Alaska Biodiesel Night a Success!

March 27, 2008

www.alaskavegoil.orgWow, we had over 100 people turn out to yesterday’s Alaska Biodiesel Night. Folks flew in from all over the state, and many of key biofuel folks were in the audience to help answer the tricky questions:

Hans Geier, the Delta Canola famer has solved the problems that growing Canola in Alaska has been faced with in the past, and spoke about his farm-scale oil press.

James Jensen from the Alaska Energy Authority updated us on fish-oil projects, specifically mentioning their use of antioxidants for fuel preservation, the portable rendering plant grant, and studies to determine the benefits to the environment by capturing the oil from carcasses instead of dumping them.

A fisherman (Brian Pauling, I think?) from Dillingham asked about shelf-life and stability of fish guts/oil/biodiesel, as they are trying to get a fish oil energy project off the ground.

Tim Hudson was there to testify about the National Park Service’s successes with B100, and specifically mentioned using heated fuel systems to keep B100 driving down to -38F.

And many other folks brought up great points, from “secret diesel” recipes and unheated blending proposals, to biodiesel efforts on prop airplanes.

Anthony Destafano from SEAKsolutions, flew up from Juneau and gave a great presentation on Southeast Alaska’s renewable energy potential. He focused on the fact that biodiesel can help now, and doesn’t require the years of studies and infrastructure requirements that plague many renewable energy projects.

I tried to focus on the the title of the evening. “Biodiesel: What is it? Why is it so great? How can I get it?” We covered chemistry, ASTM specs, emissions, carbon and energy balances, lubrication and oxygenation benefits to the engine, and of course, how to obtain biodiesel. Basically, with the new Ultra-Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD), you need some kind of additive to protect your engine – biodiesel is an excellent one, and B20 blends will run in unmodified diesel engines.

We at Arctic Vegwerks are working with the biofuels community and are expecting to sell ASTM biodiesel this summer, while hoping that local producers are up and running within a year. More on this later.

Furthermore, Arctic Vegwerks is offering a series of classes and seminars on backyard biodiesel this summer. More on this soon.

The evening ended with a great networking session in the foyer, Zane Ulin and crew from Premium Biofuels Alaska were handing out flyers on the BioPro, building off of Anthony Destefano’s fleet-scale biodiesel project in Taku that he mention in his talk. Folks from UAA were handing out questionnaires for yet another biodiesel feasibility study, and Mark Goodman from Mill and Feed told me about the skyrocketing market for yellow grease. More on grease prices soon.

Thanks to the folks from “French Fries to Go” and “Greasy Rider” for the films, to all the great people who made this happen, especially Judy Stoll who helped staff the table at the last minute, and a big cheer to the Sierra Club for sponsoring the evening. We’ll do it again.

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