Biodiesel star of Bently open house

More than 700 Carson Valley residents turned out to learn about biodiesel fuel at Bently Biofuels' open house Saturday.

Residents were curious to hear about the biodiesel process, when biodiesel was going to be available and how much it was going to cost. Biodiesel fuel was available for sale in 5-gallon containers.

"It went really great," said Carlo Luri, general manager of Bently Biofuels Co. "It was supposed to run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. but we got our first early birds at 8:50. I finished my last lecture at 4:45."

"Mr. Bently likes the educational part of it," Luri said. "He was pretty excited about the turnout."

Joyce Hughes of Minden said she came to the tour and lecture with her son and daughter-in-law.

"I can't see how the pieces are going to fit together the way fuel is being controlled," Hughes said. "Today I was made to realize that biodiesel is recyclable. It makes me decide what to buy for my next car. They (Bently representatives) answered questions and they did a good job of explaining everything.

"As an engineer, I suffer the fault of being technical but being on the business side, I try to tailor my talk to the level of the audience," said Luri who talked about biodiesel in the auditorium in the Bently Pressurized Bearing building.

"I raise up the American flag and say that biodiesel is made in the U.S.A.," said Luri in his lecture. "We can reduce our dependency on foreign fuel and it keeps money in the local economy. It's a win-win for everybody.

"The Environmental Protection Agency has done studies on biodiesel. It's naturally low in sulfur. Sulfur burned in the atmosphere causes acid rain and particulates. Biodiesel burns more efficiently," he said.

"It's renewable - made from agricultural and recycled feed stocks and used cooking oil," he said. "It's our responsibility to be more energy efficient - to buy more fuel-efficient vehicles and get rid of those SUVs.

"Maybe most of you drove up in one," Luri told the audience, "but hopefully it was a diesel."

"It's great that Bently is taking care of the land," said Sandy Thomas of Gardnerville. "I came just to find out what Mr. Bently is doing. At least the land will stay in agriculture instead of housing."

Dee Harris of Gardnerville also came to the tour to find out about biodiesel.

"It sounds like a great idea for the whole Valley and environment," she said. "There has to be an answer to petroleum fuel running out."

Not everyone came to the open house totally unaware of the benefits of biofuels.

"I've been a fan of biodiesel since around 1993 when I was a member of the Western Regional Biomass Energy program," said Matt Frolich, Gardnerville resident and former Douglas High School science teacher from 1969-1973.

"Don Bently is enthusiastic and that's what makes it," said Frolich. "You have to have enough money - no one wants to finance the first plant, just the second plant. He's doing a wonderful job by planting alfalfa and using the land for renewable, sustainable production."

Mike Beteag, Bently lab operations manager, was on hand to explain the lab's testing facilities.

"It's amazing how many start-up companies are getting involved with biodiesel," he said. "We help test and calibrate for small, independent companies getting involved with biodiesel production - garage operations, people using it for hobbies and for their own consumption."

Beteag used biodiesel fuel in his own riding tractor to mow his lawn last summer.

"I burned it myself and didn't see any decrease in efficiency." he said.

Mark Joncas, from Gardnerville and an owner of a diesel truck, came to the open house to find out when biodiesel was going to be available to the public.

"I wanted to find out the shelf life of the fuel, it's burning power," said Joncas. "I'm anxious to see an increase of production to bring the cost down and to go to a Bently gas station.

"The fact that the plant runs on solar power and the recycling of the restaurant oil is really cool to me. Waste oil is mixed with chemicals and a fertilizer material results so everything goes back to the earth," he said.

Luri said that while a lot of interest was shown by residents in using biodiesel, "setting up a service station is not the easiest thing in the world." He said that a few 5-gallon containers of biodiesel are still available for $25. These containers can be refilled for $3.50 per gallon. Call Bently Biofuels at 783-0123 or visit the Web at for information.

Luri said that they want to hold a free monthly lecture series.

More technical information about biodiesel fuel, such as biodiesel chemistry, will be presented in hour-long lectures in the Bently auditorium in the Pressurized Bearing building. Luri said more information about the lecture series can be found at Web site:

For further information:

Bently Biofuels Co.,

General information: 783-0123 or

Vegetable oil pickup for restaurants: 267-7659 or


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