Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Green Innovations for All Manner of Oils

I have been hearing all kinds of whisperings about the different oils available for a plethora of things from home heat to the oils we cook with so I thought I’d give a run down of some of the coolest innovations I have uncovered recently as well as some of the folks who provide said oils (if possible). Suffice to say this post is going to be fairly link intensive so feel free to come on back and read through anytime!

Avocado oil - home cooking oil (primarily). In a Vegan cookbook my Mom gifted to Matt and I, the author uses almost nothing but avocado oil for her dishes. I had never heard of it and was intrigued. Lo and behold there is an entire Wiki page dedicated to the stuff. Sounds yummy. Next time I am at the supermarket I will be looking for this oil, review to follow!

Algae oil - petroleum replacement. A leader in production of this revolutionary product is OriginOil. The process entails creation of algae (possible without impacting any ecosystems) and subsequent extraction of the oil left behind after the algae mixture is mixed with CO2, water (greywater is preferred) and minerals. The CO2 is dissolved, water hovers in the middle, biomass sinks and the useable oil rises to the top to be harvested. Without having to drill or chop down a plant. Cool.

Flax seed oil - linseed oil, many uses. I have made use of linseed oil as a furniture polish as it leaves a wonderful sheen and strong protective coat when applied in layers. The flax seed is commonly ground up and used in food products. This oil can be used by Raw food enthusiasts as it is obtained through a cold pressing method. This is linoleum (common flooring material) in its pure form. No matter what is done with the oil take care not to place any soaked rags in confined spaces as it is common for them to spontaneously combust.

Coconut oil - a million and one uses! Coconut oil comes in virgin, refined, hydrogenated and fractionated types. When reading the back of a detergent bottle, there are sometimes the words: “natural surfactant” lurking about. Nine out of ten times this natural ingredient is coconut oil. This versatile oil can also be used in cooking, bath and beauty products, petroleum replacements (especially as vehicle fuels & lubricants), for medicinal purposes and a myriad of other applications.

Bioheat oil - home heating oil. Bioheat oil is created when conventional home heating oil and clean burning biodiesel are combined. In a bold move here in my home state of Massachusetts, a mandate goes into effect January of 2010 that at minimum 2% biodiesel must be used in conjunction with all standard home heating oil. This number is low but the effort is high. As the biodiesel movement becomes more standard and homeowners find it is viable, 2% will skyrocket as the years go on; reducing emissions and increasing clean burning fuel sources nationwide.

Image courtesy Domk

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