• RonKo Media Productions

Springboard Biodiesel enables US military base to save millions of dollars, mitigate carbon


Through the use of Springboard Biodiesel BioPro™ biodiesel processing units, the U.S. Army saved nearly $5 million in fuel costs in Afghanistan. (Photo: Springboard Biodiesel)

Springboard Biodiesel, the leading small-scale biodiesel processing company in the United States, shared a recent summary of biodiesel production from one of its premier U.S. customers—the Bagram Air Base in Bagram, Afghanistan.


  • Price of BioPro™ 380EX & T76 System: $35,000

  • Duration of Program: Six years

  • Number of Gallons Produced: 500,000

  • Average Number of Gallons Produced Per Day: 275

  • Total Fuel Savings: USD$4,670,000

  • Total Carbon Savings: 4,875 tons

“The United States will have entirely pulled out of Afghanistan by the end of August, and no matter your politics, one thing is entirely clear,” said Matthew Roberts, co-founder and president of Springboard Biodiesel. “The army saved $4.7 million dollars in six years converting used cooking oils from the mess halls into a clean-burning fuel called biodiesel, using American-made equipment that cost them only $35,000. I cannot think of a better example of an environmental and commercial win-win case study.”

Chris Waechter, country environmental manager with Fluor Mission Solutions, part of the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program (LOGCAP), said, “Based on fuel savings, we paid for this equipment in our first 16 days of operation.”

Waechter began and oversaw this program for military contractor Fluor starting in May 2015. “We needed to establish a better way to manage the cooking oil waste stream and we recommended converting it to biodiesel,” Waechter said. “We needed a turnkey solution that was easy to operate and our research led us to Springboard Biodiesel.” Waechter added that, “In year five, we had a backlog of used cooking oil collected from other installations around the country, and this prompted us to purchase a second system from Springboard.”

The kitchen grease-to-biodiesel program Waechter ran for Fluor at Bagram proves this model could be replicated at any U.S. military installation, foreign or domestic, to save money on energy while also producing a fuel that the California Air Resources Board deems the least carbon-intensive of all the liquid fuels.

A well-timed report issued by The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine this year recommends that the U.S. Army incorporate biodiesel as one of its primary fuel sources for combat vehicles through the year 2035.

“We’re honored to support the U.S. military, as well as 100 universities and a long list of municipalities, restaurants and resorts that have access to used cooking oils,” Roberts said. “Any group that feeds people can collect its used cooking oil and make this fuel, locally, for a total production cost of about $1 per gallon.”

Biobased Diesel™ editor Ron Kotrba wrote and published a more in-depth story about this small-scale success story in the recently released Summer issue (pages 28-29).

About Springboard Biodiesel Incorporated in 2008, and based in Chico, California, clean-tech manufacturer Springboard Biodiesel has been making its iconic family of small-scale biodiesel processing equipment for 13 years. The company has its BioPro™ biodiesel processing units in operation in all 50 states and in 37 countries, representing a total installed capacity of more than 9 million gallons per year and CO2e annual reduction of 175 million pounds. Customers are converting used cooking oil, fish oil, animal fats and non-edible seed crops into biodiesel and helping create secure, accessible, independently owned, cleaner-burning fuel all over the world.

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