Biodiesel users see benefits in Central Oregon

Biodiesel users see benefits in Central Oregon
In this Jan. 5, 2012 photo, Daniel Brewster, of Cascade Couriers, pulls out of Kombucha Mama in Bend, Ore., for a delivery trip to Sisters, Ore., using a delivery van that is biodiesel. Central Oregon businesses say they're willing to spend a little more to ensure their distribution systems are environmentally friendly. (AP Photo/The Bulletin, Andy Tullis)

BEND, Ore. (AP) — Central Oregon businesses say they're willing to spend a little more to ensure their distribution systems are environmentally friendly.

That effort begins with using biodiesel, a kind of processed vegetable oil that various businesses, from coffee shops to tree removal companies, are putting to use, the Bend Bulletin reports.

Daniel Brewster of Cascade Couriers says when he expanded from a bicycle, he found an electric van too expensive, so he went the biodiesel route.

Biodiesel is more expensive, and in chilly weather some kinds turn to gel, stopping vehicles cold. But its production continues to grow.

The number of gallons of biodiesel used in the United States shot up 4,600 percent from 2000 to 2009, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. And by 2025, supply in the country will increase six-fold over the amount available in 2009, which was approximately 20,000 barrels per day, the agency predicted.

Jeff Rola, president of Go Bio Co. in Bend, has in the past three years found profit in supplying a company with used vegetable oil, which gets converted into biodiesel.

He regularly brings used vegetable oil from around 160 Central Oregon restaurants and other businesses to SeQuential-Pacific Biodiesel's Salem production facility.

"There's that whole altruistic story that we're saving the planet, that we're using a recycled product, that we're getting off of foreign oil and all that stuff, which is valuable," Rola said. "But what people have to realize is that green is also the color of money. ... (But) I can sleep a lot better at night if I can contribute to my community being a better place to live."

SeQuential-Pacific said the rollback of a federal tax credit for diesel blenders on Jan. 1 was a setback, but spokesman Brad Marluke says the plant's output has gone up substantially in the years since its establishment in 2006.

"We are in desperate need of every single drop of cooking oil we can get, and the more cooking oil we can get, the more biodiesel we can make," Marluke said. "We don't really have an issue with selling biodiesel."

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Information from: The Bulletin, http://www.bendbulletin.com

 

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press