Ala. workshop to feature producer, user input for fleet managers

By Luke Geiver | July 26, 2011

During a three-hour workshop on the campus of Troy University in Dothan, Ala., tomorrow, anyone with questions regarding biodiesel will have a chance to speak with industry experts and real-life users and producers. For the fourth year in a row, the Alabama Clean Fuels Coalition has partnered with the U.S. Soybean Board’s Checkoff program, providing those interested in learning or promoting biodiesel to fleet operators or municipalities and schools the chance to do so. Mark Bentley, executive director for ACFC, told Biodiesel Magazine, that although previous years have been hindered by pricing concerns and availability of product, this year’s workshop should bring positive and reasonable results.

“We have some major fleets in our state operating on biodiesel,” he said. “Our Alabama Power Company uses biodiesel in all of their vehicles and the Alabama DOT uses biodiesel in certain districts.” In addition to those major fleet users, he also said there is the city of Hoover. According to Bentley, the city of 70,000 people runs more than 88 percent of its state vehicles on alternative fuels, 160 of which use a blend of B20 or higher. All of those numbers, he said, “are quite impressive.”

The Wednesday workshop will consist of three parts, the first providing the participants with a basic biodiesel 101 course, followed by a comprehensive section related to quality biodiesel and the use of ASTM-certified product. “We will bring in producers to discuss that aspect,” Bentley said, including the entire technical process the producers use to secure a quality product. The main producer at the workshop will be Seminole Biodiesel from Bainbridge, Ga.

Nearly 50 people will also have the chance to hear firsthand accounts of fleet operators along with retail stores who’ve succeeded in providing, and profiting from, biodiesel.

In the state of Alabama, Bentley explained, any state group can purchase biodiesel through a state-run negotiated contract that renews every two years. “Everyday a posting is made, a free email is sent out showing the pricing of biodiesel for that day,” he explained, and then those state groups can contact one of eight fuel distributors that cover the entire state to purchase and receive their desired product. While the contract makes biodiesel available to large state-run fleets, many individual companies have also started to go out and secure their own share of biodiesel as well, he said.

During the previous workshop, Alicia Clancy of REG provided an industry update from REG’s perspective. The workshop is free for anyone wanting to attend. Those in attendance will also be provided with a packet of information detailing the topics discussed at the workshop. To register for the workshop, click here


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