Last night I was fortunate to view a screening of Revolution Green: A True Story of Biodiesel in America at the Hollywood Theatre. Directed by Stephen Strout, the film captures our moment in history when a civic minded entrepreneur in a remote place can create a model industry with national impact by finding a solution to disposal of a local waste product.
Bob King is a diesel mechanic by trade, and in 1996, Bob began diverting waste vegetable oils from a local landfill on the island of Maui, Hawaii to produce a diesel alternative. His business model involves local suppliers of the waste oil and local sales of the product. Since then Pacific Biodiesel has opened 10 plants on the mainland, including the SeQuential- Pacific Biodiesel Plant in Salem. The Salem plant can produce 1million gallons of biodiesel annually using recycled cooking oil from Salem based Kettle Foods as the main ingredient. This particular storyline trumpets the beauty of biofuel, but more importantly, the importance of taking a personal interest in our fuel economy.
Revolution Green painted a positive picture of the future for biofuels, local economies, the farming and trucking industries. To be fair, biofuels are not a panacea for the environmental impacts of consuming natural resources for transportation, but it does have benefits, not the least of which is reducing the heavy cost and risks associated with producing and moving fossil fuel.
As a city employee, this film made me proud to be an administrator for the City of Portland Renewable Fuel Standards, and proud of my city’s commitment to developing transportation options.
To learn more about the film and biofuel production in Oregon, visit the websites below:
Bureau of Development Services
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