Gordon, Nebraska, Aug 29, 2011 -- The high cost of diesel fuel used to power farming equipment was the catalyst for Greg Nielsen’s interest in pursuing a renewable energy system. Greg and his son, Gabe, had experimented with a small biodiesel processor that converted waste vegetable oil from the local McDonalds and quick stops into biodiesel. With fuel costs continuing to rise, they felt the time was right to upgrade, so they started researching the possibilities, eventually installing the HBD250 batch biodiesel processing system.
“This project is a great example of looking outside the box to explore the utilization of local sources of renewable energy that can be used to offset fossil fuel on farm. Renewable energy systems come in all shapes and sizes and this application is a great fit for this farming operation. We encourage farmers and business owners to explore their own energy portfolio and to look for ways to incorporate renewable energy into the mix,” said Nebraska State Director Maxine Moul, USDA Rural Development.
Greg Nielsen received a $3,957 Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grant from USDA Rural Development in 2009 to offset 25 percent of the equipment and installation costs for the HBD250 biodiesel processor.
During 2010, Greg and Gabe made over 850 gallons of biodiesel from 950-1000 gallons of waste vegetable oil. The biodiesel “summer” mix, consisting of 50 percent biodiesel and 50 percent diesel, was used in the Nielsens’ tractors last summer. During the winter they used a mix of 20 percent biodiesel and 80 percent diesel. This mixture significantly offset the cost of diesel fuel for the farming operation. The project also benefits local restaurants, grocery store delis, and quick stops by providing disposal for their waste vegetable oil.
“Making biodiesel is an interesting hobby. It requires precision and hard work. We are continuing to look for additional sources of waste vegetable oil to increase our supply and production efforts,” said Greg Nielsen.
Contact Marla Marx (308) 632-2195 ext. 1132. Visit http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/ne/.