Hero BX

By Sherry Ziesenheim
GreenEriePA Writer

The Erie Regional Chamber & Growth Partnership affirms that "Erie is an emerging center for biofuels and environmental research, producing more than 45 million U.S. gallons of biofuels a year." Hero BX, Erie's biofuels facility, is leading the way in production and implementation of this technology.

What is biofuel?

According to Chris Peterson, Vice President of Finance & Commodity Risk at Hero BX, the definition of biofuel is "A type of energy derived from renewable plant and animal materials. Examples of biofuels include ethanol (often made from corn in the United States and sugarcane in Brazil), biodiesel (vegetable oils and liquid animal fats), green diesel (derived from algae and other plant sources) and biogas (methane derived from animal manure and other digested organic material). Biofuels are most useful in liquid or gas form because they are easier to transport, deliver and burn cleanly."

Biofuels, such as biodiesel, have both environmental and economic benefits. "Biodiesel is better for the environment because it is made from renewable resources and has lower emissions compared to petroleum diesel. It is less toxic than table salt and biodegrades as fast as sugar. Since it is made in the USA from renewable resources such as soybeans, its use decreases our dependence on foreign oil and contributes to our own economy" according to Peterson.

One hundred percent biodiesel can be used as a direct replacement for petroleum diesel, but is not recommended for all applications. According to Peterson, "because of its detergent-like properties, it may result in the release of built-up residue and cause fuel filters to clog." Most manufacturers (Ford, GM, Chrysler etc.) have approved a blend of Biodiesel up to 20%.

Erie is notorious for its long cold winters; Hero BX makes a winter grade biofuel that is intended for the harsh Erie winter climate. According to Peterson, "Biodiesel can be used year-round. However, there are some considerations for winter applications. There are different "grades" of biodiesel just like gasoline. The winter grades are designed to perform in cold temperatures similar to what we experience here in Erie. Typically, our customers manage their biodiesel blends down to 20% or less in the winter months. This prevents cold weather performance issues."

According to Peterson, "Hero BX is the industry leader in providing the highest quality product to its customers at the best possible price. We strive to be at the forefront of industry technology in feedstock and process development and will continue to relieve our country's dependence on foreign oil by offering a high-quality, domestically produced renewable alternative to petroleum diesel fuel.

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