There is a movement underway to transform the mobile food truck industry from an also-ran in the climate change discussion, into a leading agent of change. As a refresher, there are over 3,000 mobile food trucks tracked by mobile-cuisine.com, the de facto place to go on the web for news and information regarding this rapidly growing segment of the US food industry. These food trucks are generally operated by forward thinking people, who understand that they can provide excellent fare with lower overhead in a more flexible, friendly fashion.
On average, a mobile food truck travels 50 miles from commissary to diners and back every day. 60% of mobile food trucks are diesel powered and average about 10mpg - so approximately 5 gallons of diesel fuel per day x 6 days per week = 1,560 gallons per year x $4.00 per gallon = $6,240 x 1,800 trucks = over $11MM on diesel fuel. Unfortunately diesel fuel has been and remains a significant CO2 contributor - 22.3/lbs of CO2e per gallon - so 62.6MMlbs of CO2e per year for the industry. This is not something that will make people feel warm and fuzzy; it will not enhance the gourmet fare of owner operators, and more importantly, it could be another log the regulators could put on the regulatory fire that is constantly licking at the edges of the industry.
However, change is on the menu! Springboard Biodiesel, a small, cleantech manufacturing company based in Chico, CA points out that in very few businesses does the conflagration of reason, logic and economic opportunity explode with such marked synergy (ie, this makes perfect sense from every angle), and they are working to get the message out. What's the new must have ingredient for the mobile food truck industry? Biodiesel! Here's the logic: Biodiesel is an alternative, cleaner burning fuel that's been around for decades. The EPA claims biodiesel is the most tested alternative fuel in the US fleet, and over 1.2 billion gallons of biodiesel will be produced in the US in 2013. Importantly, biodiesel is a one-for-one replacement fuel, so you don't need to modify your existing food truck. Biodiesel burns 70 - 90% cleaner than diesel fuel, depending on your feedstock - ie, what you turn into biodiesel. And here, points out Mark Roberts, CEO of Springboard, is the secret sauce for the industry, "Used cooking oil is the best source of feedstock for biodiesel, and that's why we are so excited to offer the food truck industry our small-scale, biodiesel processing appliances, which enable our customers to turn UCO into ASTM-grade biodiesel for less than $1.00/gallon.
I view the opportunity available to both owner/operators and commissaries as the Mother of all no-brainers - make better profits while reducing GHG emissions, and tell your customers about it." Springboard has BioPro™ units operating in 14 countries and in all 50 states. Their client list includes 65 US colleges and universities, Sara Lee Foods, and the US National Guard. "We think the food truck industry can benefit on so many levels," Mr. Roberts continued, "We just need to get the word out and then the facts should speak for themselves".
Change is on the menu. ***************************************
Springboard Biodiesel is clean-tech manufacturing company that makes, markets and sells small-scale biodiesel processing systems that enable customers to produce biodiesel locally and consume biodiesel locally from a wide array of feedstock sources, for less than $1.00/gallon. They can be reached at (530)894-1793.