The concept for Blue Ridge Biofuels started simply enough with a few folks who just wanted to create their own biodiesel to power their trucks and farm equipment. The idea resonated with enough people throughout the region that they now sell their biodiesel and heating oil blends at several fueling stations in the western part of North Carolina.
Leading Green Distributing’s management insists that the entire fleet of diesel trucks run on a biodiesel blend, and Blue Ridge Biofuels is the provider much of the time. A map of the biodiesel pump locations can be found here.
The cooking oils that Blue Ridge Biofuels offers are a special commodity as well. They have partnered with Ag Strong to source canola and sunflower oil from regional farmers in the southeast who press the seeds into oil. Their canola oils and sunflower oils are sought by chefs in the Leading Green Distributing routes for salads, sauteing, and deep frying. Blue Ridge Biofuels buys the finished oil for distribution, and Leading Green Distributing fills the restaurant orders and delivers their oil.
Due to continually increasing demand, Blue Ridge Biofuels is in the process of moving their manufacturing facility to Catawba county to a biodiesel plant that was built by the county with the assistance of ASU. Brandon Greenstein, the Client Services Recruiter notes “We are going to have the capacity to increase our production by about 10 times. The ability to meet that capacity will depend on their ability to collect enough cooking oil. We are collecting used cooking oil from restaurants, and we pay for it at varying rates based on how much they produce, its quality, how clean it is.” Then they process that reclaimed restaurant oil into biodiesel.
Currently Blue Ridge Biofuels collects oil from 600 restaurants in western North Carolina, eastern Tennessee, southern Virginia, and northern South Carolina. Charlotte is their next frontier as they look to increase their capacity for processing recycled cooking oil into fuel.
A map of the region where Blue Ridge Biofuels buys recycled cooking oil is here.
The process is a three way cycle of supporting farmers, supporting manufacturing, and supporting restaurant recycling. Greenstein adds, “We support the regional farmers who are growing this oil, growing the seed, pressing the oil locally with no chemicals. This is non-GMO oil. We are selling it to restaurants in the region, collecting that oil back from the restaurants, turning it back into biodiesel, and then selling it back to the farmers who are growing the seed.”
Blue Ridge Biofuels are base-line distributors of the cooking oil. They do not sell directly to restaurants, but do sell to second-tier distributors, such as Leading Green Distributing, who sell to restaurants.
For a complete list of Blue Ridge Biofuels’ oil that Leading Green offers, please check our website for a current list of products.