Report: In search of the 'better oil'

In search of the BETTER OIL - The great promise of biofuels is hampered by harvesting logistics and high production costs – so an innovative solution is required. Bette Flagler investigates biofuels R&D and investment in New Zealand, and its potential to make a global impact.

Everyone’s doing it. The whole world is trying to find alternatives to the fossil fuels on which we have become so dependent. It’s become, it seems, an economical as well as environmental imperative. And aren’t we clever, growing crops to power our cars? But consider this: At the turn of the century – the 19th to the 20th century, that is – the first engines that carried Rudolf Diesel’s name were designed to be powered by peanut oil. A few years later, in 1925, Henry Ford told the New York Times that the fuel of the future was ethanol. “There is fuel in every bit of vegetable matter that can be fermented,” he said. “There’s enough alcohol in one year’s yield of an acre of potatoes to drive the machinery necessary to cultivate the fields for a hundred years.”

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