|By KEVIN WALKER
WEBBERVILLE, Mich. - Michigan Biodiesel chairman John Oakley announced that his group has procured enough money to build a large biodiesel plant in Michigan.
“We are going to build at least a 5 million gallon biodiesel facility,” Oakley said. “Our preferred site is Bangor, Mich.”
Bangor is located about 20 miles west of Kalamazoo.
Oakley said the envisioned facility will be able to process any “green oil.” Green oils include tallow, recycled restaurant grease, chicken fat and lard as well as soybean oil.
Oakley announced his intentions at the Sept. 23 event at MBH Trucking, south of Webberville. Michigan Biodiesel is a limited liability company composed of farmers and other groups.
The announcement was part of Biodiesel Day, in which soy diesel was distributed to area farmers.
The farmers bought the soy diesel, which could then be mixed with petroleum diesel for tractors and other farm machinery.
This promotional effort is part of a push to help farmers comply with ultra-low sulphur requirements the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established for off-road use, due to take effect next year.
“The mandate is there,” Oakley said. “It’s for construction, for anything off-road.”
The idea behind the event was also to convince big companies to use biodiesel to achieve compliance with the ultra-low sulphur mandate, Oakley said.
“Biodiesel can be used economically, but not everybody understands what biodiesel is,” said Roger Betz, MSU Extension farm management educator.
The mixture, called B20 soy diesel, provides lubrication that regular petroleum diesel can’t provide, Betz said.
“Farmers are supporting their own industry,” Oakley added. “If we didn’t have all the biofuels, where would the price of fuel be? Those fuels keep feeding American people.”
The Michigan State University (MSU) Extension, the Eli Broad College of Business, Michigan Department of Energy and Michigan Biodiesel sponsored the event. Funds for the event were also obtained through the Michigan Biomass Energy Program, part of the Michigan Dept. of Labor and Economic Growth.