Potato Chips Spur New Oregon Biodiesel Facility

Plans are underway to break ground on a large biodiesel manufacturing plant in Oregon. According to the projects partners, Oregon-based SeQuential Biofuels, LLC, and Pacific Biodiesel of Hawaii, the facility is the first large-scale biodiesel production facility in the state of Oregon. The arrangement is also partly made possible by a natural potato-chip company agreeing to provide all of their waste oil for the production.

SeQuential-Pacific has purchased a one-acre industrial parcel on the Kelly Point peninsula and permit applications are being filed with the City of Portland to break ground this August. Production would begin in November with the facility expected to produce in its first year a million gallons of high quality, ASTM certified biodiesel from used cooking oil supplied by local companies such as Salem-based Kettle Foods. “Our goal from the beginning has been to make renewable fuel choices readily available to local businesses and individuals,” said Tomas Endicott, managing partner of SeQuential Biofuels. “Nothing is more sustainable than using recycled cooking oil to produce a healthy fuel choice, especially when we can manufacture it here in Oregon, reducing environmental impact of biodiesel transport and contributing to the local economy through job growth. With demand growing, we’re working aggressively to expand biodiesel availability, as well as fleet and retail markets for biodiesel throughout the Pacific Northwest.” The investment is made possible with assistance from Wells Fargo Bank, the Oregon Department of Energy and a group of minority investors that includes Cameron Healy, founder of Kettle Foods; John Miller, a biodiesel user and Oregon businessman committed to sustainability; Ron Tyree, owner of Tyree Oil, a Eugene-based petroleum distributor; and country music artist Willie Nelson, who helped launch the Willie Nelson Biodiesel Company, which provides biodiesel fuel to tanks and truck stops in Texas. “It’s immediately obvious the positive impact biodiesel can have on the economy, as well as in supporting the effort to put family farmers back on the land growing an environmentally positive, domestic fuel,” said Nelson. “It was our experience in Hawaii with Pacific Biodiesel…that got us engaged in supporting the biodiesel industry.” In support of the effort, potato-chip maker Kettle Foods, will supply all of its used cooking oil to the new facility. The company is the first natural foods manufacturer to recycle all of its waste oil into biodiesel and the first of its size to contribute to the new facility. “We’ve been looking for an opportunity to strengthen our commitment to biodiesel for a long time,” said Cameron Healy, founder of Kettle Foods, which already runs a fleet of company cars on biodiesel. “SeQuential-Pacific is the first company to provide us with both a reliable source to recycle our used cooking oil, as well as a stable supply of biodiesel. We think it’s a great exchange — healthy oil for healthy fuel.” Kettle Foods is committed to minimizing its environmental impact through several initiatives. It also maintains one of the largest commercial solar arrays in the Pacific Northwest that last year produced 5 percent of the company’s electricity. Employees also led efforts to restore a nearly two-acre wetland system at its headquarters, which improved environmental conditions, prompting the return of nesting herons and other wildlife.
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