September 2012 Meeting Recap – Northwest Michigan BiodieselOur featured entrepreneur at our September potluck meetings was Bill Koucky. Bill introduced us to his upstart firm, Northwest Michigan Biodiesel, a business operating in Grand Traverse County, Michigan. The company is producing ASTM 5761 quality biodiesel and edible canola oil, in the Traverse Bay area, for local and state consumption from locally grown feedstocks. NW Michigan Biodiesel was opened in the fall 2010 to produce biodiesel on the scale of 50,000 gallons per year, initially produced from various feedstocks but with the primary goal of using locally grown canola oil marketed as food grade fryer oil and recycled restaurant oil for the biodiesel operation.
The company continues to develop in two separate tracks or phases occurring simultaneously. The first track is the crush pilot plant to process raw oilseeds. The second part of the plan is to build a small biodiesel plant and establish the collection of recycled oil from local restaurants. This plan insures sustainability while avoiding typical commodity risks in an uncertain agricultural marketplace.
The goal is a closed loop production model for food and fuel, with spent grains and animal wastes returned to the land. In addition, the alcohol needed in the processing of the diesel is to be produced on site with waste fruit products available in the area.
The company will be looking for investors for its next phase of operations, and will have pro forma plans available soon. Site tours are also possible for anyone interested in seeing the operation. Contact Bill at firstname.lastname@example.org.