Biodiesel nuts in the news

Our local paper, the News & Observer, ran a story today about the status of alternative fuels in the Triangle area and yours truly is mentioned as one of the local “biodiesel nuts” :) … I wish Bull City Biodiesel got a bit more credit for providing 1000 gallons of biodiesel a month to Durham. But at least Piedmont gets good exposure.

Fill-up stations offering a mix of petroleum and high amounts of ethanol, fuel from fermented plant material, can be hard to find. Biodiesels — fuels made from plant and animal fats sometimes, mixed with petroleum — are scattered here and there, known mainly to devotees. One provider of nearly pure biodiesel has a limited number of pump stations accessible only at set hours and only to members of a cooperative.

A few people, including Jurgen Henn, have succeeded in driving off the gasoline grid entirely.

Once a week, Henn walks from his Duke University office in Durham’s Brightleaf District to collect plastic jugs of used cooking oil that three local restaurants save for him.

In his basement at home in Bahama, Henn blends methanol and potash with the discarded grease in a biodiesel reactor built with plumbing parts and a water heater. When his diesel Volkswagen Jetta runs low on fuel, he just pours in his home brew.

“I try to limit the amount of fossil fuel I use. We need to save that stuff as much as we can for our kids and for their kids,” said Henn, a Duke University computer network specialist.

Others buy their biodiesel from a local manufacturer, the Piedmont Biofuels Cooperative. Beth Grabowski, an art professor at UNC-Chapel Hill, is one of 400 members of the co-op. She fills her car with 99.9 percent petroleum-free biodiesel at a pump on Carrboro Public Works property, one of seven co-op pumps in the Triangle. The fuel comes from a reactor the co-op runs in Chatham County that now produces about 1 million gallons of biodiesel a year.

Triangle’s fuel choices are few, News & Observer, Feb 22, 2007

One Response to “Biodiesel nuts in the news”

  1. Agbessi Says:

    congrats on appearing as Mr Homebrew in the Observer!!!!