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Alternative Fuels, Renewable Energy, Biofuels, BIodiesel and Facility Updates

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year, Biodiesel Is Back Baby!

Congratulations!!! Congratulations to the biodiesel industry as a whole! We have overcome another industry challenge. It took over a year of persistent efforts from every biodiesel supporting entity but we have prevailed. The $1 biodiesel tax credit has finally passed in congress. The biodiesel tax incentive makes biofuel a price competitive alternative fuel with petroleum diesel.

The lapse of the tax incentive on December 31, 2009 has had a detrimental impact on the biodiesel industry, causing plants to either cut back or terminate production entirely. The retroactive reinstatement and extension of the tax incentive is expected to increase domestic biodiesel production and help big oil companies meet the RFS2 mandates.

The unexplainable lag of congressional support felt like a punch to the gut. However, congress has finally made the correct decision by recognizing that biodiesel is currently the only viable domestic alternative fuel. I am eager to see the progression in the biofuel industry in the upcoming years. Here’s to a prolific 2011 for the biodiesel industry.

- Dimitry Greentree

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Biodiesel By-product To Help BP Spill

The bleeding of oil into the Gulf of Mexico may be tapering off, but the work of cleaning up the coastline's sensitive marshland and beaches will last for years. Some of the same innovators who produce biodiesel are eager to help. "Biodiesel is America's first commercially available advanced biofuel, and one of its main benefits is displacing crude oil. Now biodiesel producers can make a green product that can also clean up that same oil," says Steve Howell, technical director of the National Biodiesel Board.

Methyl esters, the chemical yielded in biodiesel production, can be formulated into a bio-based solvent that is federally listed as a shoreline-washing agent for oil spill clean-up. An effort is underway to encourage the use of this effective product to re-mediate oiled shorelines, particularly the more sensitive marsh habitats.

"The chemical dispersant used in the Gulf have been criticized because all they do is dissolve the oil back into the water, which actually makes it more toxic to sea life," says Randall Von Wedel, founder and principal biochemist of CytoCulture International, a company that pioneered the method in the 1990s. "A bio-based solvent does the opposite of a dispersant. It removes the oil from impacted vegetation and shoreline and floats it into the water for easy recovery."

The process involves crews spraying the methyl esters from shallow draft boats onto oil-covered marsh vegetation or small beaches normally unreachable by land. After the biobased solvent is applied, a gentle "rain" of seawater rinses the dissolved petroleum mixture off the plants and shoreline for recovery, using small mechanical skimmers. The mixture can be recycled.

Von Wedel recently visited the Gulf of Mexico, where his team submitted documentation on his product, branded "CytoSol Bio-solvent." He says a BP contractor and the U.S. Coast Guard have submitted a proposal to use the process to enhance a mechanical beach cleaning technology.

The methyl ester product was licensed by the State of California in 1997 and used to clean oiled ships and response vessels during the San Francisco Bay oil spill of 2007.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Corporate America Gradually Positioning for Alternative Fuel Movement

The Toyota Motor Corporation is currently looking for partners in alternative-fuel technology. This is evident with their purchase of a minority stake in Tesla Motors Inc. last month. Toyota is currently working on a prototype for an electric car and exploring an “omni” approach to alternative fuel vehicles such as hydrogen fuel-cell, biodiesel and other biofuel-powered cars and trucks.

In the past, Toyota has been notoriously selective with their partnerships. By purchasing $50 million of Tesla stock, it shows that Toyota is keenly aware the landscape of mass transportation could be changing sooner than they even expected. Although it’s not a complete revamp of company infrastructure or a multi-billion dollar investment, Toyota is finally showing signs of progressive strategies within the alternative fuel industry.

The Exxon Corporation and BP Oil are also showing increased interest in the renewable fuel movement. Since early 2010, Exxon has increased public visibility with their algae research and development campaigns. Additionally, the oil giant is scheduled to invest over $1 billon in algae research alone for ‘10. And just recently, BP Oil acquired the biofuel company Verenium, for $98 million.

Many pessimists are deeming the actions of these large corporations as marketing and PR stunts. Regardless, the investment still counts as positive momentum for the biodiesel industry.

-Dimitry Greentree

Monday, June 28, 2010

Senate Still Stalling

It’s the start of a new week and still the Senate continues to stall on the one of the most important tax initiatives in the alternative fuel industry. A measure that included a U.S. biodiesel tax credit was held up in the Senate after failing to pass a procedural vote, ICIS News reports. With a 57-41 vote, the Senate voted against ending discussion on the legislation, which had unemployment benefits and the re-installment of a $1 per gallon biodiesel blending tax credit that ended in 2009.

This blatant form of procrastination will send the bill back for more rewriting even though lawmakers had debated the overall package cost for weeks. Many biodiesel producers and marketers are growing frustrated with the delay as it is causing a considerable decline in employment and demand. I keep an open dialogue with many biodiesel business owners and advocates; and there seems to be an overall optimistic view that the tax credit will pass. The agonizing question is how long will it take. It seems as if every month another plant is closing the doors or downsizing personnel.

The waiting game is quickly growing tiresome to biodiesel supporters. I believe I spread a common sentiment when I say its time for senate to develop a sense of urgency with this crucial component of biodiesel expansion.


- Dimitry Greentree

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Hey Kevin Costner, “If You Build It, They Will Clean It”

You may remember him as Ray Kinsella, the man who built it so they would come in “Field of Dreams”. Or, you might remember him as Crash Davis, the washed up minor leaguer from “Bull Durham”. Shoot, more fitting, you might even be one of the few cult fans of his mutant character, Mariner, from the post-apocalyptic “Waterworld”. Whichever Hollywood character you associate Mr. Kevin Costner with, you can now add real life environmental savior to the list.

Kevin Costner has invested millions of dollars and over 20 years of diligence into the development of a centrifuge device called “Ocean Therapy”. Sparked from the ’89 Exxon Valdez Oil spill, Costner teamed up with his scientist brother to create a device that could clean such catastrophic disasters. The Costner brothers have successfully developed a centrifuge machine that could literally save the world. Costner describes the device as a large vacuum cleaner equipped with sophisticated centrifuge devices. In essence, the “Ocean Therapy” consumes the ocean water and disperses the contaminated H20 to an enclosed centrifuge compartment. Once the contaminated water reaches the centrifuge compartment, the water and oil immediately separate. This separation process is very similar to one of the filtration methods used in biodiesel production (to find out more view the biodiesel process). We all know that oil and water separate naturally; however the centrifuge simply speeds up the process of gravity, making for a quicker, more efficient oil spill cleanup.

Time is of the essence as the BP Oil crisis continues to poison the Gulf of Mexico and threaten the existence of all submarine life forms, every possible clean-up method should be considered. Somehow I always knew Kevin Costner could save the world.

by Dimitry Greentree

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Extra Wasabi for My Sashimi

BP Oil Crisis Journal Entry
by Dimitry Greentree

“Excuse me miss, my spicy tuna is a little high on the fossil fuel flavoring. Can I please get some extra wasabi?” Sound ridiculous? Well, get used to it.

It’s being coined as the “BP Oil Spill”. Um, I’m sorry but a spill is when your 2 year old kid knocks over the sippy cup while reaching for the last crusty cheerio on his high-chair table top. This travesty in the Gulf of Mexico is a code-red crisis. 210,000 gallons of oil are poisoning the ocean each day the “spill” continues. Fifty percent of the earths’ living species reside in the deep blue sea.

This unfortunate disaster magnifies the importance of biofuel expansion on a commercial scale. Biofuels are a renewable energy source that can be produced domestically. There are many environmental and health benefits to alternative fuels such as biodiesel (click here to learn). American support for green fuels would decrease dependence on foreign oil and calamities like the BP incident would not happen.

If situation is not resolved soon, believe me, you will be asking for extra wasabi.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Congressional Support for Commercial Scale Biodiesel Producers

Recently millions of dollars have been injected into the research and development of biofuel. We are very excited to see the US government focusing more on alternative energy expansion. However, our grievance lies in the lack of federal support and funding towards established commercial scale biodiesel producing companies. Biodiesel of Las Vegas has actively been pursuing congressional support for the past four years with little fruition.

Currently we have invested $35 million of private capital into the completion of our biodiesel production facility. We have acquired the property, constructed a rail system, built a tank farm, purchased all major processing equipment and nearly completed the truck load rack.

A commitment of an additional $2 million has been made to bring online a 1 mgy Demonstration Plant expected to be fully operational in summer 2010.

We are patiently working with the State and Federal Governments, but this process is taking more time than expected. Additionally, we are exploring capital investment opportunities with strategic partners. However, until then, you can help our country become energy independent and support our clean air campaign by visiting our website Show your support by contacting congress through our "contact congress" button as well as signing our petition on

View Our Letter to Nevada Senator Harry Reid Below:

Dear Senator Reid:

We have spent considerable time, effort and money in our attempt to bring affordable biodiesel to commercial and government consumers across Nevada and the Southwest United States. At one point we believed this was possible without financial assistance from the U.S. government because, for a brief period, biodiesel was price competitive with traditional petroleum diesel, the public wanted our clean alternative and being “green” was worth something. Today, this is clearly not the case. Even with a $1 per gallon production credit it is difficult to be price competitive and the public cannot afford, and will not, pay more just to be green.

Biodiesel of Las Vegas has gone from being a privately funded pilot project with a production capacity of 4 million gallons per year to an idle producer with a partially complete (70%) large scale commercial plant that has the potential to produce 100 million gallons per year with a fulltime workforce of over 100. We have pursued private capital, institutional lending, U.S. Department of Energy grants and other government assisted programs without success. Unfortunately, there appears to be a gap in federal government assistance when you go beyond innovation and experimentation to commercially viable, yet there is still a huge federal mandate, over 1 billion gallons for annual domestic biodiesel production and use.

We have made a FY11 Department of Defense appropriations request thinking that filling the gap could be supported by the U.S. Air Force, which is the federal government’s largest energy consumer and one of the world’s largest consumers of diesel. The service’s recently released 2010 energy plan stated: “The Air Force is committed to increasing the amount of energy supplies available to enhance our nation’s energy security. Where possible, the Air Force will develop and utilize renewable and alternative energy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The goals and objectives to increase supply target these three areas: aviation fuel, ground fuels, and installation energy.” Additionally, the USAF plan endorses "cooperative development, evaluation, and certification of promising biofuels….” Nellis Air Force Base borders our facility and has purchased our fuel in the past for vehicle use and other installation energy requirements.

Finally, our new rail capacity opens the entire Southwest to the supply of biodiesel with an impressive rail yard served by the Union Pacific (UP) Railroad and a massive tank farm capable of storing over 4 million gallons of various feedstocks and alternative fuels.

Completing the full-scale terminal and refinery would immediately employ over 120 construction workers. With the benefit of ready access to UP’s rail network, completion of our facility would make Biodiesel of Las Vegas the largest producer of biodiesel in the Southwest – with over 100 Nevadans working full-time to meet our local and national energy needs. We need your support.



Biodiesel of Las Vegas

Check out BLV’s Facility Updates and Status Page: HERE