New York station now offering B5 to fleets

By Erin Voegele | November 17, 2010
Posted Dec. 1, 2010

A new fuel station in the New York metro area is now offering B5 to customers. The location, a Sunoco station located in the in the Hunts Point section of the South Bronx, caters primarily to fleet drivers.

Biodiesel sold at the station is being supplied by Bronx-based Tri-State Biodiesel LLC, a local waste cooking oil collector, render and biodiesel marketer. TSB partners with Rochester-based Northern Biodiesel Inc. for biodiesel production. According to TSB CEO Brent Baker, his company supplies feedstock to Northern Biodiesel, and then markets the resulting biodiesel in the New York metro area.

TSB has been operating for approximately five years, Baker said. Currently, the company collects waste cooking oil from more than 3,000 restaurants. "Most of them are in New York, but we also service northern New Jersey and Connecticut," Baker continued.

According to Baker, TSB is currently working to contact fleets to fuel with B5 at the Sunoco station. While he cannot provide an estimate of how much biodiesel might be sold at the station over the next year, Baker notes that two of the fleets his company is working to get onboard with the fuel would utilize up to 100,000 gallons of fuel per month. "We're hoping it will be more than that," Baker continues.

While the Sunoco station is currently only offering a B5 blend, Baker said that the plan is to offer higher biodiesel blends in the future, specifically B20. However, a new tank will have to be added to the location before that happens.

The Hunts Point region of the Bronx is a busy industrial center within the New York metro region. Baker said his company is focusing primarily on increasing biodiesel use within the area due to its air quality issues. A lot of those issues trace back to the trucking industry, Baker said. The region also has a high unemployment rate, and many of the existing jobs are supported by trucking. "Biodiesel sort of represents a bridge to addressing those issues; the issues of keeping the industry here and keeping the jobs here while still being able to clean up the air," he said.

According to Baker, the Hunts Point Economic Development Corp. is also supportive of greater biodiesel utilization within the city. "[The organization] recently released a study on how to green the fleets in the Hunts Point area to try to address these problems," he said. "One of their major recommendations was the use of biodiesel."

About a dozen local fleets are currently sourcing biodiesel from TSB. Baker said the local industry is trending towards more acceptance of the fuel. "That being said, there is still a lot of skepticism out there, and it's definitely not an easy sale-ever," he continued. "But, they are finally warming up."

While TSB's current focus is to encourage customers to utilize the B5 being supplied by the Sunoco station, Baker also said his company's long-term goal is to expand biodiesel availability within the city. "We're also exploring opening our own gas station," he said. "But right now, we're just trying to focus on getting a lot of folks using this one, and making sure this one is successful so we can point to it and say 'look, here's a success story in terms of biodiesel going into a station, and the traffic for that station going up.'"

Local fleets interested in signing a contract with the Sunoco station for B5 should contact TSB directly, Baker said. "We actually have a commitment from that station and through our relationships to be able to provide at or below the price of any of the other neighborhood stations' fuel, guaranteed," he said. "We're very serious about that, so if people want to switch they are going to be paying less-not more-using that station."
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