National Biodiesel Day celebrated in March

By | April 01, 2005
Farmers, engineers, environmentalists and biofuel enthusiasts had reason to celebrate in March. These leaders commemorated National Biodiesel Day on March 18, which is the birthday of Rudolf Diesel, the inventor of the diesel engine. Festivities included a birthday party hosted by the Vermont Biofuels Association at the Statehouse in Montpelier, Vt., for state legislators and other supporters.

President Bush led up to this industry holiday the week before by showing his support for efforts afoot in Washington, D.C., to encourage the use of biodiesel. In mid-March, he said one objective of energy policy " is to diversify our energy supply by developing alternative sources of energy." The president went on to say, "Congress needs to continue strong support for ethanol and biodiesel. We're going to continue to figure out ways to grow our way out of dependence on foreign oil. Someday, somebody is going to walk in and say, 'Well, we got a lot of soybeans, Mr. President. And we're less dependent on foreign sources of oil because of biodiesel.'"

The biodiesel industry chose Diesel's birthday as National Biodiesel Day to honor him for his foresight in recognizing the valuable role of vegetable oil-based fuel. In the late 19th century, Diesel ran early versions of his engine on peanut oil. In a 1912 speech, Diesel said "the use of vegetable oils for engine fuels may seem insignificant today, but such oils may become, in the course of time, as important as petroleum and the coal tar products of the present time."
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