Accelerating the Development of Vermont's Green Economy

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Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund

Grantee: Green Technologies, LLC

Grantee: Green Technologies, LLC

As a chemistry professor, Scott Gordon brought his expertise to bear at the University of Vermont by building a 60 gallon prototype biodiesel processor in 2004.  Gordon soon branched out on his own with Green Technologies, Inc., a waste vegetable oil biodiesel producer. Gordon is also interested in the bigger picture of green chemical processes and envisions developing useful products such as bioplastics, biowaxes, and soap.

In December 2006, the VSJF awarded Green Technologies a $98,000 grant from funds secured by U.S. Senator Leahy from the U.S. Department of Energy. The main objectives of this grant were to:

 

 

 

Increase Local Biodiesel Production Capacity:

The main goal of this project was to reach commercial breakeven production targets (ca. 50,000 gals/yr) using inexpensive WVO feedstocks. Given Green Technologies existing WVO supply, only modest increases in WVO collection volume are needed to meet initial project goals. Green Technologies used grant funding to research designs and equipment requirements to expand production capacity; to purchase equipment; debug tanks, pumps, and systems; and to increase production volume. More powerful explosion proof pumps, jet eductors and larger tanks were installed to boost production capacity.

Green Technologies was able to increase production volume from about 10,000 gals/yr in 2006, to
19,000 gals/yr in 2007 and 24,000 gals/yr in 2008, but Gordon found that capacity increases in the 30,000-60,000 gal/yr range require further investment in post processing (e.g. a larger filtration system).

Green Technologies

Develop Instrumentation and Protocols to Reduce the Costs for ASTM Testing:

No dedicated affordable biodiesel testing centers existed in the Vermont region prior to this project. Increasing the market for locally produced biofuels benefits by developing low cost, in-house biofuel quality testing coupled with iterative improvements in production methods and corresponding fuel quality.Green Technologies used grant funding to buy and install a gas chromatograph (GC) and other
equipment; to develop GC protocols; and to provide fuel testing services. Green Technologies now offers affordable biodiesel testing to local producers, including Biocardel.

Evaluate the Production System for Safety, Efficiency, and Process Improvements:

Green Technologies identified bottlenecks and issues in their fuel production process that impacted their ability to reach ASTM (namely better filtration/post processing).

As part of this grant, Gordon also received advice from a successful businessman, a peer advisor, to update his business plan, upgrade his accounting, analysis, and reporting system, validate an action plan to meet 50,000 gallons of production, and other coaching to assist his development as an entrepreneur.