It’s an unassuming cargo container, but it’s the in-line blending technology and engineering inside that is exciting biodiesel supporters in western Kansas.
On June 25, Victory Renewables opened up the new Bonanza BioEnergy Biodiesel Blending Terminal at the Bonanza BioEnergy campus at Garden City, Kansas. The equipment allows for custom blending of biodiesel, allowing fuel suppliers to load bulk biodiesel blends from 5 to 100 percent for customers. That’s good news for western Kansas farmers and ranchers who purchase biodiesel for their equipment and their irrigation pumps.
The site can bring in biodiesel via rail or by truck, where it is then stored in two tanks totaling 63,000 gallons. Victory staff explained that the site was chosen with expansion in mind, and there’s room to grow as demand grows. “We want to grow our capacity to up to 500 gallons per month,” said Victory Senior Vice President Kevin Hershner. “This is a major agricultural center in Kansas. In harvest, farmers are burning a lot of diesel. Biodiesel can increase their market value of soybeans.”
Conestoga Fuel Services will be the fuel management point of contact at the Garden City Facility, explained Ryan Klaus, senior director of fuel services. Customers can order bulk biodiesel in on-road, off-road, and blends of 5 to 100 percent biodiesel. There’s also a retail fuel island at the facility for people to purchase biodiesel. And, some of this biodiesel blended here may also go across U.S. Highway 50 to the Love’s gas station and others for retail truck traffic.
“A lot of people in southwest Kansas may not be experienced with biodiesel so we’re trying to educate them,” Klaus said. “This is locally grown, from biodiesel plants in Kansas. And the biggest thing is that we’re keeping everything in the state and burning what we produce.” Klaus added that his job is to match customers with the blend and price point that meets their needs. With the ability to blend from 5 to 100 percent biodiesel, farmers can find value in their bulk tanks that may not have been available to them before.
With one or two employees on-site, this in-line blending equipment can load 24-7, with pretty much everything run by a PIN pad and computers.
The plan is to source as much biodiesel from Kansas plants as possible, such as the new Cargill plant in Wichita, Kansas, and one facility in Kansas City. Increasing demand for soybean-based biodiesel can add 63 cents to each bushel of soybeans, according to the Kansas Soybean Commission, who has partnered with Victory in this expansion. According to the commission, there were 204 million bushels of soybeans grown in Kansas in 2018, and increasing soybean use through biodiesel added $128 million to farmers’ bottom lines.
Dennis Hupe, director of field services for Kansas Soybean Commission said that facilities like this can have a direct impact on Kansas farmers’ bottom lines, whether through increased lubricity and increased cetane for their engines, or lowering their input costs. Biodiesel he said, returns 5.5 units of energy for each unit of fossil energy, and it is domestically produced and can reduced greenhouse gas emissions by more than half when compared to straight diesel fuel. He said it just makes sense for farmers to use biodiesel fuel that comes from their neighbors, to produce crops and livestock that feed us all.
For more information about how to order biodiesel or how biodiesel can benefit your operation, visit www.ConastogaEnergyPartners.com.
Jennifer M. Latzke can be reached at 620-227-1807 or firstname.lastname@example.org.