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Biodiesel Is Coming»

Mirabito Fuel Group will receive state grant to build biodiesel base

Biodiesel fuel is coming one step closer to the area, thanks to a grant from the state Clean Cities Challenge Program.

The Mirabito Fuel group will receive about $142,000 from the clean cities program, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority announced Monday.

"I think them getting the grant is a great thing," said Chris Amar. "It works toward a more sustainable energy system."

Amar and his wife, Harriet, from South New Berlin, own a car and several tractors that run on biodiesel fuel.

Mirabito will use the money to create a biodiesel base and purchase actual biodiesel fuel.
"Biodiesel is a very easy way for our country to lessen its dependence on foreign oil-producing countries and at the same time offer a more environmentally friendly fuel for consumers," said Joseph Mirabito, president of Mirabito Fuel Group. "It is a win-win situation as far as we are concerned for energy suppliers, users and our environment."

Mirabito Fuel will install two tanks and other structures in Oneonta and Sidney.

In Sidney, according to the release, Mirabito will install a 15,000-gallon tank, plus a loading and unloading dispensing system.

The tank will store B100 fuel, a fuel derived from soy.

"It burns cleaner than traditional diesel fuel, is biodegradable, non-toxic and reduces greenhouse gases and hazardous emissions such as particulate matter, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and carbon dioxide," the release said.

Mirabito will also use some of the $142,800 to buy about 8,500 gallons of B100 fuel for the Sidney terminal.

Soy isn?t the ideal crop for making biodiesel fuel, Chris Amar said.

"It?s very energy-intensive," he said. "A better way would be to grow a crop that?s better for oil."

A 4,000-gallon tank, fuel dispenser and pump will be installed at Mirabito?s facilities in Oneonta.

That tank will hold B20 fuel, which is a combination 20 percent biodiesel fuel and 80 percent petrodiesel. Petrodiesel is made from petroleum.

"It?s better than 100 percent petrodiesel," Amar said. "But it would be good if it had a higher percentage."

According to the release, about 38,000 gallons of B20 fuel will be sold to fleets and private citizens who drive diesel vehicles during the first year of operation in Oneonta.

"We would like to see people to be able to pull up anywhere and get 100 percent biodiesel," Amar said. "That would be a wonderful thing."

Mirabito Fuel is one of six projects in the state to receive funding. The six projects will receive a total of $800,000.

"The Mirabito thing is a good step in the right direction," Amar said.

Project funds come from State Energy Plan money the U.S. Department of Energy gave to the state.

"These projects in Sidney and Oneonta will assist in this goal, and provide the public with an alternative fuel in the form of biodiesel," said Peter Smith, authority president. "The use of this fuel has been limited in this area due to the lack of supporting infrastructure."

The Clean Cities Challenge gives funds to participating cities to either purchase alternative fuel vehicles or to set up refueling infrastructure.

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