Propel Biofuels Ready for Seattle Assault

John Davis

Propel BiofuelsIn what is being compared to a military assault, Seattle-based Propel Biofuels is ready to launch its offensive to sell biodiesel in the Pacific Northwest.

This article in the Seattle Times sets the scene:

The makeshift headquarters of Propel Biofuels looks a bit like an Allied war room before D-Day.

A map of Seattle and its environs teems with pins — potential sites for the company’s green-and-white biodiesel pumps. Most of the pins mark well-established gasoline stations that sell traditional petroleum-based fuels. By striking deals to sell biodiesel there, Propel executives think they can overcome the retail-distribution obstacles that so far have kept it an alternative fuel for a small circle of green devotees.

The invasion is about to begin, with the company’s first two pumps opening in mid-October.

“We’re not asking customers to radically change their behavior” in order to buy biodiesel, Propel founder Rob Elam said.

Elam might be the right man in the right place at the right time as the area is becoming a biodiesel mecca with the nation’s largest biodiesel plant, Imperium Renewables’ Gray Harbor facility… a 100-million-gallon-a-year refinery… in the neighborhood. And he might just have the winning attitude to make it all work:

Elam believes the secret to success is to make biodiesel visible and convenient. His team has talked to more than 100 gas-station owners on the West Coast, seeking arrangements to install pumps. “Generally the response is very enthusiastic,” Elam said. “We don’t ask them to have any hassle.”