 25 in the Arts, Sciences and Education building, Room 102.

"I am hoping students learn that there are other alternatives than gasoline and corn ethanol, which are better for our national security and environment," said Don Roy, an associate professor in the Social Sciences department.

Biodiesel is a cleaner-burning fuel for diesel engines that is produced from renewable resources such as soybean oil, Roy said. It can be used as a pure product or blended with petroleum diesel. Biodiesel is simple to use, renewable, domestically produced and readily available.

Benefits of biodiesel are that it helps keep the air cleaner by significantly reducing carbon monoxide and sulfur dioxide emissions, which is especially beneficial to asthmatics, Roy added. It also lessens dependency on foreign oil.

Roy has arranged for a speaker from American AgFuels, a biomass diesel manufacturer, to speak to students about the negatives of corn ethanol fuel compared to biomass diesel. American AgFuels, located in Defiance, Ohio, began processing soybean oil to produce biodiesel in 2005. It is the only biodiesel plant in Ohio.

"The wave of the future is alternative energy sources, and who knows, maybe some of our students will venture into this kind of business," Roy said.