When Bill Childs, president and CEO of Chaney Enterprises, was upgraded to first class on a return flight from Florida, he struck up a conversation with the passenger beside him. Lee Rosen, founder and chairman of New Generation Biofuels, had also been bumped. As the two men talked, they realized their new seat assignments could have an even greater benefit than extra leg room.
As he learned about New Generations' renewable fuel during a presentation on Rosen's laptop, Childs saw a new opportunity. Maryland-based Chaney Enterprises operates seven ready-mix plants, four sand and gravel facilities, and a construction materials supply store. The family-owned producer operates responsibly by reclaiming mined land, recycling process water, and marketing sustainable products such as pervious concrete. Even before his trip to Florida, Childs designated 2009 the producer's Year of Sustainability.
By replacing fossil fuel oil with renewable biofuel, Chaney could make its operations and its products more environmentally friendly. After considering emissions performance and cost, the producer committed to using New Generation's renewable fuel in its Infern-O-Therm hot water boilers beginning in November. The partnership marks New Generation's first foray into the concrete industry.
“Biofuel allows us to reduce the carbon footprint of every cubic yard of concrete we ship, with something as easy as switching from fossil fuels to biofuel in our boilers,” says Childs.
NOx and SOx
Not to be confused with biodiesel, New Generation Biofuels are made with renewable, non-fossil fuel. Biofuel can be used in industrial applications to replace 100% of distillate fuels without blending them with other fuels, modifying equipment, or sacrificing engine performance.
When burned, biofuels produce significantly lower emissions than diesel. Emulsified water in New Generation Biofuels reduces the peak temperature that occurs when the fuel is burned, reducing nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions up to 60%. Because the feedstocks of these biofuels are inherently free of sulfur, they virtually eliminate sulfur oxide (SOx) emissions.
Chaney expects to break even financially. While biofuel typically costs less than fossil fuel, the producer will need almost 30% more of the renewable fuel to run its boilers. “It's not about saving money, it's about doing things the right way,” says Jan Holt, Chaney's chief customer officer. “Even though we'll be using more fuel, we're still reducing our footprint.”
While cost savings isn't a producer's main motivation for using renewable fuel, there could be an economic reason. Proposed Cap and Trade legislation in Congress would put a maximum limit on the amount of emissions manufacturers can produce. Each company would be responsible for operating within its limit by installing pollution controls, increasing efficiency, selling or buying emissions allowances, and other means.
“Companies can really monetize the value of biofuel under a carbon Cap and Trade program,” says Phil Wallis, New Generation's chief marketing officer.
After a trial period of using the biofuel in its boilers, Chaney plans to expand its use to off-road vehicles. The partners may also collaborate to test it in ready-mix trucks.