Selling Biodiesel. Is it worth it?

I get asked all the time what it’d take to sell Biodiesel.

My canned answer is “It ain’t worth it!”.

But, some are persistent and continue to want to know why I feel the way I do.

Well, let’s start from the top…

When I first got into this glorious fuel, I had big dreams of making and selling Biodiesel to people and getting stinking rich (me and every other person that gets into it probably thinks the same thing….)

Well, I spent literally MONTHS researching the possibility of selling bio and in my quest to do so figured I’d be much happier teaching people how to make it themselves and selling them the supplies to do it instead.

Here’s why…
1) Competition.
Everyone AND THEIR DOG wants to sell Biodiesel. As soon as someone discovers they can make the stuff, out come the dollar signs in their eyes and they start wanting to sell the stuff.

For about every 100 people that think it, 1 of them does. And, the ones that do have to fork out a lot of time, money and investment.

Let’s put it this way. The competition is stiff and getting stiffer each day

2) Going Legal is a nightmare!
If you’re going to sell Biodiesel and do it legally (which is the ONLY way I propose you should do it), then my friend, you are up for one heck of a big surprise.

Here’s a few reasons why.
A- Permitting….
So, ya think you wanna make Biodiesel in a residence eh? Well, I bet your zoning and health department don’t want you doing that. The water department would also want to talk to you and, oh yeah, how ya gonna measure out the biodiesel to sell it accurately? In comes the Standard & Weights folks.

How ya gonna tax it? The feds & the state ALWAYS want their fair share of what you sell and Biodiesel is no different.

How bout certifying you’re making ASTM Bio? That ain’t cheap!

Oh yeah, what about registering your fuel with the EPA? You know, because IT’S THE LAW!!! Yep. That’s painful too. Why? Because to do so you’ll be forced to join the National Biodiesel Board because they were the ones that did all the Health & Human Testing on the stuff and hold the proprietary information on it…and because I bet you ain’t got the millions of dollars that it cost them to do the testing yourself.

Now, how about selling it & distributing it? Did you know that your trucks have to be certified? Do you have a DOT Drivers license? Whip out that Drug Screen Test! It’s mandatory folks! So is a DOT physical!

And the list goes on and on and on….

For a view of what Piedmont Biofuels had to do, check out their nightmare…
http://energy.biofuels.coop/2007/01/05/the-permits/

Now, once you have all THAT done, how will you market the fuel? How will you distribute it? How will you ensure that you have enough feedstock and that the feedstock you get will always be consistent?

How will you dispose of all that glycerin? What about storing all that lye and methanol? I bet the fire marshal will have a few things to say about that….

And the list just goes on and on and on…..

So, if you think you’re really up to the task and really want to give it a go, more power to you! But remember, I warned you!

…ok, seriously, if you do want to go legal and want to sell the stuff, I highly recommend a book on how to do it.

It’s called Building a Successful Biodiesel Business and is published by the absolute authorities in Biodiesel in the United States.

Here’s the link to it:
http://www.biodieselbasics.com

I highly recommend it.

So, if you’re still seeing those dollar signs in your eyes, go for it! Just be sure to give me a ring when you need equipment! I’d be happy to hook you up!

-Graydon

About Utah Biodiesel Supply

Utah Biodiesel Supply is an industry leader in offering innovative ways to empower our customers to produce Biodiesel. From free online instructional videos on how to get started making this great renewable fuel to promotional items to help our customers proclaim their energy independence, Utah Biodiesel Supply has it covered. With the widest selection available of Biodiesel equipment, supplies, and promotional items, you're sure to learn something new about Biodiesel every time you visit.

10 comments on “Selling Biodiesel. Is it worth it?

  1. Okay, you got me and I even sent you an e-mail about this very subject. THANK YOU for pointing out the hurdles. So my question is: how are you getting around these same issues on the small scale for personal use then?

  2. Simple…
    We don’t and won’t sell it.
    We use it for personal use only.

    That eliminates all of the commercial aspects of having to deal with the majority of the permits, fee’s, & licenses.

    -Graydon

  3. Thanks for the great post. My hats off to the folks who have jumped through the hoops and sell me biodiesel.

    However, I live in the SouthEast US and used to buy biodiesel (B100) made from poultry fat from processing plants in North Georgia. It was consistently $.15/gallon cheaper than diesel. Unfortunately, companies from China now purchase every bit of rendered poultry fat and pay a processor in Rome, GA to make it into biodiesel and ship it by the container load to China. Now I have to pay a premium for biodiesel produced from virgin soy oil.

    I guess I just need to fork over the dough for a BioPro!

    – Veggie Ranger
    http://www.greasology.org

  4. Obviously judging by your terrible grammar and vocabulary you have no idea what you are talking about. These "hurdles" you mention are a part of any success story. You don't attain wealth as an entrepreneur or any other trade by laying down in the face of taxes, production costs, or even labor. Never be afraid to take chances, or else you'll never succeed.

    PS Maybe try looking at some facts and possibly adding up some numbers because you're way off. Gook luck in the future!

  5. @jtable07
    Well, judging by the fact that the much of the commercial Biodiesel industry in the US has pretty much collapsed this year without the tax incentive in place, I'd say it was and still is pretty good advice (it was written clear back in 2008).

    If you can make it in the commercial Biodiesel industry, more power to you, but I think there are much better financial return on investments for a persons time & money.

  6. Wow, I really DO want to sell the stuff, and despite all of the hurdles, I might still. Coming to this website has saved me a lot of research. This is exactly what I needed to know. Thanks for logging your journey!

  7. Hello, thanks for the great tips. My question for you is do you know any company in SouthEast U.S. who buys Waste restaurant oil from private collector like me? I know it is very difficult to start but I am trying to make a living. Thank you

  8. I would actually contact all of the other collectors in your area & see what they’re paying for oil delivered to their door.
    The other thing I’d check is contacting any local Biodiesel plants & see if they’d be willing to buy your oil as well.

    Here’s a link to oil pricing:
    US Ag Oil Pricing

    The pricing is all in pounds.
    WVO (Waste Vegetable Oil) is Yellow Grease and weighs about 7.56 lbs/gallon.

    Thanks,
    Utah Biodiesel Supply

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