GreenBiz: How 3 Biodiesel Companies Defy the Odds in a Challenging Industry

Posted on September 17th, 2014

From GreenBiz (September 16, 2014):

While biodiesel companies across the United States await government decisions on updates to the Renewable Fuel Standard and Blender’s Tax Credit, the Western Sustainability and Pollution Prevention Network checked in with three West Coast biodiesel companies for an insider’s look at the state of the industry. Of the 297 biofuels companies currently operating in the U.S., we chose three — Pacific Biodiesel, Bently Biofuels and SeQuential Pacific Biodiesel — because they share a feedstock of used cooking oil and a passion for protecting the environment.

In addition, each one of them is standing strong in uncertain times, surviving conditions that have forced many other biodiesel companies out of business. This article will touch briefly on each company, the challenges that they face, their secrets to success, why it’s important that the biodiesel industry survive, and what we can do to help the biofuel industry succeed.

Many people confuse biodiesel with vegetable oil, and believe that only specialized or “converted” engines can use biodiesel. In truth, biodiesel can be used in any diesel engine, if the appropriate blend is selected. Biodiesel can be used alone as “B100” (100 percent biodiesel) or mixed with petroleum diesel and blended into many different concentrations.

According to the National Biodiesel Board, biodiesel blends of 20 percent and below will work in any diesel engine without engine modifications. If the blend has been properly treated by the biodiesel company, it will work year round, even in cold climates. B20 (a blend of 20 percent biodiesel, 80 percent petroleum diesel) provides similar horsepower, torque and mileage as diesel. Blends of 5 percent biodiesel and lower meet the ASTM standards for diesel fuel and don’t require any special considerations.

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