Arlington company produces commercial biodiesel
August 27, 2008 · Updated 4:44 PM
ARLINGTON The Arlington-based Standard Biodiesel company has become the first in the state of Washington to produce biodiesel from used restaurant oil on a commercial scale, but what does that mean for local consumers?
Any vehicle with a diesel engine is capable of running on our fuel, said Standard Biodiesel President John Schofield, who noted that the company is one of only two certified and licensed biodiesel plants operating in the state. People have run their vehicles on waste oil before, but theyve had to modify their vehicles engines to do it. What weve done instead is to modify the fuel to fit the engines.
Schofield explained that the plant is currently running between 10 percent - 15 percent of its eventual capacity of as many as 8 million gallons of biodiesel fuel per year, but that still amounts to approximately 2,000 gallons of biodiesel being produced daily. He added that their fuel consists of 99 percent biodiesel, whereas a number of other companies produce biodiesel fuel that consists of as much as 80 percent - 90 percent petroleum.
Standard Biodiesel has forged partnerships with more than 600 regional restaurants to turn their used oil into fuel, including those of the Seattle Childrens Hospital, the University of Washington, approximately 40 Pike Place Market bistros, the Swedish Hospital, Catfish Corner, the Angel of the Winds Casino, Benihanas, the Edgewater Inn, the Dragon Fish Asian Cafe, Uwajimaya, and Taste at the Seattle Art Museum.
Standard Biodiesel will also provide local collection sites for household oil throughout the Puget Sound, so that people who deep-fry at home will have places to recycle their waste oil into fuel. The Snohomish, King, Pierce, Kitsap and Island counties are all covered by Standard Biodiesel waste oil recycling collection routs.
People are welcome to come by our plant to purchase their fuel, said Schofield, who invited vehicle owners to buy biodiesel at the companys location on 23810 Old 99th N. in Arlington. Its selling for about $3 a gallon right now, which is very competitive with current diesel prices reaching $3.20-$3.40.
Schofield elaborated that Standard Biodiesels stated commitment to energy efficient fuel extends to the methods with which it produces that fuel, since he anticipated that the entire plant would be able to run off its own fuel soon. By heating its production processes with a straight vegetable oil furnace and converting all of its operations to a 100-kilowatt biodiesel generator, he predicted the plant would be able to get completely off the grid by this summer.
Our production waste streams are fed back into an anaerobic digester, Schofield said. This million-gallon stomach uses anaerobic decomposition to convert energy into a methane gas. This gas then drives a generator, which is able to harness that biogas into electrical power, which is then fed in turn back into to the electrical grid. It only takes 10 gallons of fuel to make 2,000 gallons of fuel.
Standard Biodiesel founder John Wick stated that his primary concern was to create a company dedicated to renewable, sustainable energy, relying on local feedstocks, production and distribution to avoid dependence upon foreign or even out-of-state producers.
Washington state is a hotbed of environmentalism and progressive activity, Schofield said. People are eager to do their parts. We are looking for alternatives and answers. Just like buying organic food, using biodiesel is something which may cost a bit more, but is well worth it.