JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- It has been more than one hundred years since Rudolf Diesel's innovative engine was the cutting edge of energy and power. Now, modern day scientists are joining forces to support biodiesel, the renewable fuel driving Diesel's technology into the future.

Today we celebrate National Biodiesel Day and more than 60 scientists who signed the "Scientists for Biodiesel" declaration, launched just six weeks ago.

Born March 18, 1858, Diesel was confident his genius would change the world. He was right. From the food we eat to the clothes we wear, at some point diesel plays a role in essentially every component of life as we know it.

"Rudolf Diesel understood that fossil resources were not a bottomless barrel," said Joe Jobe, National Biodiesel Board CEO. "He foresaw that sustainable fuels, like modern-day biodiesel, would be a key to energy resources and continued technological advances."

Biodiesel is a cleaner burning, advanced biofuel made from renewable resources. It is domestically produced from a range of readily available products like soybean and other plant oils, animal fats, recycled restaurant grease, and waste grease. In addition work continues on new renewable fuel sources, including algae, to bolster what is already the most diversified fuel on the planet.

Scientists from U.C. Berkeley, Texas Tech and Penn State, and from National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Sandia National Laboratories, just to name a few, recognize the promise of sustainable biodiesel. In just six week, 60 experts who share in Diesel's passion for innovation have signed the "Scientists for Biodiesel Declaration."

Among them is founder and a director of the Thomas Jefferson Agricultural Institute, Rob Myers.

"Scientists sometimes have differences of opinion, but this declaration is intended to show the broad consensus among scientists about the benefits of biodiesel," Myers said.

The declaration highlights biodiesel's sustainability and its benefits to reduce dependence on petroleum, help address climate change and boost domestic economies. It also voices support for additional research and development.

The biodiesel industry is built on sustainable practices, producing fuel that lowers greenhouse gas emissions and provides renewable energy. On National Biodiesel Day remember:

  • Last year's 700 million gallon production of this fuel reduced greenhouse gas emissions the equivalent of removing 980,000 vehicles from U.S. roads.
  • Biodiesel biodegrades as fast as sugar.
  • For every unit of energy it takes to make domestic biodiesel, at least 3.5 units are gained.
  • When made from soybeans, biodiesel production uses only the bean's oil, leaving 80 percent of the bean for protein-rich soybean meal.
  • Last year, biodiesel produced from soybeans co-produced enough soybean meal to offer the equivalent of 115 billion rations of protein for the hungry in developing countries.

  • Rob Myers and Donald Danforth Plant Science Center President Roger Beachy began the "Scientists for Biodiesel" declaration in early February.

    SOURCE: National Biodiesel Board.