As conscientious start-ups go, sometimes, efforts at the local level can have a far greater impact than a monolithic high tech project due to the local goodwill they create. Such is the case with Dogpatch Biofuels.
Dogpatch is the first B100 biodiesel filling station in San Francisco. Despite having only been in business since December, they’re well on their way to their goal of selling 1000 gallons per day. Dogpatch has teamed up with other biofuels filling stations in the Bay Area to get volume discounts on fuel made from used cooking oil, as well as to share marketing expenditures. Their innovative approach to collaborative marketing saves costs and increases impact: a driver with a diesel car will likely have to fill in other cities, and any new drivers who come into the community will be a boon for every station owner.
Dogpatch is committed to providing a needed service: fuel. But their goals go further, providing nourishment to the body and the soul through their store full of organic treats and locally produced products. Customers are encouraged to take a load off and hang out on the couches with the family dog, Tofu Pup. They’ve managed to turn a mundane task like filling your gas tank into an experience.
The beauty of biofuels – at least on the small scale that gives used vegetable oil a second chance at life – is creating a solution that works with existing technoogy to get us off petroleum now. There’s no waiting for fancy electric cars to come off the production line. Of course, Dogpatch won’t solve global warming on their own – biofuel is quite energy intensive to produce from scratch, but as a local solution for dealing with a waste product while eliminating the need for foreign oil, it’s quite elegant.
Of course, the biggest challenge with popularizing biofuels is the straightforward supply/demand chicken and egg dilemma that plagues any transportation innovation: car owners won’t switch to diesel cars if there aren’t available biofueling stations, and without existing demand for the fuel, traditional stations aren’t switching over anytime soon. That’s why Dogpatch is sponsoring a petition on the supply side: calling for car manufacturers to to make the newest diesel cars biodiesel compliant. Give’em a sign!