Since July 2011, a renewable energy company has been churning out 3,000 gallons of biodiesel at a test facility in Redwood City. North Star Biofuels hopes to become the leader in biodiesel production, said CEO Jim Levine.
North Star Biofuels and other renewable energy start-ups are seizing the opportunity to help the state lead the nation in reduced greenhouse gas emissions. California’s strict environmental law, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, requires the state to bring its greenhouse gas emissions back to 1990 levels by the year 2020, or a 25 percent reduction.
“About 4 billion gallons of diesel are used in California every year,” Levine said. “Biodiesel could satisfy all the requirements in [AB32] California's greenhouse gas law.”
Additionally, North Star Biofuels is in a position to lead the biodiesel industry with their much more efficient process.
The fuel North Star Biofuels produce—called “b-100”—is made more than 100 times faster than the processes used by their competitors. They will use a sealed system that will collect all waste products internally, and uses no water so they will be no runoff.
This also means no noise, air or water pollution for neighbors.
Ninety-two percent of the animal fat they produce becomes bio-diesel. The rest comes out as glycerin which is sold to be make into soap and other products.
Agri Beef Co. in Idaho will provide the fat used for the bio-diesel. Rick Stott of Agri-Beef In the past the animal fats are sent to Mexico to make soap, and other products.
“[This allows us] to produce something with these products that are environmentally proactive," Stott said. "And it will be processed here in the U.S. It's a win-win all around.”
The company plans to expand with a 19,000-square foot facility in Watsonville, about 65 miles south of Redwood City. This plant will produce about 65,000 gallons a day and put “the city on the map as far as renewable fuels," Levine said.