With diesel prices going up, there’s been a lot of interest from folks trying to save a buck with our Straight Vegetable Oil (SVO) systems. Amazingly, Anchorage has a SVO-friendly grease collection company, Alaska Mill and Feed. They have been selling SVO drivers 55 gallon drums of filtered, dewatered, used (sometimes heavily used) cooking oil, known on the commodities market as “Yellow Grease.”
It’s been priced at 75 cents a gallon for a few years, but recently they raised the price to $1.00 a gallon. I’ve heard rumblings in the local vegoil community that maybe Mill and Feed is just trying to squeeze us a little, since diesel prices are so high. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
A quick check at the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service’s Bioenergy Portal leads us to the National Weekly Ag Energy Round-up. Yellow Grease is commanding an amazing 33 cents a pound on the open market.
Since Yellow Grease runs about 7.6 pounds per gallon, at 33 cents a pound, the market rate is just over $2.50 a gallon! Those 35 pound (about 4.5 gallon) cubies of old fryer oil are now worth $11.55, double what grease was selling for a year ago!
Even with shipping costs to the lower 48, Mill and Feed is losing money by selling grease at the low local price. Mark, the plant manager, has done a great job cleaning up their oil and keeping costs low for Alaskans. We’re lucky to have such a great business supporting Alaska biofuels.
(note: as of May 1st, 2008 Mill and Feed has raised their local price to $1.50, which more closely matches the current commodities market. I’ve been told they expect to keep the price stable throughout the summer.)
(note: as of June 1st, 2009 Mill and Feed is no longer collecting yellow grease (and therefore not selling it, either!). Alaska Waste is now collecting grease. They are not selling it to the public, but are continuing to ship it out of state until their biodiesel plant is built – est. summer 2010.)