News and information about Biodiesel & alternative fuels.


Documenting a Biodiesel Business

If you're interested in finding out what goes on behind the scenes at a small-scale biodiesel business, check out Yokayo Biofuels' weblog at LiveJournal. (newsreader users can subscribe to their feed, too). They're based in Ukiah, California, just a bit north of San Francisco, and supply biodiesel products and services to the Northern California region. From their company site:
"Today's fledgling biofuel industry is a long way from being fully sustainable. It is the goal of Yokayo Biofuels to help this industry evolve and expand, ibncreasing general awareness about fuel alternatives and their production. By keeping our business small scale and local we will be able to focus on empowering individuals, farms, and businesses in our community with the information, equipment, products, and services necessary. We will strive to offer the most sustainable products at the best prices possible."
Recently they've posted a number of insightful entries, revealing some of the difficulties in getting a biodiesel business off the ground:
"Now, every load is delayed, or communication is lost and it's not in the right place, or something happens and I end up calling every supplier in the west. It's a broken record. I've gotten good, high quality fuel for a nice long period now, but I'm tired of running out. One answer is more storage, so we can stock up. We'll certainly work on that. It would be different if direct relationships with producers were easier. They used to be. Now they all want to deal with big petroleum companies."
They also discuss some of the finer details of the various vehicles and components they're using:
"This afternoon, we received shipment of 100 custom-made Viton gaskets that are the appropriate size and shape to replace those annoying rubber ones that keep our filter housings sealed at the top. This is only really meaningful to folks who use our National Spencer ("Zee-Line") filters on their fuel storage. But we have a lot of them out there, and sell more all the time. The rubber gaskets have been a pain in the neck because they swell and make it very difficult to unscrew the housing to change the filter."
On top of all this, they're a closely-knit, family-oriented business:
"Austin's going to show up in a little while to perform his first day of work here. 5 hours. It takes me back to when I started work at my dad's CPA firm when I was around Austin's age. I did data entry. Austin will do mostly cleanup and shop maintenance, as well as filling people up. We'll see how it goes. I work with my wife, my dad, and now my brother."
In blogging all they're going through, they're creating a wonderful biodiesel-related resource on the web. Check 'em out!