March 26 Educational workshop

Bring It Home Biofuels Co-op and UW Extension co-sponsored an educational workshop on Saturday, March 26 that was attended by 25 community members.

Gene Schriefer, UW Extension Agricultural Agent spoke about the historical context for biodiesel, which included a flashback to the fuel rationing and long lines in the 1970s when access to Mideast Oil dried up.Today the price of petroleum diesel is very low, but with the stage of easy, cheap drilling of oil having passed, Gene warned that higher prices are inevitable.

Eric Hamilton of Circle Energy shared his experience with both biodiesel and straight vegetable oil. Eric also brought in an oil seed press for folks to see.

One other highlight was Jim Small bringing over the SunPower fuel truck to pump B99 biodiesel to member totes and vehicles. Filling your bulk fuel tank on the farm is no harder than this!




March News and Event

On March 26, we will host a public event followed by our annual membership meeting.  Professor Tom Cox, U/W Madison’s Dept. of Agricultural and Applied Economics will speak about ‘Fueling the Future’.  We will also hear from Gene Schriefer, U/W Extension ag. agent who has been involved in the Sunflower Project at U/W Platteville. 

We hope to see many of you at 10am on March 26th at the Boaz Community Center near Richland Center, WI.  A light lunch will follow the discussion.  Volunteers are welcome to help with setting up tables, or helping out at the registration table.  Just send an email to and let us know how you’d like to help.  If you can spread the word or post flyers about the event, that would be very helpful. We can mail you flyers to post, or click this link to print your own:  Bring It Home Event Flyer 2016

The annual membership meeting will be held right after lunch at about 12:30pm.  It lasts about half an hour.  Members, including new members that join the day of the event are welcome to attend and hear an update on the state of the cooperative and plans moving forward, as well as to give input for future direction.  We appreciate hearing from members, and look forward to seeing you soon.

Benefits of Biodiesel Community Meeting

March 26 at 10:00 am: Meeting to discuss the benefits of using biodiesel in our rural, agricultural community.

The meeting will be held at the Boaz Community Center and is co-sponsored by the Bring It Home Biofuels Co-op and UW Extension. There will be three speakers, Q&A and a light lunch:

Tom Cox, Professor at UW Madison’s department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, on ‘Fueling the Future’ with biodiesel.

Gene Schriefer, U/W Extension Ag. Agent, on his experience with the Sunflower Project at U/W Platteville.

Jamie Derr on growing oil seed crops, processing and selling the food grade oil, and making biodiesel from recovered waste vegetable oil.

SunPower, a Cumberland WI biodiesel producer will have a supply of B20 biodiesel (a blend of 20% biodiesel with 80% diesel) available for purchase at a discounted rate.

Registration starts at 9:30am, discussion from 10 am to 11:30 am, followed by a light lunch. Free and open to the public.

The Boaz Community Center is located at: 17010 State Highway 171, Richland Center, WI 53581

Questions call 608 606-0276 or email

For details, see our events page.

Volkswagon ignores NOx technical solution for profits

Here is an extract from an article on the Volkswagen mess by Alexander Noack, posted on the GREASEnergy web site.

The main point is that the technology to meet emissions standards and retain very good fuel mileage is known and available. But Volkswagon chose not to use it to save a couple of hundred buck per car in order to increase their profit margin.

From this short explanation you will understand easily that the first three mentioned emissions (HC, CO, particles) will simply work in the opposite way of the fourth emission (NOx). And this is more or less the bad news for the diesel engine engineers: the better your engine efficiency is, the higher the nitrogen oxide (NOx) emission – if we talk about the raw emissions.

The good news is that there is an existing technical solution for that used on the market for more than 5 years. After torturing the engines with high exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) rates over decades, there was introduced the selective catalytic reduction converter (SCR) technology, which may fix the nitrogen oxides emissions to very low levels below the limits. Diesel engines made a big step back to real low fuel consumption (decreasing by –minus 10-20%) by keeping the low nitrogen oxide (NOx) emission levels.

But why the Volkswagen engines didn’t show these good results at the International Council on Clean Transportation ICCT which conducted a real drive emission test (RDE). Technically it is definitely possible, but Volkswagen simply tried to reduce production cost of their units (roughly 150-300 USD/unit) by not using the SCR technology with an additional AdBlue (NH4 liquid) tank, which is necessary for a high level of nitrogen oxide reduction in the SCR units and is commonly found in many heavy vehicles, as well as other brands of passenger vehicles.

Instead of this they equipped some of their cars with the less efficient NOx-storage catalytic converter (NSC) and used a so called defeat device, which is software recognizing a set of criteria that indicates the vehicle is in a test procedure.

The good news – we ain’t got no debt. The economics of biodiesel today

The current economic environment has been devastating for many regional scale producers of biodiesel. Two basic facts:

Diesel prices across Wisconsin now average $2.54 per gallon for on road use.
– The cost of soybeans continues a pattern of volatile commodity pricing. From $.31 per pound earlier this year, the price has fallen to $.17 per pound. At 7.68 pounds per gallon, that means the cost of soybean oil alone almost equals the current retail price of diesel.

Here are some additional costs for biodiesel producers:
– Additional input costs (catalyst, alcohol)
– Production costs (labor, energy)
– Plant overhead (electrical, maintenance, insurance)
– Interest payments on loans

Bottom line, faced with very cheap petroleum diesel, regional scale biodiesel producers based on virgin oil as their feed stock find themselves in an noncompetitive situation.

There are only a few viable strategies for biodiesel producers:
– Build or engineer the plant to use less costly feedstocks (e.g. waste vegetable oil, corn oil as a byproduct of ethanol production). This assumes access to capital to upgrade existing facilities, and the availability and affordability of alternate feedstocks.
– Tap into large sums of money, either through investors with deep pockets, or through loans with banks or other financial institutions. Insulated by money, national scale producers can not only stay afloat, but acquire smaller, struggling producers to build efficiency of scale and reduce their costs. Mandated EPA blender credits provide volume to these large scale, national companies
– Temporarily close down your plant to reduce the hemorrhaging and wait for conditions to change

The combination of these factors is leading to a rapid consolidation of the biodiesel industry, with regional producers getting acquired and merged into larger operations. Some recent examples:
REG (Renewable Energy Group) acquires assets of bankrupt KiOR
REG acquires Imperium
Cenex Harvest States was buying Patriot Renewable Fuels

While impacted by the affect of these economic forces on its biodiesel production partners, Bring It Home Biofuels Co-op has no debts that it must repay, and no plant operation it has to operate at a loss to bring in that revenue. In times like these, not having physical assets and debt ensures survival.

We will continue to work at our mission to source biodiesel for our members. At this stage, our main approaches are to:
– Partner with regional scale producers with an operational and financial model capable of riding out this storm
– Collaborate with other local initiatives that have a shared mission and a complimentary business model.

More on this as we move forward.

2015 Bulk Deliveries pass 9,000 gallons

We have now coordinated the delivery of over 9,100 gallons of biodiesel blends (B99 and B20) produced by SunPower Biodiesel to our members in 2015. Sunpower is based in Cumberland, WI.

Since the start of 2014 our bulk deliveries have totaled almost 23,000 gallons. The majority of these deliveries has been to local farmers. We have also provided biodiesel for usage in farm milk delivery vehicles and commercial heating.

All of these folks want to use a regionally produced renewable fuel that is available at a competitive price.

Contact us for the current delivered price for B20 and B99.