Normally when we talk about biofuels at Avista, we’re referring to our Kettle Falls, Wash., wood waste biomass plant. In just the last month, the distinction has gotten a little trickier thanks to a very cool project to test biodiesel in some of our trucks while greening our fleet.
Since last month, we’ve been testing biodiesel in four different-sized trucks in Spokane. Early reports show that this clean burning alternative fuel may be a long-term solution for us. This is great news for sustainability in our area.
Avista’s biodiesel is made by Inland Empire Oilseeds (IEO) in Odessa, Wash. It’s being stored locally by Whitley Fuel. IEO produces the biodiesel with oil crushed from Washington-grown canola seeds. Founded in 2006 as a joint effort by Avista, Odessa Union Warehouse, Reardan Grain Growers, and Reardan Seed Company, IEO began refining biodiesel last November. With the installation of its crushing line this summer, it became the first biodiesel company in Washington to fully integrate all production steps into one.
Previously in Spokane, one of the issues for companies wanting to try biodiesel was how to get it on a large scale. Whitley Fuel, with Avista and IEO has set up a station in downtown Spokane to serve the growing need.
Sustainability is a huge factor in play here. According to IEO General Manager Stephen Starr, canola biodiesel returns 4.5 times the energy used to grow and manufacture it, making it a highly sustainable fuel.
Earlier this year we placed solar panels on the roof of our Spokane headquarters building and used the electricity to run our Sun Car that you may have seen about town. The biodiesel project and the Sun Car are the initial steps we’re taking to green our fleet for the environment.
Keep reading this blog for more updates on this on-going project.