As any of you that attended the NBB, the SBS, or the CBCC (how’s that for a mouthful?) biodiesel convention/conferences this past weekend may have noticed that I missed them.
In general, I really don’t care much for conferences….lot’s of glitzy power point presentations with overtrumped figures & facts, tons of bad food, and stuff like that…however, I would’ve really liked to have gone. But, living a dual (ok, triple life) Real Day Job, Biodiesel Biz Job on the side, & Family & other personal obligations, it just wasn’t in the deck of cards this year.
I do have to say that being involved in biodiesel now for over 2 years has taught me some interesting things:
1- If you get involved at all in the “biodiesel homebrewing community”, you get the chance to meet really cool people from all over the world
2- The community grows at an astronomical rate. Blink once & you’ve missed it.
When I first got involved in Biodiesel about 2 years ago no one had even heard of the stuff. I’d tell folks I was involved in Biodiesel & they’d say, “Bio-what?”
So, that first year was usually spent educating folks on what the stuff was….I used to carry a small sample of biodiesel around w/ me all the time
And then Bush uttered “Biodiesel”…..
About a year and a half ago the President of the USA in a speach uttered the words Biodiesel. Now, I don’t know if he even knew what the hell he was talking about, but the fact of the matter was that he actually uttered the word.
From that point on, people started to pay a little more attention to it & the news media caught wind of it. I still had some explaining to do to folks, but at least they knew what the word was…
And then the Oil Companies Gouged The Hell Out Of Us…
Last fall, a little thing called Hurricane Katrina came along and scared the hell out of the US into thinking that we were going to have an Oil Shortage. The oil industry, alway’s one to capitalize on public perceptions & fears (did you know Exxon is the most profitable company in the US? EVER!!!!) and raised the hell out of gas prices.
All of a sudden, biodiesel became incredibly “in vogue”…..my email went crazy, my phone went crazy, EVERYONE (and I do mean every Tom, Dick, & Harry, & all the other wierdo’s) started to get interested in Biodiesel. It was great, but it was also crazy!
All the biodiesel retailers quickly sold out of everything they had in stock (me included….)
We then tried desparately to get new stock in but because of the Hurricane, it threw everything out of wack (I had to wait a good 3 months after that stupid hurricane to get some heaters back in stock. It’s amazing the way mother nature can do things to the economy.)
Which goes to show how fragile our economy is….
I find it interesting to note that the US economy is so fragile. The hurricane really made that evident. Heck, who needs terrorists to screw up the US economy? Just slap us w/ a couple hurricanes & we’re screwed for a few months!
That thing effected more than just gas prices. It effected steel, shipping, consumables, EVERYTHING!!!! (me included).
If there can be anything good to be said about the hurricane, it can be that it raised more awareness of Biodiesel than anything before it. Suddenly I wasn’t “just the wierd guy that burns biodiesel from waste oil in his truck”, I was “That smart guy that saves a ton of money making & burning biodiesel”. It was great and has been.
Anyway, I digress….back to the conferences….I’ve been following the commercial biodiesel industry via online stuff and also through a subscription to Biodiesel Magazine. I am just amazed and astounded to watch this industry grow up so fast in 2 years time. Literally, 2 years ago no one except a few folks out on the net (we were called “wierdo’s” by most folks) even knew what biodiesel was, but now it’s practically a house-hold word. Not bad, especially if you’re in the business…..it’s been good.
So, I guess my wish if I had one would be for the day job to calm down a bit so I could focus more time on the fun part of life: Biodiesel!
I started my business right around the same time that Rick of B100 Supply started his and together we’ve watched the little industry grow. He’s grown immensely while I’ve just hobbled along (mainly because he has a hell of a lot more time to play with than I do–he does it full time now—oh, how I only wish!).
Anyway, dem’s da berries….and life goes on.
Overall, it’s been an incredible rush to watch the industry grow, to be able to participate in it somewhat, and to watch biodiesel become more and more sustainable and viable as an alternative fuel in the US.
I’ve alway’s said (and firmly believe), biodiesel is the ULTIMATE altnernative fuel (and that coming from a conservative Utahn). I think it’s the ultimate fuel because
1) It’s easy to use
– Name me ANY other “alternative fuel” that is so easy to use. To use biodiesel all you do is…get this…pour it in the tank! No modifications, no funky carburators, nothing, just pour it in & go!
Ethanol, Natural Gas, Propane, and even Straight Veggie Oil all require modifications to a vehicle to be able to run it. But not Biodiesel! it’s just so cool!
2) You can easily switch back!
Let’s say your out in the desert and….oh crap! I didn’t bring spare biodiesel along….not to worry. Just pull that rig up to a gas station & pump in diesel fuel! No switches to throw, no modifications to make, nothin! Just mix in the normal petro! To me that’s just cool. It’s what makes biodiesel ubiquitous for me.
3) You can make it yourself fairly easily!
Ever made propane? Nope, me neither. Ethanol? Well, ok, maybe you have but it’s still not all that easy. Natural Gas? (no, 10 burritos from Taco Bell and a few hours later don’t count…sorry)
But biodiesel, now THAT’s easy to make. If you can make a cake, you can make biodiesel. It’s just that simple! That’s just one of the many reasons I love the stuff.
There’s lot’s of other reasons why I’ve become so hooked to the stuff, but suffice it to say I honestly think this is the Ultimate Alternative Fuel and it’s looking like it catching on in a big way!
….now if we can just figure out a way to grow all the feedstock we’re going to need soon….
The Rabid Biodiesel Nut