Posted by Brian @ 9:52 am on February 10th 2008

Ignite Portland

I gave a five minute presentation on biodiesel for Ignite Portland last Tuesday. Preparing was quite a challenge. I’ve given maybe 50 presentations on biodiesel which usually run between 1-4 hours. I knew that it was basically impossible to present the information I usually do, so I gave up on that and decided to present a mix of the things I thought were the most important, most entertaining and/or most misunderstood.

I left out things that seemed obvious – that it is better to bike, walk, use mass transit or just stay home. That there are a bunch of other things we need to do in addition to moving to entirely renewable sources of energy – combine trips, massively increase efficiency of our vehicles, buy locally, use flex cars, work from home, carpool… I figured these things were safe to leave out, given the audience would be smart, educated people with open minds.

I wish I could have covered algae in greater depth. I don’t think it is possible for us to get out of this mess without it (where ‘this mess’ equals peak oil + climate change). And there is no way our need for liquid fuel is going to go away, unless we go back to living in the trees. Liquid fuel is fundamentally a part of everything we do, and biodiesel has the least impact of any of our choices. Any of them. I did another ten hours of research on other renewables and caught up on the latest biodiesel research to make sure everything was up to date. I uncovered some new research that bears some further following up – it might be the case that some farming methods may have negative impacts. That’s why it is all the more important to focus on algae, which alleviates those concerns entirely. The best I could do on that was get the message out about not buying Palm oil biodiesel.

Anyway, I received overwhelmingly good responses both at the show and afterwards, and had a great time. I can’t wait to see the next round of Ignite presentations!

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