Springboard, Pinnacle help schools finance biodiesel processors

By Bryan Sims | January 10, 2012

Chico, Calif.-based small-scale biodiesel processing unit manufacturer and supplier Springboard Biodiesel LLC has tapped Tacoma, Wash.-based small business lender Pinnacle Capital to help facilitate unique finance mechanisms for public and private educational institutions that seek to implement small-scale biodiesel production programs on their campuses.

Springboard Biodiesel’s trademarked BioPro biodiesel processing units are currently used by 59 colleges and universities across the nation and, according to Springboard Biodiesel CEO Mark Roberts, all are able to capture and convert used cooking oil generated from their cafeterias—or “captive kitchens”—into biodiesel at a cost of less than $1 per gallon.

According to Roberts, Pinnacle Capital is an experienced privately-owned mid-market lender that has done business with schools in the past financing other pieces of equipment such as vehicles, buses and even things as mundane as floor washing units.

“[Pinnacle Capital] understands the school system and its credit structure,” Roberts told Biodiesel Magazine. “Instead of the school having to write us a large check up front to get all the benefits of a biodiesel program, they can now enter into essentially a lease or financing program with Pinnacle Capital where they pay monthly over the course of three or five years, depending on what they want to do.”

Recognizing that many universities and high schools are financially-strapped with more in queue to make budget cuts this year, Springboard Biodiesel’s partnership with Pinnacle now provides schools with an available finance option that allows affordable purchasing options for its BioPro processors.

“From the perspective of a school, now you don’t necessarily need to put this into a capital expenditure budget,” he said. “Now, you can actually use your operating budget to cover the cost of this and it might be an easier logistic process within the school administration.”

Educational institutions are a target customer base for Springboard, Roberts said, primarily because the vast majority of them have or are in the process of implementing some form of internal sustainability goal to reduce their carbon footprint over a specified period of time.

“By supplanting diesel with biodiesel, they’re only going to get there that much quicker,” Roberts said. “This [partnership with Pinnacle Capital] is an accelerator to another strategic initiative that they already have in place.”

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