Friday, June 13, 4:30PM - Carolina Biodiesel Initiates Biofuel Production: Kick-off
Carolina Biodiesel is holding a party to celebrate its recent scale-up to commercial-level production of biofuel from waste vegetable oil. Manager Marc Dreyfors is inviting the public to a pot-luck dinner party at the Green Oil Campus on the evening of Friday, July 13. The event, featuring food, live music, and educational presentations about biofuels, will begin with site tours at 4:30 pm, followed by drinks, dinner, and presentations.
The party celebrates the start-up of a new "Cavitator" reactor, which will enable continuous production of commercial quantities of biofuel - a sustainable alternative to petroleum for diesel-powered vehicles. Up until now, Carolina Biodiesel has sold biodiesel fuel produced by Piedmont Biodiesel, a Pittsboro-based partner organization. Initial production runs at the Durham site will be in the range of 1000 gallons/week, but are slated to increase to 3000 gallons/week in coming months, as more capacity is added to the plant, according to Barry Jones, the site's fuel production manager. Mr. Jones says that the cavitational reactor system is unique, in that it produces a constant flow of product, as well as higher-quality fuel, as compared to the traditional batch method of production. This system will save time and resources.
With the opening of the reactor, Carolina Biodiesel will join the ranks of a small handful of pioneers in the alternative fuels movement in the North Carolina region. The organization has served until this point as a distributor of sustainable fuels at for local businesses and for personal use by the members of the Bull City Cooperative, from its location on the Green Oil Campus in Durham. The beginning of production will not mean cheaper fuel (as all commodity prices are heading north), but a local producer will be an invaluable resource, as another foothold for the Biofuels revolution in the Southeast region.
About the EcoLounge
The party will also inaugurate a large warehouse space being renovated at the former petroleum distribution site for environmental education and social events. "The EcoLounge" -- as the space has been dubbed -- will be the site of periodic Friday night "enviro-edutainment events" and Saturday afternoon workshops beginning in June, sponsored through The Forest Foundation, which is Carolina Biodiesel's non-profit partner organization.
Details of the Party
The potluck dinner event on June 13th will begin at 5:30 pm with drinks and hors d'oeuvres made from locally-grown food, immediately after the site tour. It will be a family-friendly event, with pedi-cab rides and other activities for children. Music, dancing and other activities will follow, lasting until midnight. Guests are asked to bring a dish to share. There will be local beer provided by Raleigh-based Big Boss Brewing Company, but guests are invited to bring their own to share. Non-alcoholic drinks and other light fare donated from area restaurants will be provided as well.
Those who need help with transportation can arrange by calling or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to be picked up by the "Biobus," a biofuel mini-bus operated by sister organization Greenway Transit, a green transportation company which is run exclusively on human power and biofuels.
About the Site
Other enterprises based at the site include sister organization Forests of the World - a fair trade company, My Taller -- a Hispanic mechanics shop, and YIKES! a new non-profit youth organization. The Green Oil Campus, as the Durham headquarters location is called, was born when Carolina Biodiesel leased the old Exxon-Mobil/Standard Oil Fuel Depot on Angiers Avenue a year ago from Orange Recycling, a local commercial recycler running its fleet on biodiesel. The site has since then been in a process of conversion from an unsustainable, polluting paradigm into a pioneering biofuels distribution point and a community center for environmental education. The mission of Carolina Biodiesel is to be a leader in the movement to transform our society from a fossil-fuels-based system to one based on sustainable, carbon-neutral, environmentally friendly alternatives.
Unlike some other varieties of alterative fuels, biodiesel does not require the diversion of agricultural products from food to fuel production. In fact, it can be made directly from waste vegetable oil produced by restaurants and other industries. It yields significantly less carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, particulates, sulfate than petroleum diesel, and is non-toxic and biodegradable, so it is more benign to our natural world. The biodiesel movement sprang out of a network of do-it-yourself homebrewers and hobbyists. More information on biodiesel and the sustainability movement is available here.