Raimondo Backs Biodiesel Increase in Visit to Newport Company
by Sean Flynn (Newport Daily News) Newport Biodiesel LLC saw a big jump in demand for its product at the beginning of the year when a Massachusetts regulation took effect that requires a minimum 10 percent biodiesel component of all home-heating fuel sold in the state.
“Overnight, it changed the market,” said Blake Banky, president of Newport Biodiesel. “It created demand because the oil industry is our biggest customer.”
The company would like Rhode Island to also increase its current 5 percent minimum requirement to 10 percent, as part of the state’s push to use more alternative energy sources.
State Rep. Deborah Ruggiero, D-Jamestown, who is familiar with Newport Biodiesel operations and all the advantages of biodiesel over petroleum fuel, is willing to sponsor legislation that would match the Massachusetts requirement here.
She and the company management invited Gov. Gina Raimondo to make her first tour of the plant Friday afternoon.
The company was founded in 2006 with four employees and produced 160,000 gallons of biodiesel fuel during its first year. Since then, the company has increased production steadily and now employs 40 people.
Newport Biodiesel now collects used vegetable oil from more than 3,500 restaurants around New England and converts it into more than 7 million gallons of environmentally friendly biodiesel fuel annually.
Massachusetts was the first state in the nation to require biofuel in home-heating fuel, starting at 2 percent in 2010 and ramping up to 5 percent by 2013.
Morton said some distribution companies voluntarily use a larger percentage of biodiesel in their product. T.H. Malloy & Sons, a family-owned energy distributor based in Cumberland, uses 20 percent, he said.
The company has 12 trucks picking up cooking oil waste throughout Rhode Island and Massachusetts, much of Connecticut and southern New Hampshire. The company also buys cooking oil waste from other haulers, Benzak said.
When the cooking grease comes into the local plant, the process begins by removing all particulates and water so that it becomes pure vegetable oil again. Some of the waste products are sent to another plant with an anaerobic digester that gives off a gas used for energy production. Other waste becomes organic fertilizer. READ MORE