Why Wait?

Aaron Levinthal Issue: Section:

“we are still the only generator rental company in the U.S. to not only run our machines on 100% biodiesel,
but not allow any petroleum based fuel in our machines at all.”

The U.C.: What is Biodiesel?

Biodiesel is a fuel made from natural oils. Those oils can be from almost
anything ranging from animal fat to soy to palm to algae. The type of
Biodiesel we use is made from soybean husk. This not only allows us to use a
naturally occurring product, but also only use the waste part as the soybean
is still used for food. Soy-based biodiesel also has the lowest cold pour
point of all biodiesel. This means the temperature in which the fat
solidifies. As we are based in NY the cold can be a problem using pure
Biodiesel in anything. The EPA just released their second study of the
lifecycle effects on the environment from using biodiesel compared to
petroleum based diesel. The first study done in 1998 showed that using 100%
soy based biodiesel had a 78% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions compared
to 100% petroleum diesel. This latest study showed it was actually an 85%
reduction. The oil industry spends a lot of money to make you believe this
is not true, but it is. They like to use the term "biofuel" as it allows
them to lump all natural based fuel together and then choose the worst
qualities of each particular fuel to describe the term as a whole. Good
advertising, bad policy.


The U.C.: What is GreeNow?

GreeNow is a company I started with my business partner Chris Wangro 4 years
ago. We have been producing concerts together for over 10 years and wanted
to make a change in how our shows effect the environment. After asking the
big generator companies we always used to start burning biodiesel, as was
done in other countries, we were told "no" by every one of them. In fact, we
could not find another generator company in the U.S. to agree to letting us
burn 100% biodiesel. Back then the highest amount they would allow is 5%.
Now we can find companies who will allow as high as 20%. While the big
companies like to put stickers all over their gear claiming biodiesel use,
they still only use 5 - 20%. This all seemed crazy to us. 5% or 20%? Why not
100%? If we want to make a difference then let's make a difference. After
enough frustration we did some research and bought a small generator to
convert and use at our small shows. It worked great and once people saw it,
it started growing fast. Other event producers heard about this and wanted
to rent machines from us. This is how GreeNow started. 4 years later we are
still the only generator rental company in the U.S. to not only run our
machines on 100% biodiesel, but not allow any petroleum based fuel in our
machines at all. Recently we have been getting contact by other generator
companies who want to rent our machines to use on shows with clients who
demand something better. Seems funny.


The U.C.: Why haven’t other companies switched over?
Well, there are a number of reasons I believe to be why. I will name a few:
1.   While it works great to run biodiesel in diesel engines, it is a different way of handling the fuel and the machines. It is hard for companies that are used to diesel to teach everyone the differences.
2.   The government isn’t pushing biodiesel so why should they switch?
3.   People don’t like change, especially if they feel like they don’t need to.
 
The U.C.: Are there other applications for 100% biodiesel in our everyday life? Cars? Boilers?
Everything that runs on diesel can run on biodiesel. Cars are easy. Boilers work too. Tractors, trucks, everything you can imagine.
 
The U.C.: Why isn’t the government pushing biodiesel?
There is a lot more money in oil to have a huge faction of lobbyists in DC. Biodiesel is small and growing slowly. The oil lobby is very strong. They don’t want biodiesel catching on so they do a great job preventing it from getting any momentum. Sad really. What is more depressing is that President Obama ran very heavy on energy independence and alternative fuels. The reality is this issue has taken a big backseat in his administration. Part of politics I know but we are running out of time to make this change.
 
The U.C.: Where is GreeNow going?
Up I hope. We are continually looking at when we can expand into other markets. Just a matter of need vs. cost.

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