North Carolina's Growing Strengths: The F3 Program

In western North Carolina, several businesses and organizations are partnering to implement a one-of-a-kind, closed-loop energy project that benefits both the local economy and the environment. The Field to Fryer to Fuel program, or F3, is a joint venture of AdvantageWest Economic Development Group, Blue Ridge Biofuels, Biltmore Estate, and others supported by the Biofuels Center of North Carolina. If the 12-month project is successful, this model could be established in other regions of the state.

Under the program, Blue Ridge Biofuels will produce edible oils from regionally grown oilseeds, and then essentially lease these oils to restaurant partners for their frying needs. After use and collection, Blue Ridge will convert the fryer oil into ASTM D6751-quality fuel for local fuel customers, including Biltmore Estate and others.

Progress is already under way, as Biltmore Estate recently planted nearly 50 acres of canola and will plant the remaining few acres in the next two weeks. Based on regional climate and soil type, the Estate identified four varieties that should provide quality yields for the project. Appalachian State University (ASU) and N.C. State University’s Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center will advise the feedstock crop-growing process.

On the conversion side of the F3 program, Blue Ridge Biofuels recently acquired 20 gallons of crude canola from the ASU-Catawba County Biodiesel Research Station. This crude canola is currently being refined on a lab scale to determine the most suitable refining method for producing quality fryer oils. The samples will be delivered to a lab for end-product and crude oil analysis.

For more information on the F3 program, contact AdvantageWest at #828.687.7234.