2013 Collective Biodiesel Conference

Posted on 08/26/13 3 Comments

WVO Design’s representatives Leon and Jason attended the 2013 Collective Biodiesel Conference in beautiful Breckenridge, Colorado last weekend.  After a slight adjustment to the 9600ft elevation, we inhaled insights and knowledge from the other leaders in the alternative fuel community.   The conference was very well run and organized, thanks to Dara Lor and his staff.   There were very interesting presenters, appropriate time for networking and great food.   The little details even received proper attention, ie. the t-shirts were organic cotton, plastic-ware was compostable, and beer was brewed right in town.

Many of the attendees were small to medium scale Biodesel Producers, who also have WVO Collection companies.  As I’ve said before, professional, value added WVO collection remains a viable small business opportunity for individuals across the country.

See video recordings of all the presentations here.

Here are some of the highlights from the speakers I was able to catch:

Evie Sobczak – This 16yr old dynamo made her own biodiesel from scratch, in her parents garage.  From scratch meaning, she even produced her own oil feedstock. Evie grew her own algae, extracted the oil and turned it into biodiesel.   The most amazing thing, other than her scientifically intelligent and smooth presentation skills, is that she seemed to apply her own scientific knowledge to solve her problems and dilemmas, even if a commonly accepted solution was available.   Sourcing most of her equipment by pandering the aisles at Home Depot, Evie created machines and processes to grow and process her own fuel.  She had access to a lathe and CNC machine as well, merging creativity, ingenuity and science.  A prime example of this is the cellulose blaster which was used to masticate algae Algae, thus extracten the oil by simply decanting the pulverized algae mixture.  One of Evie’s main goals was to make the growing, harvesting and oil extraction process less energy and chemical intensive.   She was very successful, and picked up a number of awards along the way, like The Ying Scholar, Best in Fair award at the Florida State Science Fair, and First Place and Best in Category in the Energy and Transportation category at Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.  She also received one of the Intel Grand Awards, the Innovation Exploration Award.    Follow Evie’s endeavors on twitter at @evie_sobczak



Dan Freeman – “Dr. Dan”, the longtime alternative fuel specialist, spoke about Biodiesel from a Mechanic’s perspective.   An interesting topic of debate arose around using Biodiesel in 2007 and newer vehicles.  These vehicles have DPF, a device designed to remove diesel particulate matter or soot from the exhaust gas of a diesel engine.   Running WVO and Biodiesel has been known to clog the DPF and back up the fuel system.  One attendee claimed to be running B100 in his 2012 Jetta without issue.     The consensus came after some debate when Dr. Dan acknowledged that B100 has the greatest chance of working with DPFs when drivers mainly take long trips, giving enough time to burn off the extra soot from the DPF.   B100 use on many short trips will quickly plug the DPF, and lead to costly repairs.  Checkout Dan’s website at http://fuelwerks.com/

Kyle Capizzi – from the Sustainable Fuels Co op in Seattle, WA generated a ton of buzz with his exploits into an open-source Point of Sale system for alternative fuel co-ops.  More to come on Kyle’s system.

Graydon Blair –  small scale biodiesel brewing expert and owner of Utah Biodiesel Supply.  Graydon gave a live Biodiesel production demo, going over the basic chemistry, titration and processing.  One hour isn’t nearly enough to cover biodiesel brewing, but fortunately Graydon has an array of biodiesel tutorial videos here.

Justin Gauvin – The Executive Director of Verego, gave a talk on Verego’s certification progrom for Social Responsibility in the area of Ethics, People, Community and Environment.   Just is currently working with large organizations like Microsoft.   We are looking into getting WVO Designs Verego certified.

Nick Harris – Co-Founder of Gourmet Butonal.  I missed his talk, but had a few interesting conversations with Nick about a “drop-in” gasoline replacement…Butonal.   Nick has developed an efficient way of making fuel from organic waste like food scraps.    I’ve always been wary of using the earth’s biomass as fuel, especially at a large scale, but Nick broadened my horizons.   Making butonal from food scraps is upcycling, harvesting chemical energy and leaving the nutrients which can be used as plants.  Nick explained how composting can be actually wasteful and destructive, if the CO2 heavy methane gas produced isn’t harvested.  Methane gas also greatly adds CO2 to the atmosphere.

Woodrow Eaton – Co-founder of Blue Ridge Biofuels in NC, discussed a multi-organizational program to grow canola oil to supply the restaurants Blue Ridge Services.   The first crop of canola was harvested where it had never been grown before, with reasonable good yields.  The studies state that canola may end up being more profitable for local farmers than traditional crops.

Neil Watson– one of the attendees turned me on to Ammonia fuel.    NH3 has zero carbon emissions.   We have the infrastructure to mass deliver this fuel, and it can be domestically produced.  I may attend the conference in Sacramento this year.  Read more on Ammonia Fuel here.

Dara Lor – Proprietor of Summit GreaseCycling, has thrown his weight around at the State and local level to insure small scale, and local grease collection remains legal and viable.  Dara hosted the 2013 conference and we got a detailed tour of his facility prior to the sustain-a-bash.   Dara provides value-added WVO collection services to 300 restaurants in the Colorado High Country, and offers the restaurants cleaners made from WVO, like Easy Greasy



Dara with his greasy WVO stash


Dan the WVO Soap Man

Dan Fernandez – Proprietor of Summit Soap Company, gave a tour of his soap-making lab and gift shop.  Dan rocks the tie-dye lab coat and pumps out an ever expanding array of WVO based personal hygiene products.    I reluctantly tried the shower soap bar, and was amazed how it foamed right up.  Next time I’ll give the Rocky Mountan Beard Conditioner a try.

There were many other great speakers, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to catch them all.    A couple of them were:

Todd Hill – from Promethian Biofuels discussing Biodiesel Feedstocks and the Next 10 Years.   

Rachel Burton – Co-founder of Piedmont Biofuels, dissused Small Scale Biodiesel Production using Enzyme Catalysts 

…more info on these soon, as well as links to the full presentations on the Collective Biodiesel Website.


by Jason Jelonek




  1. DrDick says:
    Saturday, September 7, 2013 at 7:45pm

    Like to know how Evie grew her own algae, extracted the oil and turned it into biodiesel.


  2. Jason Jelonek says:
    Monday, September 9, 2013 at 8:21pm

    Here’s a video, http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=_d6y69fiYMw

    However, I cannot find a source of more detailed information on Evie’s endeavors. The talk from the Conference will be published soon, check back at http://www.collectivebiodiesel.org/


  3. car service says:
    Friday, October 17, 2014 at 10:29am

    I never knew such a conference existed. It seems very interesting.


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