Each order for a cheesesteak, french fries, or funnel cake adds to the Northeast’s fuel supply, thanks to the innovative work by companies such as Tri-State Biodiesel. The New York-based company collects 250,000 gallons of waste oil each month from restaurants in New York, Connecticut and New Jersey. The company then filters the oil to the same quality as virgin oil and sells it to biodiesel refineries. The resulting biodiesel is a low-emission and sustainable fuel source that reduces the need for petroleum-based diesel.
Elsewhere in the Northeast, Maine’s Old Town Fuel & Fiber has begun producing jet fuel from waste wood at a pulp mill. In Pennsylvania, Matson Biofuels has developed technology that allows the creation of biodiesel from a variety of sustainable oil sources.
Old Town Fuel & Fiber’s wood pulp mill in Maine can produce jet fuel.
Alternatives to Oil in the Northeast draws attention to the work of innovators and entrepreneurs who are demonstrating the feasibility of developing sustainable, local fuels that can help reduce the Northeast’s dependence on oil. Essentially all the oil that the Northeast consumes must be imported from outside the region, draining dollars from the local economy. When that oil is used, it creates smog and soot pollution, and adds to the region’s global warming emissions.
To support the work of companies developing cleaner fuels, states across the Northeast should adopt a regional Clean Fuels Standard. Such a standard would require the use of an increasing amount of clean, alternative fuels and limit the amount of global warming pollution produced by a gallon of fuel. By adopting a Clean Fuels Standard, the region can hasten development of alternatives to oil in the Northeast, and make sure that those alternatives contribute to a cleaner, healthier future.
Associate Director and Senior Policy Analyst, Frontier Group
Elizabeth Ridlington is associate director and senior policy analyst with Frontier Group. She focuses primarily on global warming, toxics, health care and clean vehicles, and has written dozens of reports on these and other subjects. Elizabeth graduated with honors from Harvard with a degree in government. She joined Frontier Group in 2002. She lives in Northern California with her husband and son.