Rotten Robbie Goes Green
As I zoomed my way down Almaden Expwy the other yesterday I was pleasantly surprised to see a large banner advertising the availability of B-20 bio-diesel at the Rotten Robbie gas station (Almaden Expwy & Cherry/Chynoweth). This is a big step forward when it comes to the ideal of limiting our dependence on foreign oil. Rotten Robbie is surely not a major gas station chain like Chevron, Shell, or Union 76 but they do have 32 stations here in the Bay Area so that makes them a voice to be reckoned with in my book. Rotten Robbie is only offering the B-20 blend of bio-diesel at I believe 7 of it’s stations according to the Rotten Robbie website, which still puts them in 1st place among local gas station offering B-20 bio-diesel at the pump.
B-20 bio-diesel is a mixture (or blend) of 20% bio-mass and 80% regular petroleum based diesel. It can run in any diesel engine car or truck without modifications to the engine or fuel systems. Rotten Robbie sells the B-20 for the same price as regular diesel fuel so don’t get too excited…..it’s no bargain! But if you choose to buy B-20, then you’re taking an environmentally correct step in the direction of global responsibility…..you get a Gold Star!
OK, put on your tin-foil hats…..it’s “big brain” time again!
So what is biomass? Biomass is the organic matter in trees, agricultural crops like corn and other living plant material (look around your back yard). Biomass is normally made up of carbohydrates and other organic compounds that are formed in growing plant life. Biomass is also solar energy stored in organic matter all around us. If you were paying attention in high school then you should remember that as trees and plants grow, the process of photosynthesis uses energy directly from the sun to convert carbon dioxide into carbohydrates like starches, sugars and cellulose.
Carbohydrates are the organic compounds that make up biomass. When plants die the process of decay releases the energy stored in carbohydrates and discharges carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere, and cycle begins all over again. Biomass as a renewable energy source? Absolutely, because the new growth of plants, trees (and yes corn!) replenishes the supplies needed to produce biomass which allows us to create bio-diesel…….get it?