Biodiesel Spreadsheets to Help Analyze Profitability

John Davis

agmrc1Biodiesel producers won’t have to fly blind when trying to decide if an operation will be profitable or not.

Biodiesel Magazine reports the Ag Marketing Resource Center, an online center hosted by Iowa State University Extension Service, is offering biodiesel profitability spreadsheets:

“We put together what we think is a ballpark or typical biodiesel plant in Iowa to give an overview where the industry is going,” explained Don Hofstrand, co-director of the AgMRC, .

The biodiesel profitability spreadsheet plugs in the figures for a hypothetical 30 MMgy biodiesel plant based in Iowa including fixed and variable costs and product prices. With the launching of the spreadsheet, the Iowa-based prices for biodiesel, soybean oil, methanol and natural gas will be updated monthly. “We don’t do monthly updates for glycerin because we couldn’t find a good data series for glycerin in Iowa,” Hofstrand said. He was a bit surprised to see how small of a factor glycerin was in the overall biodiesel profitability analysis, he added.

You can download the Biodiesel Profitability Chart at and see for yourself how the Excel spreadsheet can plug in a plant’s actual fixed and variable costs and efficiencies and see how those play out.