Is Homegrown Fuel A Waste of Energy?

Is biodiesel the next agriculture boondoogle like strawboard and sugar beets?

Published: 29-Dec-2005

REARDAN, Lincoln County -- On a blazing day last July at his farm west of Spokane, Fred Fleming placed a machine that looks like a meat grinder the size of a truck engine on a concrete slab and started dumping tiny canola seeds into the top.

The machine kept clogging as it squashed the seeds into oil, and Fleming was reduced to slowly pouring in the seeds.

After three straight days under the searing Eastern Washington sun, he shut down the crusher. After all that, he had managed to produce about 400 gallons of vegetable oil, which eventually was sold to become some of the first homegrown biodiesel ever made in Washington. The biodiesel was a paltry trickle.

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