Wednesday, June 18, 2008

B100 Pricing for the coop, for members

A local supplier has provided these prices for B99.9 or blended, Biodiesel. the fuel is made from poultry, choice white fat.
22April $3.30
09May $3.32
13May $3.55
21May same
28May $3.80
02June $3.65
12June same
18June $3.75

Road taxes must be paid to Maryland and Federal authorities, adding $0.49 per gallon to the above prices.
Our fuel transporter charges us $0.45 per gallon for service, as well.

We charge $0.35 per gallon to pay for development and growth of the coop:
bumper stickers
new truck ( which should save us $0.25 per gallon once we're using it)
BBD9000 systems

Therefore our price of $4.94 per gallon will be changing to $5.04 per gallon by weekend of 6/27.

Please note that we offset the preposterous jump in price from May 21 to May 28 by selling B100 that was purchased late in 2007.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Reorganization of the Cooperative

501(c)12, tax-exempt, non-profit status
1) Board of directors will be elected for 2 year terms, with half of the board up for reelection each year.
Board will nominate the officers.

2)A draft set of bylaws will be written up and posted here.
Our current bylawsw borrow heavily from other successful biodiesel cooperatives: Piedmont and Yokayo.
We plan to have all members purchase a share of stock (presumably this will be paid for by the $70 application fee we now charge) and along with it, the right to vote.
A quorum will be 10 members for any given meeting.

3)Naming of operators
Heads of committees will name someone to execute the responsibilities of the committee at short notice.
Eventually these may become paid positions.

Outreach to members of note....

Steve Howard, Laura Koontz and Frank Lee have been noticed by various committees and board members. We would like to get them involved with marketing and operations in the coming year.

Nominations and elections

President- Davis Bookhart
Vice President- Ilya Goldberg
Secretary- Mark Eckley
Treasurer- Andrew Gellene

All were elected unanimously.

Executive Board was named, as follows:
Ted Rouse
John Shepley
Dave Saffell
Keith Losoya
Paul Kovalcik
Carrie Harlan
Rich Dean
Mare Cromwell
Susan Smith

Committee updates

1. Technical Committee
see BBD9000
Filter has been attached to the tank to continue providing clear fuel to our users.

2. Marketing Committee
No report given as Carrie was out sick.

3.Finance Committee
Discussion of operational costs of truck suggest we need to reapply to Maryland Energy Administration for further grants.
>40% increase in sales demonstrates we are using the money they granted us last year wisely and effectively.

4.Membership Committee
Focusing on retaining existing members by using iContact to send out alerts, bulletins, etc. to keep information flowing from the board to the members.

We voted to name Mare Cromwell our operations 'co-head' along with John Shepley. They will assign projects to specific members of the committees.

Response team for operations needs to be put in place, with backups available.
We proposed an Operations Committee
Pay rent- Treasurer
Buy fuel-fuel liaison and treasurer
Maintenance- any capable member. Currently filter changes have been made by a handful of folks willing to get a little oily.
The tank still needs a proper cleaning.
No volunteers were ackowledged, any would be welcome.

Old business-BBD9000

The BBD9000 is in operational test mode currently. Several board members have successfully purchased fuel at their convenience, outside of 'normal' business hours.

Scenarios are being tested- e.g., can a member buy fuel if their membership is not current?
Debugging will be complete by end of June.

Sales have increased from 2007 to 2008:
5 weeks around June 2007 (221, 233, 205, 168, 265 gallons->1092/5= 218.4 gallons per week)
Last 5 weeks, June 2008 (225,330,300 215,337 gallons -> 1407/5= 281.4 gallons per week)

That's a 28.8% increase in volume. Considering the price has increased from $3.25 per gallon to $4.75 per gallon, (46% increase)
sales have increased over 40%.

We expect this increase to grow faster with the expansion of hours for the membership to buy fuel, enabled by the BBD9000.

Finally we discussed providing the service for running the BBD9000 for other coops and biodiesel sellers in the area. We have learned how to maintain a database of members and keep track of sales, etc.
We will set up a virtual domain and website and administer those things for our clients. We can lease or sell BBD9000 machines, or help other groups assemble their own.
Ilya had purchased circuit boards with Baltimore Biodiesel enscripted on them and will be working with Rich to populate them.
Ilya has purchased a swipe machine and computer and estimates the cost of a new BBD9000 to have decreased to somewhere around $1700, including a wireless modem.

Considering fuel pumps that are used at gas stations cost upwards of $10,000 each, the BBD9000 is a really attractive alternative.

A business development committtee was proposed. Their job will be to make a plan for distribution and production fo BBD9000's in the future.

Old Business- new Truck ("Molly Pitcher")

The tale of Molly Pitcher can be found on the yahoo! group, Charm21:

She cost us $3898 to buy and drive to New Jersey. $1338 to tow to Maryland where we are getting her in shape to pass Maryland inspection.
Fuel tank, Transmission, Brakes, Universal Joint, Air Compressor and Tanker pump will all be assessed.
The board voted to research buying a new chassis to put Molly's tank on.
We will not begin repairs for one month while we look into a chassis for a GVW 44000 pound vehicle, e.g., a heavy duty dump truck.
The board will research a gated, secure location for parking the truck, too.
Finally, it was suggested that MEA might be able to assist us with the gift of a used truck. Alternatively, we could trade for a used truck with biodiesel fuel. Paying off the truck over time, in effect.

Annual Board Meeting

Board members in attendance:
Bookhart and Rouse (co-presidents)
Goldberg (vice president)
Eckley (secretary)
Shepley (Treasurer)
Kovalcik, Gellene, Dean, Cromwell (Executive board members)
Note-Harlan, Saffell, Losoya, Smith not in attendance.

Agenda items:
Old business-
New Truck ("Molly Pitcher")
BBD9000 ('BFD9000')

Committee updates-

Reorganizing the cooperative into a democratic, 501(c)12 non-profit concern.

Election of board members for 2008-2009

Members of note.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Update on Fuel Supply and Pricing

Last we enjoyed record sales (~325 gallons) while suffering through record high prices ($4.99 per gallon).
The pricing was the result of things that we can explain- kerosene price is through the roof, approaching $5 per gallon itself- and things we cannot- why poultry fat biodiesel from United Biofuels, retailed to our supplier at $3.50 per gallon costs us $4.30 per gallon.
Alas, the middlemen have us in a vulnerable position and they are not kind with their authority.

This summer we will have a 3300 gallon tank truck to use for fuel pickup and delivery. We are becoming fuel distributors. For folks like our brethren in the Washington, D.C. biodiesel community, there will be a kind-hearted middleman available. Us.

Maryland Biodiesel would like to sell us B100, so we can adhere completely to our local, sustainable and renewable policy, without any caveats.

Bully for us!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Newsletter from .pdf file....

Click on 'images' below to get a larger version of each of the three pages of the newsletter-

Agenda for Meeting on 2/5/2008

Baltimore Biodiesel Strategic Planning Session
February 5th, 2008
5 to 7 PM at Biohabitats, Inc.

I. Introduction (5:00 - 5:15 PM)
• Introductions by attendees…state your name and why you are here.
• Overview of the Evening

II. Vision Statement (5:15 – 5:45 PM)

• Everyone create two bumper stickers that promote, or capture the “essence” of Baltimore Biodiesel (not just biodiesel). Group the bumper stickers according to common themes….Then let the group discuss this briefly to select appropriate themes and pass it off to volunteers who will draft the vision (later).

III. Setting Priorities and Creating Goals (5:45 – 6:45 PM)

• Or, write Goals on small pieces of paper and tape them up on a board. Organize and consolidate these into clusters that are similar or the same. Then discuss briefly and vote on these to identify top 5 goals in rank order. If there is time, consider one, three, and five year goals.

IV. Specific Strategies (6:45 – 7:15 PM)

• Break up into groups. Divide goals evenly between groups.
• Take 15 minutes to develop three strategies for each Goal.
• Discuss for 15 minutes to determine most appropriate strategies.
• Suggest actions for each strategy if time allows.

V. Wrap-up (7:15 – 7:45 PM)

• Discuss the Vision and Chosen Goals
• Determine Group Consent
• Approve Strategies
• Save Actions and Monitoring for another meeting? Have individual groups (marketing, technical, membership/volunteering, etc.) come up with action items?

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Advocacy, Education and Outreach

Goals for Advocacy, Education, Outreach Group

1. Attend 4-6 Events this year


-marketing group to explore opportunities

-less preaching to the choir and more education to the laymen

2. Form Partnerships with political lobbying groups


-explore the best groups to align with

3. Educate diesel owners and Biodiesel members


-write article to a trade magazine

-conduct workshops on maintenance

4. Target Diesel Professionals


-educate diesel truck drivers about the product

-align with willing diesel mechanics to promote the coop and educate other mechanics

5. Organize the other biodiesel groups/seller/home brewers of MD


-share common interests and lessons learned

-act as clearinghouse for biodiesel information

6. Build membership and maintain current base

Other Goals not discussed:

Identifying local sources of fuel

Thursday, February 7, 2008


We would like to identify government agencies that can use biodiesel.
For example, garbage trucks at the Sisson St. dump, next door to the coop, fuel up on petrodiesel onsite. Perhaps Baltimore Biodiesel Cooperative can help them mix their B20.
Agricultural diesel users (farmers and land owners) are another target for biodiesel marketing efforts as they tend to use diesel machinery for all manner of daily and weekly chores.
Fleets of 10 trucks or so would use up to 50,000 gallons per year. Identifying such a customer could increase biodiesel usage and coop growth significantly.
Shep and David will head the subcommittee to reach out to fleets.


The coop is considering buying a delivery truck.
The truck will allow mobile fueling capacity that can potentially be stored indoors in cold weather, a feature that will help keep winter fuel costs down. Delivery charges will be more than halved if we can go to the 'rack' and drive fuel to Mill Valley ourselves.
Painting the truck will give the coop mobile exposure, too.
Research has shown a truck would cost $400-$700 dollars per month for upkeep.
Membership renewals will generate about $300 per month and new signups will help defray the rest of the costs of operation.

Shep, Dave and Ted will head the finance Committee.
Their first order of business is to budget the truck for this first year.


Growth of the coop was discussed in detail:
Last year membership grew to over 90 members. We purchased and sold about 100 gallons per member on average (10,000 gallons). Our bank balance grew to over $10,000.
Growth of the coop requires additional locations for sale of biodiesel. For our five year plan, 5 'locations' were enumerated-

1)Meriweather Post Pavilion
2)Boat Marinas
3)Truck fleets
5)Washington DC

The committee identified Meriweather Post Pavilion as a good target site for 2008. Touring musicians may be ideal customers- environmentall conscious, diesel driving folks. The key enabling technology for this expansion is the BBD9000, a credit card swipe machine that identifies members that have registered in the coop's online database. The basic box has been assembled and will be fit onto our existing tank cage by March. Projected fuel sales at Mill Valley are 20,000 gallons for 2008. For Meriweather Post, 10,000 gallons.
Boaters of all stripes recognize that petrodiesel is a risky proposition on the bay- Shep and Ilya formed an outreach committee to push biodiesel to fuel suppliers for boaters. Expect about 5,000 gallons to be sold at marinas in 2008.

Goals for 2008.

Board Meeting at Biohabitats was hosted/facilitated by Paul, food provided gratis from Woodberry Kitchen, via Ted
12 folks in attendance.
Meeting commenced with introductions and personal reflection on the coop and biodiesel.
We 'visioned' for an hour and formed a subcommittee to formally craft a vision statement.
We discussed marketing strategy and physically growing the coop in 2008.
Finally we formed subcommittees, effective immediately. All members are invited to contact the chair of a subcommittee they would like to join. Some subcommittees require a volunteer chair.

Visioning Statement is being crafted by Mare and Carrie.
The group suggested we consider the following concepts: keeping it local, being part of the solution, maintaining fuel that is clean, green and sustainable. Two major goals for 2008: Find a reliable, local source of fuel. Community building

Next, we broke into two groups discussing Marketing and Distribution/Financial goals for the coming year.
Marketing notes will be posted soon. Briefly, three Subcommittees are necessary; Advocacy, Education and Outreach.
Subcommittee (chair)
Advocacy (Davis chair)
Education (Susan)
Outreach to potential members in the agricultural community( requires a volunteer subcommittee chair-your name here).

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Pump Failures (information)

The following is information the Rich found on

full link here:

Possible Fuel Pump Failure in VW TDIs, post '99 Mercedes SDs, or any diesel with an injector pump lubricated with fuel - We've seen a sharp rise in injector pump failures, a previously rare occurrence, since California switched to Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD) in October 2006. ULSD is causing problems in all types of diesel engines around the country because of its lack of lubricity and seal-shrinking properties. After surveying our customers and talking to diesel engineers and mechanics we've reached the following conclusions:

How could ULSD cause fuel pump failure?
Injector pump seals: The original formulation of petroleum diesel caused pump seals to swell, and biodiesel swells seals even more. ULSD causes the seals to shrink and harden. Too many changes can damage the seals and the pump will leak fuel and/or suck in air. Most of the failures due to damaged seals have occurred in cars that have run on all three types of fuel. Three or four fuel changes are simply too many. Injector pump seals that are only exposed to two types of fuel, biodiesel and ULSD, are apparently not failing. It is likely that injector pump seals that have never been exposed to the pre-'06 blend of diesel will be OK.

Mechanical wear: ULSD is very low in lubricity, which is not good for pumps lubricated with fuel.
Both biodiesel and ULSD attract water, and water causes rust, which is abrasive.

Cars that have run on pre-'06 diesel:

* Avoid running ULSD after switching to biodiesel. If you cannot get biodiesel when you are on the road, add the ULSD when you've still got at least 1/4 tank of biodiesel so that you are running a blend and not making an abrupt switch.
* Use a diesel fuel conditioner, such as Stanadyne, when you do not have access to biodiesel. 3 oz. of conditioner per tank of ULSD will replace the lubricity properties of biodiesel.
* Consider a preemptive injector pump rebuild, especially before a road trip that will take you away from biodiesel sources. A planned repair is a lot less expensive and inconvenient than an unplanned one. The new seals that have never been exposed to pre '06 sulfured diesel will theoretically be less likely to fail

Cars that have not run on pre-'06 diesel, or had injector pump rebuilds after October 2006:

* Current evidence shows no problems with switching back and forth between biodiesel and ULSD, but be cautious anyway. Avoid abrupt switches in fuel types whenever possible; blend fuel types between changes. Biodiesel swells seals and ULSD shrinks them, so switching back and forth can theoretically strain seals. ULSD has only been around for a year - It may simply take more time for problems caused by fuel changes to surface.
* Use a fuel conditioner when running ULSD.

All diesels running either biodiesel or ULSD -- avoid rust:

* Keep your tank full overnight when the days are warm and the nights are cold. Less air in the tank means less water condensation.
* Use a fuel conditioner.
* Add a water separator to your fuel system .

Don't get ripped off If your injector pump does fail!

* First, try switching back to biodiesel. Several people have reported that running at least 30% biodiesel re-swells the injector pump seals and stops the leaking. Let the injector pump absorb the biodiesel for 24 hours or more before giving up.
* Avoid the dealer unless you can get the repair done under warranty. VW dealers typically charge $3k to replace your injector pump and fuel injectors and purge your entire fuel system. The same repair done at an independent garage typically costs half or less of what VW charges. Dealers are also notorious for diagnosing all fuel system problems in cars with biodiesel stickers as injector pump failures, and have recommended $3k repairs when they simply failed to bleed the air out of a new fuel filter.
* If something doesn't feel right always get a second opinion before agreeing to an expensive repair.