Sunday, December 10, 2006


Of course, this makes great sense!

North state getting on biodiesel road
Four large-scale plants expected to open next year
By Jim Downing - Bee Staff Writer
Published 12:00 am PST Sunday, December 10, 2006

In Rich Gillis' perfect world, every decent-sized city in Northern California would be converting its used cooking oil into clean-burning biodiesel. And he'd be the guy in charge.

The region's first four large-scale biodiesel plants -- including Gillis' 6,800 gallon-a-day setup here in Monterey County -- are set to go online in the next six months. By 2010, Gillis alone hopes to open nine more.

"There's no competition with this stuff yet because we don't have enough equipment to provide 10 percent of what the ... market is," he said, standing in the seed warehouse he's converting into a biodiesel refinery. Behind him, a crane scraped a steel tank the size of a cement mixer across the floor.

Biodiesel comes from fats: used french fry oil collected from restaurants, fresh-pressed soybean or canola oil, or even rendered animal fat. A simple chemical reaction yields a fuel that burns in any diesel engine. Burning biodiesel made from waste grease in place of petroleum diesel reduces by as much as 80 percent a vehicle's net emissions of carbon dioxide, the gas chiefly blamed for climate change.

High petroleum prices, concerns about global warming and new federal subsidies are driving a national rush to all sorts of biofuels. Central Valley dairies are building multimillion-dollar digesters to convert manure to methane. The Midwestern ethanol frenzy is gobbling so much grain that corn prices are up 75 percent this year.