NBB member profile: Piedmont Biofuels models backyard-to-big-scale producer

By | August 19, 2009
What started as small-scale, backyard biodiesel production, Piedmont Biofuels LLC in Pittsboro, N.C., is now a 4 MMgy BQ-9000-certified producer. After years focused on small reactor design for making fuel out of waste vegetable oil, Piedmont switched gears and went into commercial production in 2005.

Now, they do it all.

"We make, market and sell biodiesel," states Piedmont Biofuels' Web site. "We consult on setting up biodiesel businesses (plants and stations). We provide fuel maker and lab tech training. We teach classes and workshops on biodiesel and straight vegetable oil. We lobby the N.C. legislature, as well as our national representatives on behalf of biodiesel and renewable energy. We have an internship program that allows people to live on site and learn about all facets of our operations."

Piedmont has a multi-feedstock philosophy. "We have made fuel out of everything from peanut oil to canola oil to sausage waste to poultry fat. We have yet to make fuel from a dead squirrel, but we are working on it."

The plant is currently running waste virgin oils. Waste virgin oil has never been used but is slated to be discarded. For Piedmont, this has included coconut, palm, lemon-infused soy and sunflower.

Piedmont Biofuels is just one example of the wide variety of business models, philosophies and histories at work to support the biodiesel industry and expand use of the renewable, alternative fuel.
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