Two biodiesel projects have garnered $150,000 worth of state grants from the Colorado Agricultural Value Added Development Board… a branch of the state’s Department of Agriculture.
Biodiesel Magazine reports the Advancing Colorado’s Renewable Energy… or ACRE… grants will actually help three facilities:
In partnership with Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colo., the International Center for Appropriate and Sustainable Technology (ICAST) in Lakewood, Colo., was awarded $100,000 to assist with the implementation of two farm-scale oilseed crushing and biodiesel production facilities. According to Raphael Shay, sustainability project manager for ICAST, one of the facilities will be at a feedlot in Stratton, Colo. “By producing meal with the oilseeds, we can actually make the project viable,” he said. “The biodiesel in this case is the coproduct. We’re hoping to use this as a demonstration project so that other producers see how it can be done.”
The facility is expected to be operational this summer and will produce 100,000 gallons of biodiesel per year. The glycerin byproduct might be diluted with wastewater and sprayed onto fields, or it might be used as a feed additive.
Shay said the location for the second facility hasn’t been finalized, but it might be built at the USDA Agricultural Research Service’s Central Great Plains Research Station in Akron, Colo. There, dryland canola and camelina oilseeds from test fields would be crushed for use as a straight vegetable oil fuel or converted into biodiesel to be used in research center tractors. Students from the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colo., will design and build the oilseed fuel operations at the research center. Shay said students from the University of Denver are expected to work on a model business plan for farm-scale biodiesel production facilities for ICAST.
“Speaking with producers, one of the problems that we found [often] is the very unstable price of fuel, which makes it really hard for them to plan whether their farms will be viable or not,” Shay said. “By producing biodiesel with on-farm crops, we therefore isolate the producers from price variability.”
Colorado State University’s Golden Plains Area Extension Service received the second ACRE grant. A $50,000 research grant will be used to evaluate how energy crops should be rotated on northeastern Colorado dryland farms.
The article goes on to say that ICAST has been taking a mobile biodiesel demonstration unit… called Big SID (Seeds Into Diesel)… around Colorado and Wyoming, teaching farmers and ranchers how they can make their own biodiesel on the fam.