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Fueling the imagination

While it’s not necessarily a new concept, a group of biodiesel supporters in Bremerton meet this week to discuss the possibilities of bringing the non-petroleum fuel to the city.

Biodiesel is a vegetable-based product that can be mixed with petroleum diesel or used on its own in an unmodified diesel engine.

Organizers of the first West Sound Biodiesel Conference, held Thursday, May 19 p.m. at the Norm Dicks Government Center, hoped to spark interest in a biodiesel cooperative so the fuel will can be available here.

“We put a man on the moon, we can certainly do that,” said Roy Runyon, biodiesel proponent.

Topics covered at the conference included: Grassroots and Homebrew Biodiesel, The Business of Biodiesel, Biodiesel for the Boating Community, Small Biodiesel Processors for Small Producers, Best Vehicles for Biodiesel and Biodiesel Now-A Call for Action.

Biodiesel has been quickly gaining momentum as an alternative fuel. It is far less damaging to the environment than petroleum and a sustainable fuel that could lessen the country’s dependence on foreign oil said Kyle Cruver of Bremerton.

“It’s something a person can do to become sustainable and self-reliant,” he said of switching to biodiesel.

‘It’s a simple thing that doesn’t require a specific vehicle and it can be done at any level,” he said.

Biodiesel in its purest form is B100, but it can be mixed with traditional diesel fuel. King County’s Metro bus fleet recently began a pilot program to integrate biodiesel use into its fleet. According to its Web site, the agency uses more than 10 million gallons of diesel a year and 500,000 gallons of that will be biodiesel. The goal is to get all of its 1,200 buses on biodiesel by the end of 2006.

Kitsap County uses “clean diesel” buses in its fleet, but Cruver would like to see them convert to biodiesel.

“(Low sulphur fuel) doesn’t reduce the dependence on foreign oil,” he said.

Cruver became familiar with biodiesel when he served as chairman of Vashon Island’s community council. He led the council through Y2K and Sept. 11, 2001 when there was an “impassioned movement on the island to become self-sufficient,”Cruver said.

He hopes to see the same push for a biodiesel operation in Kitsap County.

“This is a possibility for Kitsap County to define itself,” he said.

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