We just completed what I believe to be one of the most successful homebrewering Biodiesel Conferences to date.
A few months back myself and some other folks (who did a heck of a lot more than I did) decided it’d be fun to put together a Biodiesel Conference geared around the issues surrounding biodiesel homebrewing. We wanted to focus on more than just the “Here’s how biodiesel is made, now go home & make some”. No sirree, this conference was going to be different!
From the very start we focused heavily on topics that would be of interest to seasoned biodieselers as well as be of interest to those just getting started.
So, we dug in, threw some things together, and last weekend we had ourselves one of the coolest biodiesel conferences ever held (that I’ve been to anyway).
The conference was held at The Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado.
The sessions were held in Coolbaugh Hall on campus.
We held breakout sessions in several different rooms (I think we had 4 rooms going at once) and discussed a wide variety of topics & subjects held near & dear to the heart of biodieseler’s.
Somehow I got wrangled into presenting about 4 times. Not that I minded. It just meant that folks saw a lot of me.
I did a fun session on Biodiesel 101 where I team taught with Rick Harrison who presented information on his cool new software program & then I taught everyone the basics of biodiesel and together we made a small batch of bio.
I came up with a really cheesy, but highly effective analogy of how a Triglyceride (chemical name for an organic oil) is like a big cement wall with 3 busses hooked to it w/ chains. The busses represented Fatty Acid Chains and the Cement Wall represented the Glycerol portion. Lye or KOH was the bolt cutters and Methanol was a traffic cop or some lame thing like that.
Anyway, it seemed to work and it kept their interest.
On the analogy of things. Fatty Acid Chains are very much like busses. Some are longer than others and some can hold more people than other busses and some are full of people while others have hardly any while other busses are a mixed bag. You now have the beginnings of understanding how Saturation and chain length works on the Fatty Acid chains. Anyway, cheesy, yes.
I also presented on the issue of collecting waste veggie oil and how the permitting is starting to cause problems (in Utah we have that fun pain in the butt Renderer that follows us all over searching for our barrels & turning us into the health department every chance they get….fun I tell ya!).
I then presented on the Biodiesel Community website as well w/ Girl Mark. We team taught (well, ok, more like led the discussion) about what we should do with the online site to expand it some more.
The funnest part of the conference…
1- Sitting on an ACTUAL DIESEL MOTORCYCLE!!!
2- Meeting all the cool people I’ve been interacting with over the years I’ve been involved with Biodiesel. One of my favorite’s was meeting Lyle (BioLyle) Rudensey from the Seattle area. I’ve had nothing but utmost respect for him so it was kind of like meeting one of my mentors in Biodiesel.
Here’s some of the cool people I got to meet while there:
Lyle (BioLyle) Rudensey
Bob Armantrout – Of Rocky Mountain Biodiesel –My new hero!!!
This guy was fascinating to meet. I sat on his every word during his Gas Chromatography presentation. I was spellbound!
See? The guy’s famous!
Steve Fugate – of The Ester Machine
Guy Percella of EZ Biodiesel
Yes, I really did wear that dorky hat all day long.
Rick Harrison – The Software Guy
Girl Mark (although I’ve met her now several times, she’s still cool to interact with)
Gretchen from Biofuels Oasis
Jennifer Radtke from Biofuels Oasis (she’s gonna kill me for this picture)
Maud Essen & Terry – The Methanol Recovery Goddesess
Chris from Peidmont and Full Circle Farms
Danny Lesa from SSI Energy (The BioPro Guys)
(he’s on the left)
John Bush – The Chemistry God!!! (left) & John Musser (right) The Ultimate Know All guy when it came to Colorado School of Mines
Chris, Frankie, & Jon Del Bueno
And then of course there were all the cool processors that came….
The Ester Machine:
The Dynadroit Diesel machine
An Amazing Trailer Mounted rig
There were two “get together parties” at the conference.
One Friday Night, which I missed as my boy celebrated his first Birthday (can’t miss that now) and then one Sat. Evening, which I was able to attend.
Here’s where the Sat. party was at.
Lot’s of…uhm….ethanol inhalation going on….
I, of course, could be seen drinking the Skye Blue Hippie Soda that I found in the fridge. MMmmmm…..organic soda!
Here’s the ride I got to take from the airport to the conference & back:
Can you say “Sewing Machine!”…I swear, my Vanagon feels faster than this thing. It was GUTLESS!
Here’s a ride someone drove from Arizona in…
Of course, there were LOTS of these there…
But my personal favorite…
An Enfield Diesel Motorcycle.
These are the guy’s that brought it there:
DAMN THAT THING WAS COOL!!!!
And, out of coincidence, there was actually even another Mormon there. It was kind of cool!
Overall though the conference was a complete success.
By far my favorite session was the Gas Chromatography section.
Particularly interesting was the slide of a fuel meister that completely & utterly failed the Free & Bound Glycerin tests. It was great to see! I clapped….everyone looked….they wondered why….I didn’t care.
I also enjoyed the quality session and the methanol recovery sessions.
We really did have a lot of fun and I met a ton of people.
Thanks to all my great customers that came up to me & said hello too. It was wonderful putting faces with names. Now when I send you a widget to some far off place I’ll smile as I apply your shipping label as I’ll remember who you are.
I thoroughly enjoyed putting the conference together, participating, and being “That booming voice telling everyone that it was now time to go to the next workshop”….
That and the hippie soda. It was pretty good stuff.
I met a ton of people, got a ton of great idea’s for product, got to talk about my new BioPro toy, and in general had a heck of a fun time.
I highly recommend it! Here’s hoping we do another one next year!
The Rabid Biodiesel Nut