Research Project Information

Research Project Summary Information

Upstream/Downstream Biodiesel Network for Upstate New York(ST9428-1)

Northern Biodiesel Inc.


Biodiesel is a renewable diesel fuel substitute made from new or used vegetable oils or animal fats. When made to standards defined by American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), biodiesel can be sold in diesel transportation markets.

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Project Description

The overall goal was to explore barriers to biodiesel use in upstate New York and use results to help Northern Biodiesel develop a production facility. Since the project began, Northern Biodiesel built a 14-23 million gallon/year (MGPY) biodiesel production facility in upstate New York. Northern had originally planned to build a smaller five MGPY plant. Upstate New York does not generate enough feedstock to satisfy the capacity for the many biodiesel facilities in planning here, so the project helped create an incentive for farmers to grow oilseeds. In addition, the effort developed a marketing mechanism for biodiesel in upstate New York, and identified and approached fuel distributers and potential end users for the product.


A successful feasibility study helped Northern Biodiesel become a New York manufacturer of biodiesel. Previous to this effort, New York imported all its biodiesel, and use is growing rapidly.

Project Results

Using NYSERDA’s statewide feasibility study as a starting point, researchers achieved the following objectives: 1) quantify current and potential soybean production; 2) identify certain potential targeted farmer incentives such as agricultural cooperatives; and, 3) estimate growth of oilseed production to quantify risk. Crushing capacity was also addressed. Discussions occurred with the soybean crusher, Sheppard Grains. Though it did not come to pass, a joint venture between Northern Biodiesel and a revived Homer Oil that addresses energy requirements, possible improvements, and guaranteed purchase agreements was also explored. (Homer is one of New York’s three soybean crushers, and has recently gone out of business.) A marketing research campaign identified and interviewed businesses interested in transporting, selling, or using biodiesel. Preliminary advertising and a biodiesel public awareness campaign were planned. Overall, information was gathered in four key areas: farmer identification, crushing capacity, biodiesel production, and identification of biodiesel distributors.


Northern Biodiesel Inc.
369 Route 104
Ontario, NY 14519

Principle Investigator

John Vavalo

Universities Involved


Project Type:

Indigenous/Renewable Energy Resources

Technologies Types:

NYSERDA Contact Information

Judy Jarnefeld


R&D - Environment & Energy Res

Contract Details

Start Date: 1/11/2010
Project Status: Active
Contract Number: ST9428-1

Last Updated: 1/6/2014 5