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November 7, 2003

Metro Denver Opens First Retail Biodiesel Fueling Station – Supplied by Blue Sun Biodiesel and Shoco Oil

Biodiesel Production Could Boost Colorado’s Rural Economy

COMMERCE CITY, Colo., Nov. 6 /PRNewswire/ — Trucking fleets, school districts and diesel vehicle owners in the metro Denver area will soon have a convenient local source of biodiesel, a renewable vegetable oil-based fuel that could produce significant new revenues for regional farmers. Blue Sun Biodiesel and Shoco Oil, Inc., announced the grand opening of Denver’s first retail biodiesel fueling station to take place on Friday, November 14th at Shoco Oil, 5135 E. 74th Avenue in Commerce City.

Explaining the decision to begin offering biodiesel at Shoco Oil, third- generation oil company co-owner Becky Hohnstein said, “This is going to be the way of the future. We see this as a chance to give back to the agricultural community that has been our customer base for over fifty years. We want to support the local economy, and the environmental benefits are very important to us as well.” Hohnstein points out that more than two million gallons of diesel is burned in Colorado every day.

Blue Sun Biodiesel, which will be supplying Shoco Oil, is developing regional farmer cooperatives to produce biodiesel feedstock from crops adapted to arid high plains growing conditions. Blue Sun Biodiesel president and CEO Jeff Probst says, “Planted in rotation with winter wheat, oilseed crops for biodiesel can provide additional revenue streams for local farmers and keep energy dollars here in our local communities where they belong.” There are 5.6 million acres of dryland winter wheat in the region, and if these oilseed crops were added to the rotation, it could bring farmers an additional $280 million in revenues per year. Blue Sun Biodiesel is currently recruiting growers for commercial cultivation of biodiesel feedstock on up to 60,000 acres for the spring of 2004.

“As a domestic source of energy that reduces harmful emissions and greenhouse gases, biodiesel will help us reduce our dependence on foreign oil while at the same time improving our health and environment. Blue Sun’s biodiesel brings more benefits to us here in Colorado, as Blue Sun uses oilseed crops grown in our state to make the vegetable oil. Helping our rural economy even as we increase domestic energy production makes good sense to me. I’m excited about Blue Sun’s new outlet in Denver — it will help increase awareness about biodiesel’s benefits, help improve Colorado’s air quality, and strengthen Colorado’s economy,” said Rep. Mark Udall (D-CO), co-chair of the House Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus, and who is a proponent of alternative fuel use as part of a balanced national energy plan. Udall was unable to attend the event due to commitments in Washington, DC.

Colorado Farm Bureau President Dr. Alan Foutz, who will be speaking at the Denver opening, says that farmers are looking for new entrepreneurial opportunities and biodiesel crop production is a good example. “What drives new innovations is the economics, and the agricultural industry is also looking for ways to help the country reduce its dependence on foreign oil.”

Tom Potter, a consultant for the Colorado Office of Energy Management and the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, believes that renewable energy production has the potential to revitalize the rural economy in Colorado because of its “community economic multiplier” effect. “One thousand small Colorado farms disappeared because of economic losses last year,” he says. “And 80% of our ten billion dollar state energy bill goes to out-of-state vendors. We want to see if we can get a piece of that eight billion dollar pie for ourselves.”

Meanwhile, Shoco Oil co-owner Scott Hohnstein says he has been looking for a quality biodiesel source for over a year, and he is glad to have it available for his customers. “We will be selling Blue Sun biodiesel because of its technical advantages: EPA-mandated reductions in sulfur have made today’s diesel a very ‘dry’ fuel. Instead of chemical additives, we’ll be using biodiesel to increase the lubrication, and we get environmental benefits at the same time. Biodiesel cleans the fuel system, and it also has a cetane rating equivalent to our top-of-the line premium petroleum diesel. That means superior engine performance. ”

Biodiesel is a renewable fuel made from vegetable oil, and offers significant health and environmental advantages over petroleum diesel, reducing particulate emissions, greenhouse gases, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons. Producing biodiesel uses one unit of fossil energy and yields 3.2 units, giving it a higher energy balance than petroleum fuels or ethanol. Biodiesel can be used in existing diesel engines without modification.

 

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