Acknowledging Rudolf Diesel's pioneering achievements

Recognizing March 18, National Biodiesel Day
By Ron Kotrba | March 23, 2011

I’d like to take a moment to recognize National Biodiesel Day, which took place last Friday, March 18. It’s no accident National Biodiesel Day is celebrated on that date. It was purposely chosen because it's the birthday of Rudolf Diesel, inventor of the modern compression-ignition engine. The National Biodiesel Board put out this release for the occasion:

When Rudolph diesel first developed the diesel engine he had diversity in mind. What he may not have known was just how far the diesel engine would go.

The first compression ignition engine that Rudolph Diesel displayed at the 1900 World's Fair ran on peanut oil and he designed it with a variety of fuels in mind. 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.”

“The biodiesel industry has grown to be as diverse as the diesel engine itself,” said Don Scott, Director of Sustainability for the National Biodiesel Board. “From the raw materials used to make it, to the engines it is burned in, biodiesel is one of the most diverse alternative fuels on the planet.”

Biodiesel is a cleaner burning, advanced biofuel made from readily available renewable resources such as soybean oil, canola oil, cottonseed oil, peanut oil, animal fat and even used cooking oil. The engines biodiesel is used in include semi-trucks, tractors, heavy construction equipment, boats, school buses, city transit buses, military equipment, diesel pickup trucks, passenger vehicles, home heating burners, electrical generators and almost every other diesel engine in the marketplace.

It reminds me of a story we published nearly two years ago on the life and death of Rudolf Diesel, a story titled, “Diesel's Pioneering Spirit Survives Despite His Untimely Death.” Check it out.