A Chico alternative energy company is expanding its business and will soon be producing large amounts of biodiesel to give businesses and private citizens access to a product not available north of Sacramento.
Biodiesel is an alternative to diesel fuel and is made from animal or vegetable oils.
Chico's Springboard Biodiesel, founded by brothers Mark and Matt Roberts, has had a hand in the growing alternative energy industry for years now.
Once purely a manufacturer and seller of biodiesel producing equipment, they're now diversifying.
"We are a local biodiesel production company that's going to allow institutions and organizations here in the Northstate to incorporate biodiesel into their fleets," Mark Roberts said as he stands alongside his brother inside Springboard's new manufacturing facility off Park Avenue. "That's not been possible up until now because the closest biodiesel is down in Sacramento."
Springboard's aim is to help local companies who are trying to reduce their environmental impact.
"The great thing about biodiesel is it has a very low carbon footprint," Roberts said. "Biodiesel emits 90 percent less CO2 then diesel fuel if it's made from cooking oil."
When their facility becomes fully operational on May 1, 2014, they'll produce about 1,000 gallons of biodiesel a day. The mass production should allow them to sell the fuel at a competitive price to regular diesel you'd get at a gas station.
"Our goal is to sell it at a comparable price to diesel," Roberts said.
The brothers say you don't need sophisticated equipment or converters to run biodiesel in a vehicle.
"It'll run in any diesel engine without the need to convert your engine," Matt Roberts said.
While Springboard Biodiesel hopes to help Northstate companies go green, private consumers can take advantage too.
"We have a private buyers club," Mark said. "You can become a member and you can buy lots of biodiesel in 10, 55, or 275 gallon amounts."
In the end, the goal isn't so much saving money as it is saving the planet. Soon there will be a facility right in Chico to help people do just that.