2013 Collective Biodiesel Conference

Everyone in grassroots biodiesel is familiar with the Collective Biodiesel Conference.

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The CBC has a checkerboard past, but remarkably, it has never died. In many ways it is a miraculous event, powered largely by pure passion and volunteer energy, and it has emerged as the place for homebrewers, and small scale operators, and community scale biodiesel plants to exchange information and stay up on the latest ideas.

At the Collective Biodiesel Conference there is a lot less snake oil, less specious claims, less big money, and more authenticity than others. The CBC is probably the rightful homeplace of sustainable biodiesel.

Like many in the grassroots biodiesel community, I thought the CBC was defunct a couple of years ago. I watched it emerge on Vancouver Island, of all places. I figured that would surely be a “bust,” so I packed up the family, caught a ferry and jumped in. It was well attended and well organized and I was blown away.

In 2011 it moved to California, under the care of Todd Hill and the folks at Promethean. This year it is headed back to Colorado, which has a rich and varied relationship to community scale biodiesel. I believe it was at a CBC in Colorado where Bob Armantrout made his famous gas chromatography debut. Bob is currently in Ghana trying to spank human fecal sludge into fuel. And Colorado was the home of Charris Ford, who is on his way to Bali to enroll his kid in the greenest school on earth.

Charris is still bitter about losing a nursery rhyme competition to me on a train to Florida many years ago when the grassroots biodiesel community had a conference in Pittsboro and boarded a train to NBB.

Piedmont has been a fan of the Collective Biodiesel Conference from the beginning, and many of our folks have attended and contributed over the years. This year we will be represented by Sam Parker–who currently makes our fuel along side Ray, with the support of the rest of us.

Surely nothing will be finer than Colorado in August, and I am confident that under the stewardship of Dara at Summit Greasecycling, this year’s CBC (get registration details here) will be a deeply successful and edifying event…

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