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August 22, 2007
Tacoma News Tribune has nice editorial on Biodiesel
and what it means to Washington to have the largest biodiesel production facility in the nation right here in Washington state.
Grays Harbor biodiesel: Toward a cleaner
Tribune, Tacoma, Wash.
Saturday, August 18, 2007 4:00 AM
too long ago, biodiesel was a novelty. The newly opened Imperium Renewables
plant by Grays Harbor shows that, today, it's
John Plaza, founder of Seattle-based Imperium
Renewables, said the plant "represents a coming of age for the biodiesel
industry." Hard to argue with that. Nine months in construction, it will
soon be producing 100 million gallons a year of the vegetable-oil-based fuel.
massive complex that occupies 12 acres at the Port
of Grays Harbor between Aberdeen and Hoquiam. Its
significance is obvious from its capacity. Last year, the roughly 150
biodioesel plants in America
-- all much smaller than this -- were pumping out a total of about 250 million
gallons. So this single project's output equals 40 percent of that entire 2006
The plant's opening Wednesday was a huge coup for the state of Washington, and particularly for the economically distressed
Grays Harbor area. The region has suffered a
relentless and painful collapse of the timber industry that once supported a
healthy base of high-wage jobs.
Renewables won't make up all the losses, but it will eventually create 60
industrial jobs, sustain many other jobs indirectly and bring a big infusion of
cash to the local economy.
Washington agriculture may also
prove a winner -- though the jury's still out on that question. Imperium has
contracted with a Yakima
Valley farm to supply 1
million gallons of canola oil. But canola oil can come from other places,
and palm oil from overseas is a particularly economical feedstock for biodiesel
plant should be welcomed, not because it is an economic godsend, but because
it's a big stride into a cleaner energy future.
million gallons of biodiesel equals a tenth of all the diesel burned in Washington. And unlike
conventional diesel, which is derived from petroleum, biodiesel comes from the
most renewable of resources -- plants. It generates a quarter of the carbon
dioxide that fossil-fuel diesel does, and the quantity of CO2 it does emit is
recaptured from the atmosphere as the feedstocks grow back.
isn't the energy panacea that will save the earth and wean America from
foreign oil. But it promises to be an important part of what will have to be a
package of alternatives to fossil fuels. As of Wednesday, Washington acquired the nation's single
biggest source of this benign fuel. That's
definitely good for some bragging rights.
Posted by Martin at August 22, 2007 4:18 PM
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