Bioenergy, Hydropower

Biodiesel for Both Sides of the Border

Thanks to a $69,777 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grant, the Washington Technology Center’s Northwest Energy Technology Collaborative will launch a project to convert waste vegetable oil into biodiesel fuel for utility line trucks that operate along both sides of the U.S./Canadian Border.

The project, named “Bio-49 Degrees,” will replace 12,000 gallons of standard diesel fuel per month with cleaner burning biodiesel for use in Puget Sound Energy and BC Hydro’s utility fleets. The project will not only reduce harmful diesel emissions near the border (the 49th parallel), but will also lower the cost of biodiesel for the two power companies. In addition, college students on both sides of the border will be trained to run processors and distribute the biodiesel. “Innovative grass roots projects like this couldn’t be more timely given the nation’s need to identify and test alternative fuels that are cleaner, more renewable and less expensive,” said EPA’s Administrator for the Northwest Region, L. Michael Bogert. “This project will not only improve air quality and reduce fuel costs for the utilities in the near term, but will also blaze the trail for future regional and international efforts.” During the project, Puget Sound Energy will fuel 13 trucks and BC Hydro will run a large portion of its fleet using the biodiesel processed by the students. The biodiesel will be produced from used vegetable oil, turning a waste stream into much needed clean fuel. The project will also demonstrate the effectiveness of a new biodiesel-processing unit, the “Biodieseler 115,” at the two technical colleges — the Washington State at Bellingham Technical College and the Burnaby Technical Institute in British Columbia. This grant is one of the 16 new diesel emissions reduction grants totaling more than $1.4 million that EPA is awarding this year as part of the West Coast Collaborative. The grants will leverage an additional $5.8 million in matching funds. The grant was announced in Seattle as part of the Washington Biofuels Business Collaborative, a partnership between leaders from federal, state, and local government; the private sector; and environmental groups in California, Oregon, and Washington.