Used Oil from Kettle Chips to Make Biodiesel

Conversion plant to be built in Oregon, with Willie's help

Published in CSP Daily News

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Plans are underway to break ground on the first biodiesel manufacturing plant in Oregon as part of a joint venture between Oregon-based SeQuential Biofuels LLC, biodiesel pioneer Pacific Biodiesel of Hawaii and several private investors.

SeQuential-Pacific has purchased a one-acre industrial parcel on the Kelly Point peninsula and permit applications are being filed with the City of Portland to break ground this August. Production would begin in November with the facility expected to produce in its first year a million gallons of biodiesel [image-nocss] from used cooking oil supplied by local companies such as Salem-based Kettle Foods.

Our goal from the beginning has been to make renewable fuel choices readily available to local businesses and individuals, said Tomas Endicott, managing partner of SeQuential Biofuels. Nothing is more sustainable than using recycled cooking oil to produce a healthy fuel choice, especially when we can manufacture it here in Oregon, reducing environmental impact of biodiesel transport and contributing to the local economy through job growth. With demand growing, we're working aggressively to expand biodiesel availability, as well as fleet and retail markets for biodiesel throughout the Pacific Northwest.

The investment is made possible with assistance from Wells Fargo Bank, the Oregon Department of Energy and a group of minority investors that includes Cameron Healy, founder of Kettle Foods; John Miller, a biodiesel user and Oregon businessman committed to sustainability; Ron Tyree, owner of Tyree Oil, a Eugene-based petroleum distributor; and country music artist Willie Nelson, who helped launch the Willie Nelson Biodiesel Co., which provides biodiesel fuel to truckstops in Texas.

It's immediately obvious the positive impact biodiesel can have on the economy, as well as in supporting the effort to put family farmers back on the land growing an environmentally positive, domestic fuel, said Nelson. It was our experience in Hawaii with Pacific Biodiesela company that operates with the honesty and heart that this industry needs to prosperthat got us engaged in supporting the biodiesel industry.

In support of the effort, Kettle Foods, a maker of all-natural potato chips, will supply all of its used cooking oil to the new facility. The company is the first natural foods manufacturer to recycle all of its waste oil into biodiesel and the first of its size to contribute to the new facility.

We've been looking for an opportunity to strengthen our commitment to biodiesel for a long time, said Cameron Healy, founder of Kettle Foods, which already runs a fleet of company cars on biodiesel. SeQuential-Pacific is the first company to provide us with both a reliable source to recycle our used cooking oil, as well as a stable supply of biodiesel. We think it's a great exchangehealthy oil for healthy fuel.

Kettle Foods is committed to minimizing its environmental impact through several initiatives. It also maintains one of the largest commercial solar arrays in the Pacific Northwest that last year produced 5% of the company's electricity. Employees also led efforts to restore a nearly two-acre wetland system at its headquarters, which improved environmental conditions, prompting the return of nesting herons and other wildlife.