Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Ray Kemp-Biodiesel Guru

Local man in biodiesel business
For The Salinas Californian

Ray Kemp of Moss Landing is doing everything he can to move away from the "tree-hugging hippie" perception of the biodiesel vehicle fuel industry.

As an entrepreneur, Kemp is developing a business model for biodiesel users groups, or BUGs, to collect used cooking oil, process it into biodiesel and distribute it among their own ranks. This takes contacting restaurants and persuading them to give away their used fryer oil to BUGs.

"Most (restaurant) own-ers are willing to bend over backwards to make my process easier," Kemp said. Restaurants that don't give away their used cooking oil have to pay companies, such as Salinas Tallow, to take it away and convert it to "yellow grease." The yellow grease is used as feed for the pork and poultry industries.

BUGs are a new concept in the biodiesel industry. Much like co-operatives, a group of people organizes the collection of waste oil and individuals perform the chemical reactions that yield biodiesel.

BUGs can be composed of any number of people, but Kemp's has a list of 50 clients spanning from San Jose to Moss Landing. These people have to sign a waiver stating that they understand what biodiesel is and what they are doing by using biodiesel.

"One of the elements of this is that it requires self-motivation," Kemp said. "It requires stepping away from normal social functions, such as going to a gas station. People have to put in effort in order to participate in it, which makes it self-regulating."

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