Biodiesel made from leftover kitchen grease isn’t going to wean the country off fossil fuels, but at least one Seattle-based company has shown there’s a market for this stuff, and enough local suppliers and customers to make this into a business.
I’m happy to say that this organic waste-to-energy company, General Biodiesel, will be part of the next big Xconomy Seattle event—“Separating Hype from Reality in Alternative Fuels” at 6 pm on May 19 at the Institute for Systems Biology. Hoby Douglass, the company’s director of sustainable business development, will be on hand to provide one of our quick “burst” presentations that provide a basic overview of a company, as a segue into the networking portion of the evening.
There were a few first-generation biodiesel and corn ethanol companies in the last decade that had more investors than legit customers, but that’s not the case with General Biodiesel. The company, founded in 2006 with no big-name local VC backing, has quietly put together a deep roster of suppliers that provide organic waste (grease) from restaurants, which General Biodiesel turns into fuel. The suppliers include big outfits like Amazon, Sea-Tac International Airport, Virginia Mason Medical Center, and the Washington Department of Corrections, as well as small businesses like Ezell’s Famous Chicken and Buckley’s.
General Biodiesel is joining a loaded lineup of speakers who are all taking some very different approaches to the business of alternative fuels. Here’s who will be on hand at this event May 19.
—Kristina Burow, partner, Arch Venture Partners; co-founder, Sapphire Energy
—Margaret McCormick, chief operating officer, Targeted Growth; CEO, Matrix Genetics
—Ned David, founder and president, Kilimanjaro Energy; venture partner, Arch Venture Partners
—John Gardner, incoming dean of academic affairs, Bainbridge Graduate Institute
—Tom Ranken, president, Washington Clean Technology Alliance
—Michael Ramage, CEO, Asemblon
—Jan Allen, co-founder and vice president of engineering, Harvest Power
—Jeff Surma, CEO, S4 Energy Solutions
—Hoby Douglass, director of sustainable business development, General Biodiesel
I expect some lively commentary from this cast of characters on what the U.S. needs to do to get more serious about alternative energy. Most average consumers certainly get more interested when gas goes over $4 a gallon. Join us for a lively and timely conversation about the future of alternative fuel on May 19 at the Institute for Systems Biology.
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