What is Biodiesel?
Biodiesel is a renewable, clean-burning diesel replacement that is reducing U.S. dependance on foreign petroleum, creating jobs and improving the environment. Made from a divers mix of feedstocks including recycled cooking oil, soybean oil and animal fats, biodiesel is the first and only EPA-designated advanced biofuel in commerical-scale production across the country. Over two billion gallons of biodiesel were consumed in the US last year.
The Perfect Cinderella Story
From Trash to Treasure
Nearly every restaurant produces waste cooking oil (wco). In years past, the wco was a nuisance to restaurant owners and they actually had to pay companies to pick up and dispose of their wco properly. Today, however, there has been a wco revolution and this trash can now be turned into liquid treasure.
The vast majority of the feedstock (wco) to produce biodiesel is in urban population centers, as these areas are more densely populated with restaurants. The EIA estimates that less than a third of the wco in the US is used for biodiesel production annually. Unfortunately, in most instances this local commodity is being exported out of the community, sending jobs, profits, and resources elsewhere.
Additionally, within these same urban areas, there is a tremendous need to provide employment opportunities for socially marginalized people who have been excluded or even ignored. Unemployment creates burdens on families, schools healthcare systems, law enforcement and the local economy. The B4S licensing model encourages partnerships with non-profits to employ the chronically employed for waste cooking oil aggregation and biodiesel creation.
We believe communities need to be “smart” with their resources. The B4S licensing model keeps a valuable commodity local, which in turn creates local jobs where they are needed most, promotes a sense of community, reduces harmful emissions in the school buses saving the school system money. Communities and municipalities can now help themselves by recognizing existing resources (trash) and harnessing the knowledge to create a new regenerative industry around those resources.
Meet The Founder
“Green” Dean Price
Dean’s journey into Biofuels started on August 30th 2005, that is the day Hurricane Katrina landed on shore in New Orleans. Just 3 days after the hurricane hit, the entire east coast ran out of diesel fuel and the price spiked nearly $3 per gallon. For Dean Price it was a "wake-up" call.
After Hurricane Katrina led to diesel shortages, Price became enamored with the idea of biodiesel. He believed that biodiesel, made from locally-grown crops, could help struggling local farmers, while also avoiding what he believed would be the catastrophic consequences of resource depletion, income inequality and environmental degradation.
In 2009, Price built a refinery that would refine locally-grown canola into biodiesel, which was then sold at Price's truck-stop Red Birch. This was the first establishment of its kind in the country and it attracted the attention of the Obama Administration. This experience was chronicled in the New York Times best selling book and 2013 National Book Award winner entitled "The Unwinding" by George Packer. Unfortunately, Price underestimated mother nature and the amount of crops that would be needed to sustain a constant flow of biodiesel for his truck stop. He knew that biodiesel was still imperative to making Americans less dependent on foreign oil and creating a more sustainable future for our country.
Dean soon realized that there was a large supply of less expensive feedstock within every community at the local restaurants and grocery stores in the form of waste cooking oil. After this a-ha moment Dean realized that, if given the opportunity, the owners of these establishments would much prefer to see their waste oil, which was always viewed as trash, do something good. Price talked to some local restaurant owners about his idea of collecting the waste cooking oil and converting it into biodiesel to fuel the school bus fleets. All of the restaurant owners that he spoke to were very excited to be able to do so much good with what is essentially their trash. By keeping the waste cooking oil local and converting it to biodiesel for school buses, restaurants could help contribute to a a new market that provided local jobs, supported the local economy, improved the air quality for the children on the bus and supported schools without doing anything other than agreeing to let Price collect their oil and convert it into biodiesel. This was the inception of the Biodiesel 4 Schools program.