The Book on Biodiesel by Mervyn E. Rees

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Title: The Book on Biodiesel
Author: Mervyn E. Rees
Publisher: CreateSpace Dec 2009
Paperback: 264 pages
Rating: Four (of five) Thumbs Up

I just finished reading “The Book on Biodiesel” and found it to be a fairly good introduction to biodiesel. Mr. Rees succeeds at explaining the basics of biodiesel well enough for anyone just looking into biodiesel to decide whether or not they want to make or use biodiesel.

Mr Rees has published two books on biodiesel, this one and "The Secrets of Biodiesel" They are essentially the same book with printing costs being the only difference. The Book on Biodiesel uses a smaller paper size and black and white pictures. "The Secrets of Biodiesel" uses a larger paper that is more friendly to reading instructions and uses color illustrations.

The Book on Biodiesel feels like it was written in 2006 with no mention of advancements since then. Some of the technical advice is a little dated, but irrelevant to the task of teaching what is involved in making and using biodiesel. Overall his technical treatment is acceptable and substantially more accurate than most home brewing biodiesel texts published before this one.

He does a great job of explaining safety, much better than most introductory texts. In most introductory books the fact that making biodiesel requires the use of dangerous chemicals that need special handling is usually omitted. Mr. Rees does a good job of sprinkling that information through out his book, making it hard not to notice the need for special safety procedures and equipment.

I like the way he discusses how to choose your equipment. Like most everyone, he has a preference that works best for him, while acknowledging that what works best for him is not necessarily what works for everyone.

His skill with the English Language is good and he is able to explain complex topics simply. Much of the book reminds me of an FAQ with headings asking questions that the following text explains. Roughly half of Mr. Rees’ Book on Biodiesel discusses what I call “The Pitch” or “Why you should choose biodiesel”. Normally I tend to skip over “The Pitch”, but was able to get his message across without the usual extremist dogma crap, making it a pleasure to read.

He used a lot of black and white illustrations, maybe one picture every two to four pages or so. At least half of the illustrations and Figures were burred and below print standards, like they had been taken from a web site without any attempt to make them print ready. The blurry stuff was mostly legible so my objections are more about professionalism than being able to get a message across.

Overall, “The Book on Biodiesel” is well written and does an excellent job of introducing the newbie to the world of homebrew biodiesel. If your looking for a good introduction to biodiesel, this is a good book for it.

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