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RE: biofuels production best practices information request (served with a very small side of rant) - swag available for good work



In Virginia we put together a regulatory primer for biodiesel producers.  It is not strong on P2 but focuses on regulatory compliance stuff plus a short section on health and safety and other (taxes, business assistance) aspects.  While Virginia-centric, it points to some federal requirements and somewhat generic concerns across media. Some of the references in it may also be useful for your purposes.

Virginia Biodiesel Environmental Compliance Primer  http://www.deq.virginia.gov/osba/pdf/VDEQBiodieselPrimer2008.pdf



Small-Scale Biodiesel Production: Safety, Fuel Quality, and Waste Disposal Considerations


This is a Virginia Tech Extension publication put together largely by folks from VA Tech and James Madison University oriented toward small-scale producers. I can put you in touch with a couple of the authors if that is of interest.


Virginia Clean Cities had a series of workshops on biodiesel fuel quality, including best practices.  Presentations and references (technical and business aspects) are available via http://www.hrccc.org/biodiesel/fuelqualityseminars.html

[Al and Chelsea--anything to add on the request below regarding biodiesel production best practices? Rick Yoder from the Pollution Prevention Regional Info Center in Nebraska posted the query below to the P2TECH listserve.]


Virginia Tech put together some materials and references for what appears to be an online course at http://www.filebox.vt.edu/users/lschwei/basicbio.htm --The NREL and van Gerpen references may be useful.


You may wish to contact John Dunn Dunn.John@epamail.epa.gov 913-551-7594 , NPDES person with EPA Region 7, who has worked on biodiesel production stuff in your region and has developed some materials on byproduct management. He also has contacts with the National Biodiesel Board.



There are various stories of fires and fish kills from improper disposal.  I think biodiesel has an important role but I’m worried about a lot of mom-and-pop amateurs without proper EHS training handling barrels of methanol or even trying to do a good thing by redistilling methanol—some potential for someone poisoning or blowing up themselves and their neighbors.






Rodney Sobin

(ex-Office of Innovative Technologies, ex-Office of Small Business Assistance—budget casualties)
Office of Remediation Programs (pretty darn far from P2)

Virginia Department of Environmental Quality
P.O. Box 1105, Richmond, VA 23218-1105

Street:  629 E. Main St., Richmond, VA 23219-2429
Tel. 804-698-4382       fax 804-698-4264 


DEQ Innovative Technology http://www.deq.virginia.gov/innovtech

DEQ Distributed Energy Resources http://www.deq.virginia.gov/innovtech/der1.html


-----Original Message-----
From: owner-
p2tech@great-lakes.net [mailto:owner-p2tech@great-lakes.net] On Behalf Of Rick Yoder
Friday, June 06, 2008 1:08 PM
To: P2Tech@great-lakes.net; ENV-HEALTH-GENERAL@LISTSERV.CDC.GOV; p2r7@p2ric.org; P2 Listserv; envneb@p2ric.org; roundtable@great-lakes.net
Cc: James W Grafton
Subject: biofuels production best practices information request (served with a very small side of rant) - swag available for good work


Hi, all - apologies for cross posting - please forward to any who might have pertinent info and a willingness to share.  Are you someone who "will work for swag?"  Swag rewards described below.

We've been working off and on to gather the best current information for best practices in the corn ethanol side of biofuels production.  But we just received a request for the best practices in biodiesel production.   We could use your help in identifying the your favorite information sources on the subject of biodiesel production.  One of the things we've learned is that this is a batch process that  can be done with a minimal level of expertise, and is suitable for the do-it-yourselfer.  Quality of fuel is definitely variable.  A competent DIY effort can grow by adding tanks, and soon a small business is born.  Stories now accumulating on backyard biofuel production fires (most recent:  http://www.newswatch50.com/news/local/story.aspx?content_id=c7b78220-e924-4836-a24b-293c740de6db  ) and increasing cooking grease barrel thievery.  Just the kind of growth that could use a list of best practices.  Appreciate any help you can offer on this.

We are further along with information for corn ethanol production.  If you are willing, we'd love your editing to improve the information we already have for corn ethanol production.  I have attached a draft document of resources we have vetted, and linked to our copy in a wiki format so that you can edit it on the fly for others to see. [RANT: I am of the opinion that the greatest opportunity for greening ethanol now lies with producers greeing their supply chain - applying pressure for grain producers to incorporate the best practices that extension has been touting for years.  I'm not going to get into ag production systems impact too much, but simply note that many of my neighbors (and, sadly, even relatives) have been knocking down miles long rows of trees and brush you know as windbreaks (a.k.a. shelter-belts) to create more room to grow grain.  Ahem.  Nebraskans used to proudly call themselves the Treeplanter State.  I guess it's part of the ethic of making hay while the sun shines.]  

We are finding out some fun things related to ethanol production - such as the fact that the FDA has expressed concern about the antibiotics used to adjust the mix of the fermentation tanks in a process where a byproduct (distillers grains) becomes feed for cattle and therefore part of our food chain.  Also, spilled ethanol left in the ground for a while becomes a safety hazard due to a potential to explode.  Always an adventure working in this field.  

If you can help with ethanol, the wiki entry is here:  http://lib.wmrc.uiuc.edu/p2rx-wiki/index.php/Ethanol_refinery_best_practices
If you would rather comment on a more traditional document format, you can request the draft best practices for ethanol production  from P2RIC student staff member  jgrafton@unomaha.edu He will also be the best point of contact for suggested resources you want to make directly to us.  And, he is the keeper of the swag.

Swag offer:  If you offer us a best practice reference or resource for ethanol production we do not already have and which we add to the draft best practices, we will send you a very cool P2RIC mug.  We don't have much information collected for the biodiesel production, so the best ten P2 resources collected and used in a new draft and wiki for biodiesel will also be offered a mug. These mugs do more than just hold your beverage of choice, they also remind you to "Fight Waste".  To look at your reward for making a meaningful contribution to the ethanol Best Practices List follow this link http://www.p2ric.org/measurement/merchandise.cfm  

thanks in advance for your help.



PS: I know, all of this is on the heels of this week's UN Food Conference. We're looking at improving these processes, not on arguing the merits of the use of ag-land for fuel production.  I acknowledge the issue in advance.  It used to be said that modern agriculture is the practice of turning petroleum into food.  now it's morphed into the practice of turning food into petroleum.

Richard Yoder, PE
Director, P2ric.org
University of Nebraska at Omaha
6001 Dodge Street, RH308
Omaha, NE 68182
fax: 402-554-6260



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Regional Information Center, is
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