Used Cooking Oil Converted to Bio Diesel Helps Vehicle Fleets Reduce Emissions

New Leaf Biofuel is a San Diego based biodiesel company focused on transforming the way companies fuel their vehicle fleets. New Leaf BioFuel collects used cooking oil from roughly 1,000 local restaurants and converts it to biodiesel fuel. It sells the biodiesel to distributors who sell the fuel to customers running green fleets of diesel trucks.

Vehicles run cleaner and quieter on biodiesel and the fleet emissions are much better.  Biodiesel is an alternative renewable fuel made from plant and animal oils that is used in diesel engines. It has been shown to reduce vehicle emissions by 75% on average compared to petroleum diesel.

New Leaf’s biodiesel can fuel a regular diesel vehicle with little or no conversion. Biodiesel comes from chemically altered vegetable oils and animal fats. This chemical process known as transesterification reduces the viscosity of the oils so that it can be used in engines with no modifications. According to the CEO of New Leaf,  the fuel economy is the same as with using regular diesel or gasoline.

The company is collecting and processing between 30,000-40,000 gallons of waste oil per month from local restaurants. No money changes hands in that recycling. But New Leaf must purchase an additional 60,000-70,000 gallons monthly from distributors to meet demand for biodiesel. New Leaf is planning an expansion that would allow it to more than double output to 2.5 million gallons a year in 2011. In December 2010, the City of Chula Vista signed on to use New Leaf Biofuel for its vehicle fleet.

The consumers of biodiesel are fleet managers at companies or municipalities that operate fleets of diesel vehicles, including trash/recycling trucks, tow trucks, vehicles that deliver products, city vehicles and some individuals who own vehicles with a diesel engine. NewLeaf’s real competition is for the feedstock (the used cooking oil), and those competitors are mostly companies that collect the oil to sell it on the open market. New Leaf has to buy 60,000-70,000 gallons monthly from distributors to meet the demand for biodiesel.

New Leaf BioFuel is based in Barrio Logan, CA and has 20 employees. The company is focusing on providing biodiesel to the San Diego area and are recruiting restaurants to participate in their waste vegetable oil collection program.

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