Today, diesel fuel is dirt cheap. As low as $1.99 at local stations, and that’s including the road tax. It’s easy to forget that when it comes to dependency on fossil fuels,what goes down must come up. And it will.
A community meeting to discuss the benefits of biodiesel will be held at 10 a.m. March 26 at the Boaz Community Center, 17010 State Hwy. 171, Richland Center, and is co-sponsored by the Bring It Home Biofuels Co-op and University of Wisconsin Extension.
Tom Cox, professor at UW-Madison’s department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, will talk about the benefits, history and economics of biodiesel.
Gene Schriefer and Jamie Derr will share their practical experience growing oil seed crops for food grade oil and the on farm use of biodiesel. Schriefer is the UW Extension agent for Iowa County and worked with the Platteville Sunflower Project. Derr farms 400 acres of field crops near Marshall.
SunPower, a Cumberland, WI-based biodiesel producer, has been able to remain price competitive with diesel. But there are a number of common sense reasons to think beyond price.
• We live in an agricultural region, where we can grow and produce our own fuel. Our only alternatives are dependency on oil from the Middle East or dirty domestic energy from tar sands and fracking. Those are not good choices for a community that so highly values self-reliance.
• Biodiesel reduces the emission of cO2 and particulate matter by over 50% compared with diesel. One producer we are familiar with has a major market in the mining industry, where air quality is a huge issue.
• Biodiesel also has mechanical advantages. It cleans out the deposited sludge that diesel leaves in the fuel lines of tractors, pick-ups and other heavy equipment. Jim Small, who farms 350 acres near Wilton, has said, “Biodiesel is easier on the machines, more lube for the engines. You just need a clean tank and a good filter system.”
SunPower will have a supply of B20 biodiesel (a blend of 20% biodiesel with 80% diesel) available for purchase at a discounted rate at the event.
This will be an informal, town hall style meeting. Following the discussion is a break for coffee, a light lunch and some talk among neighbors.
Bring It Home Biofuels Co-op will have its annual meeting after lunch, about 12:15 p.m, wrapping up no later than 1 p.m. The cooperative currently has 40 members including farmers, businesses and drivers of diesel vehicles.