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New 2M-Gallon/Year Plant Produces Biodiesel from Recycled Veg Oil

To help replace petroleum-based fuels and oil heating systems


A greenfield biodiesel facility in western Massachusetts began production this month using recycled vegetable oil from restaurants and caterers.

The worker- and consumer-owned cooperative, Northeast Biodiesel, will help replace petroleum-based fuels and oil heating systems.

Northeast Biodiesel closed on $1.3 million in start-up loans, allowing the factory to commence operation, according to Sam Bartlett, chair of the company’s board of directors.

The company held a Grand Opening on Oct. 1 to celebrate the achievement, after years of extraordinary effort, fund raising and patience to get the plant operational.

Under the leadership of general manager Rick Durepo, a seasoned chemical plant manager, and Dale Bourbeau, a talented plant operator, every inch of tank, pipe, pump and sensor was combed through to get the processor up and running.

“This is a feel-good product for the environment,” said Durepo. “It’s sustainable; it’s the right thing to do.”

Lynn Benander, president of Northeast Biodiesel, said it plans to produce almost two million gallons of biodiesel a year in the near term and more beyond that.

“[The fuel] cuts down the particulate matter, so less air pollution and cuts down the carbon emissions by 75% to 80%," Benander said.

Launch financing included $500,000 from MassDevelopment, $650,000 from The Life Initiative community investment fund, $75,000 from the Franklin County Community Development Corp., $75,000 from the Local Enterprise Assistance Fund (LEAF), and $64,000 from the Cooperative Fund of New England.

Common Good, a nonprofit non-bank financial institution for community empowerment; Rudolf Steiner Foundation, a donor-advised fund; and 104 local lenders and investors provided earlier contributions.

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