Yes, we’ve had a bit of a brain freeze this past winter. But, never fear! Biodiesel and SVO is alive and well in the Arctic!
Fuel prices dropped this past year, and with it the biodiesel and SVO tirekickers dwindled to a mere trickle. A few guys were once again trying to make a fortune brewing and selling biodiesel. One in particular, Denali Biodiesel, got up and running with a few mid-scale plants, but as of this spring they’re relocating out-of-state. Best of luck to them!
We at Arctic Vegwerks had ZERO conversions for 2010. But, with Alaska’s Home Energy Rebate program we kept busy making our humble abode less dependent of fossil fuels, and took advantage of that nice $10k grant the state was offering.
Alaska Waste is plowing ahead with their biodiesel and composting efforts, and we applaud them. We estimate they’re using about half of the grease in Anchorage in their private fleet of trash haulers.
This still leaves a quarter of a million gallons of grease out there. With our remote market, obtaining enough SVO for personal vehicles is still a viable option. We had it pretty cush when Alaska Mill and Feed was the grease processor: no contracts, and cheap grease for sale in bulk. With Alaska Waste’s new 3-year contracts, many of the larger restaurant and institutions are taken, but there are plenty of little restaurants looking for someone to pick up grease for free.
Which leads to another dilemma: GREASE DISPOSAL. Yep, SVO folks with too much grease on their hands are left to the Alaska Biodiesel Yahoogroup or Craigslist to cheaply dispose of oil. Anchorage’s hazardous waste collection center at the landfill and transfer stations will take up to 40lbs of residential waste a day for free (one cubie), but charges $.25/lb for more ($4.00 a cube). Businesses must to pay for all oil disposed. Emerald Alaska is the city’s hazardous waste contractor, and their commercial rates are similar, but they do accept drums of oil. Last time I checked, Alaska Waste was charging $2.50 a cube ($.50 a gallon) for oil disposal during business hours (call ahead), but will only take good clean oil – no sludge.
Bottom line: don’t stockpile more than you need.
Of course, we’ve got some friends heating their shop in Wasilla off SVO, with a modified Turk Burner setup. Yellow Heat from Massachusetts has a neat Babington Ball heater. Anyone else in Alaska doing SVO heat? We’d love to hear from you.