Research has shown (University West Virginia) community-based biodiesel production models maximize economic benefit for communities while making use of the full environmental benefit of a local, renewable alternative to ULSD. Local, Sustainable Biodiesel identifies and takes advantage of a local renewable resource or waste stream and creates a alternative fuel product that can be dropped into existing infrastructure, fleets and consumer vehicles. In addition to burning cleaner and, in turn preserving air quality and community health, this local biodiesel diverts community spending from a primarily international product (ULSD) to a locally produced one.
While all biodiesel is a cleaner -burning alternative to petroleum-based fuels, not all biodiesel is local. Not all biodiesel is sustainably produced and not all biodiesel is produced with the best interest of the community in mind. Local biodiesel production, distribution and sale can create jobs, stimulate local economies and improve and protect community air quality. Dollars that would have otherwise been paid to multi-national corporations, for a product produced and controlled over seas are immediately diverted to local businesses within the production and distribution chain.
Through independent third party certification, the Sustainable Biodiesel Alliance aims to strengthen the market for a sustainably produced, local biodiesel. This certification would identify the use of local feedstock, local production and community-scale distribution to encourage consumers to prefer a local, sustainably produced product.
The Case For Certification
The biodiesel market has been lacking a method of analyzing and identifying the life-cycle effects of biofuels on carbon emissions and other environmental indicators – until now.
Recognizing the need for objective environmental standards to measure the overall sustainability of producing and using biodiesel, the Sustainable Biodiesel Alliance (SBA) has created a certification process for evaluation and branding of biodiesel production. Independent auditors across the country will use tools adapted from the SBA’s established Baseline Practices for Sustainability to objectively evaluate the feedstock providers, producers, distributors and end users of biodiesel. Kelly King, chairperson of the SBA, had this to say, “We are dedicated to providing consumers with the information they need to make informed choices, and we are confident that the public wants to support locally-sourced, low-carbon fuels. Smarter consumers can mean a big boost for U.S. agriculture and local economies, as well as for the environment.”
The SBA was founded in December 2006 to advance the production and use of community-based biodiesel with the recognition that locally produced biodiesel offers maximum environmental, economic and energy security benefits. The new Sustainable Biodiesel Certification standards will focus on evaluating the following environmental aspects: locally harvested feedstock crops that reduce transportation impacts, sustainable manufacturing operations at the production phase, reduced transportation impacts of distributors, and recognition of end users for reducing overall carbon footprint.