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Biodiesel Not As Clean, European Study Finds

May 8, 2000

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Diesel fuel made from plants would cause more environmental damage than fossil fuel, according to a recent analysis conducted by the Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO).
The research team compared the environmental impacts of diesel fuel made from fossil materials with diesel made from rapeseed oil.
The team estimated the deaths, illnesses, building damage, and agricultural damage expected to result from emissions of carbon dioxide, volatile organic compounds, particulates, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur dioxide generated by each type of fuel as it would be used.
Diesel fuel made from fossil material generated significantly more greenhouse gases than did biodiesel fuel. However, biodiesel fuel caused more health and environmental problems because it created more particulate pollution, released more pollutants that promote ozone formation, generated more waste, and caused more eutrification.
The study concludes that the benefits biodiesel fuel offers in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions do not justify its use in light of the other environmental damage it causes.

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