The Great Biodiesel ShutdownBy Kate Galbraith
The sufferings of the American biodiesel industry continue.
Last month I wrote about the industry’s problems in the wake of a European tariff on American biodiesel producers. Imperium Renewables, once one of the country’s largest refiners of biodiesel, had also just laid off 24 employees.
It turns out that Imperium is not in fact producing any biodiesel. (A reader informed me of this, and I subsequently confirmed it with an Imperium representative, John Williams, who said by e-mail that “Imperium has produced fuel in 2009, but is not currently producing fuel.”) The suspension of production is the latest bad news for the company, which last year lost a big contract with Royal Caribbean cruise lines, and also canceled an initial public offering in early 2008.
Other states are weighing in with tales of woe. (The problem is not only the European tariff, but also the fact that diesel prices in this country have fallen below biodiesel prices, reducing incentive to buy the alternative fuel.)
I assume the New York Times corporation must use diesel fuel in at least some of their delivery trucks. Maybe the suits should start using the more expensive biodiesel in their operations? Shareholders might object, but we have a planet to save!