June 28, 2007 - 7:51PM
BANGOR (NEWCHANNEL 3) – It was a celebratory beginning in Bangor when
biodiesel came to the area, but optimism has turned to reality.
The plant is running at a very low capacity. The Michigan Biodiesel
plant in Bangor is still operating, but at just 1/6 of its capacity. The
costs for the fuel's raw ingredients, like the feed stock that goes in
the towers, keep going up.
Making biodiesel starts with soybean oil. Animal fats are another
option. But buying and bringing them to the plant is costing more and more.
"It's more than frustrating, it's uneconomical and you're in a losing
situation," said John Oakley, CEO of Michigan Biodiesel.
Oakley says since last Fall he's paying at least 75 cents more to
produce each gallon of biodiesel, but he's staying open.
"All we're doing is waiting and trying to get to the point where our
feed stock costs are in line so we can make money," said Oakley.
Some of that money is going to farmers like Steve Gazdag. He's on the
other side of this alternative fuels craze. He plants soybeans.
He also grows corn that becomes ethanol.
"I've decided in my own operation, I'm not going to put my eggs in one
basket," said Gazdag.
Gazdag prefers to play the odds and watch the prices until harvest.
Soybeans are at about eight dollars a bushel and corn is around $3.25.
"You can hit a home run, but you can also strikeout, so this way I'll
probably hit a single, and that'll be all right," said Gazdag.
All right for John Oakley is some relief. A market change to get the
plant back to where it was.
"If we shut the doors, why would a customer come back to us that had
started buying biodiesel from us," asked Oakley.
The majority of the plant's employees are also on hiatus.
Check for earlier Pacific Biofuel posts: http://pacbiofuel.blogspot.com/