New Washington Biodiesel Plant Forms Partnership

John Davis

Earlier this week, I told you how Washington state-based Inland Empire Oilseeds had finished work on its canola-crushing facility to feed its biodiesel operation at the Odessa, Washington plant. Now it looks like the biodiesel brewer has a local utility to help prove the worth of its green fuel.
This press release from Avista Corp.
says the energy company is partnering with IEO and Whitley Fuel to test biodiesel on four service trucks in an ongoing effort to “green its fleet” by being more energy and fuel efficient:

Avista began testing the use of the B20 blend of biodiesel in two flatbeds, a line truck and a bucket truck in August. Biodiesel does not require conversion of vehicles to use, and it typically costs a few cents more per gallon than regular diesel fuel. Produced with renewable resources, it is biodegradable and significantly reduces air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions.

“This project is part of Avista’s culture of environmental stewardship and our ongoing efforts to reduce our own energy consumption,” Roger Woodworth, Vice President of Sustainable Energy Solutions for Avista, said.

Inland Empire Oilseeds in Odessa, Wash. produces the biodiesel with oil crushed from Washington-grown canola seeds. Founded in 2006 as a joint effort by Avista, Odessa Union Warehouse, Reardan Grain Growers, and Reardan Seed Company, IEO began refining biodiesel last November. With the installation of its crushing line this summer, it became the first biodiesel company in Washington to fully integrate all production steps into one.

“The fact that we process canola grown in our local region and ship our biodiesel as well as our high protein meal to customers in Washington and Oregon not only keeps our costs low, but it also reduces the carbon footprint of our product,” said Stephen Starr, General Manager. Starr added that canola biodiesel returns 4.5 times the energy used to grow and manufacture it, making it a highly sustainable fuel.

The test is part of a larger green initiative by the utility that also includes some electric-powered vehicles.