Rudolf Diesel - The father of the Diesel Engine
Rudolf Diesel (1858 - 1913) was, of course, the creator of the diesel engine, but did you know that the diesel engine was designed to run on plant oils?
Rudolf Diesel’s first engine ran on peanut oil at the World Exhibition in Paris in 1900 much to the astonishment of scientists and engineers. Even then petrol prices were high and he could see the advantages in agriculture and for the environment. But he died before his vision of vegetable oil powered engines became a reality.
While on a boat trip to England in 1913 to discuss the possibility of converting our submarine fleet to diesel he disappeared. A few days later, his body was found floating in the English Channel.
The English papers were full of stories of his assassination by French operatives who obviously didn’t want the British submarine fleet converted. The French fleet had already converted by 1905.
The petroleum industry was quick to capitalize and offer a cheap alternative by labelling one of its by-products as “diesel fuel”. And so that's how dirty, stinking, polluting diesel fuel became the fuel for the Diesel engine and vegetable oil as greener cleaner less toxic fuel supply was forgotten.