First Solar Powered Biofuel Station Opens
Last week, SeQuential Biofuels opened the first solar powered biofuel station in Oregon. Attending the opening was Senator Ron Wyden and other state representatives. SeQuential Biofuels will offer biofuels to the mainstream market under a single, branded canopy. The biofuel station, located just off Interstate 5 in Eugene, Oregon, will be offering a full range of ethanol and biodiesel blends: E10, E85, B5, B20 and B100A portion of the biodiesel dispensed at the station is received from SeQuential-Pacific Biodiesel in Salem, Oregon. SeQuential-Pacific Biodiesel is Oregon's only ASTM-certified, commercial biodiesel production facility, producing one million gallons of biodiesel per year from used cooking oil collected throughout the Pacific Northwest and from canola oil grown in Eastern Oregon. Biofuels, both biodiesel and ethanol, are cleaner burning, produce fewer greenhouse gases and are made in the USA.
"We have watched the offering of mainstream organic products and recycled products expand significantly over the last five years", said Ian Hill, project developer and SeQuential Biofuels co-founder. "Today our customers are demanding domestically-produced, renewable motor fuel options as well."
The biofuels are only part of the story behind this unique business, however. From first glance at the SeQuential retail site one can see that this is no ordinary pit stop. The site considers the role of the automobile while integrating the belief that commerce and the natural environment can co-exist. Renewable energy, energy efficiency and sustainable design elements are themes throughout the site. Approaching the site, the dominant features are the 244 solar panels that cover the fueling islands and the 4800 plants installed in five inches of soil on the roof of the convenience store. The 33kW solar array will provide 30% to 50% of the electrical power that the station will require annually. The "living roof" will help to control rainwater runoff on the site and will help cool the convenience store during the summer. Other eco-friendly design elements include stormwater detention "bioswales" where plants will filter pollutants from rainwater that rinses the roadways and parking areas and will clean the water before it leaves the site. SeQuential also has made a significant effort to source building materials that are made in the Pacific Northwest region.
"Building energy efficient buildings that work with the natural environment adds to SeQuential's overall goal of sustainability and responsibility," Hill said. "It just makes sense."
The land where the station is located was the site of a previous fuel station that shut down more than ten years ago. Under supervision of the former owner, the site had been contaminated by leaking gasoline tanks and pumps and the owner had abandoned it. SeQuential worked with Lane County and with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality to clean up the previously polluted "Brownfield" property and put it back into productive use.
"Businesses and individuals are increasingly aware of the impact that their choices have on our economy and on our natural environment," Hill said. "SeQuential is dedicated to setting an example of responsible, sustainable development and to offering product options that create the most positive impact on people's lives and communities."
The fuel station also includes a convenience store that carries top-shelf natural foods and beverages, many of which are produced by regional companies. The store also houses an annex of Sweet Life Patisserie, an established local coffee and pastry shop renowned for its premium coffees, baked goods and savories, complete with wireless internet and an inviting seating area. Local farmers will stock a seasonal fresh produce stand also located at the station.