EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Taking waste oil and converting it into biodiesel fuel is what El Paso based Rio Valley Bio-Fuels does. They buy leftover cooking oil, agriculture oils and animal fat then convert it into biodiesel.
“We’re producing 15 to 16 million gallons of biodiesel a year. Now that’s a lot of used cooking oil from restaurants,” said Jed Smith, the Chief Operating Officer of Rio Valley Biofuels.
That biodiesel is then shipped throughout the Southwest. Rio Valley says their biofuel is a renewable, clean-burning diesel replacement, which they say is being used by truck stops, school buses, government vehicles, farms and businesses. They say when comparing their biodiesel fuel to petroleum-based diesel fuel, biofuel reduces the lifecycle of greenhouse gases by 86 percent.
The company has caught the attention of U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-El Paso, who visit Rio Valley on Tuesday.
“Great El Pasoans working here, doing their part to fight climate change and to make sure that we have sustainable energy options and that we’re not so dependent on fossil fuels,” Escobar said.
However, the future of biofuel is uncertain.
According to the National Biodiesel Board, biodiesel companies have to wait to see if Congress will extend the biodiesel tax credit.
“Unless the federal government, and local and state governments, do put in place policies to assist green energy and sustainable energy then we are going to lose the battle against climate change,” Escobar said.
Escobar co-sponsored a Biodiesel Tax Credit Extension Act that gives a two-year extension, something she says is key to fighting climate change.
“It’s a very good thing for the community, for the country to be able to have renewable fuels in the market places,” said Smith.