Following: I have something important to discuss. It makes me so upset and it involves stupid people, so listen up and make sure you don't get put on my list.
I've been researching biodiesel production quite a bit lately, and it seems like this magical solution to all of life's problems. But let me tell you, just as there is no spoon, there is no magical solution. People don't realize that for every 10 gallons of biodiesel they make, they will also make 1 gallon of glycerin. And that adds up. Sure you can use it for soap, but if you make 250 gallons a month (like at Vanderbilt) that's 25 gallons of glycerin a month! Do you use 25 gallons of soap each month? I don't think so. They give it away. It's free soap, but the only people who use it are the true "greenies" the people who only flush their toilets once a day and eat only raw vegetables (and me because I like how it makes my hands feel).
There isn't the infrastructure in place yet for our society to deal with so much crude glycerin. There is TONS of WRONG information on the internet about what to do with it. Even on websites that homebrewers refer to a lot and use as an ultimate source. Like for instance, a person CAN dump glycerin down the drain because water treatment plants are able to take care of soap, which is all glycerin is. Yeah, that is true, but when you use the soap you are technically only dropping one tablespoon or less down the drain...NOT 25 GALLONS! That shit goes in there and messes things up and all of a sudden all the fish are dead and your water treatment plant is unable to treat water.
Another lie: That glycerin made with NaOH can be used as a catalyst because "some people just assume it's not a fertilizer, but it is still found in the soil, just in less amounts." Yeah maybe, but that means to add it to your soil you need to dilute it so that for every gallon of water you have 2% or less is glycerin and then need to spread it over acres of land. They don't say that. Instead someone is going to dump it out back and wonder why everything died. It died because NaOH forms a salt in glycerin and they are SALTING THE EARTH with it.
Finally, if the home-brewer or even large company or anyone does remove the excess methane from the glycerin...bam, instant poison. Seriously people.
I don't get it. People want to be green and want to save the earth and want cheap fuel, but then they go polluting it in one swift stroke. They are trading one thing for another. In order to save the Earth we are going to have to change our diets. We use to much oil and carbon producing things...anything in excess is dangerous, even water. Just use common sense and logic. Think things through to completion. It's not that hard. So says I who constantly forgets to turn my lights off.
On a happier note my coworker just got me a 10 foot scarf for Christmas. It's awesome.