Imperium Renewables & Natural Selection Farms to Produce 1 Million Gallons of Biodiesel from Canola Grown in Washington State

Largest contract for Canola oil demonstrates new opportunities for Washington farmers

SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Imperium Renewables and Natural Selection Farms have formed a new partnership ushering in a new phase in Washington States alternative fuels industry. Imperium Renewables, one of the nations largest biodiesel producers, will be utilizing canola grown at Natural Selection Farms in Sunnyside, Washington to produce up to 1 million gallons of biodiesel. The deal represents the largest purchase agreement for Washington State produced canola and further fuses the states agricultural sector with the emerging growth economy in alternative fuels.

“We’ve always said that we’d be the state’s biggest customer for Washington State produced canola oil, and today we are. This is just the beginning of what we hope will further establish a new market for Washington State farmers as well as Washington State consumers of the fuel.”

This partnership demonstrates the incredible opportunity for our states agricultural industry to benefit from the increasing demand for biodiesel within the state as well as nationally, said John Plaza, Imperiums Founder and President. Weve always said that wed be the states biggest customer for Washington State produced canola oil, and today we are. This is just the beginning of what we hope will further establish a new market for Washington State farmers as well as Washington State consumers of the fuel.

Diversifying our crop base to include canola makes both great agricultural and business sense, said Ted Durfey, owner of Natural Selection Farms. Were proud to be doing our part to clean up the air, increase jobs and revenue in our state and reduce our nations dependency on foreign oil. I hope others will realize the benefits of adding canola to their crop mix.

"I commend these entrepreneurial companies for building the next Washington and moving us toward energy independence," said Governor Gregoire. "Renewable fuels will help bridge the rural and urban divide in Washington: our farmers can grow crops like canola, we can crush the seeds in places like Sunnyside, refine the oil in Hoquiam for uses across the state.

Imperium and Natural Selection Farms have been collaborating for 18 months to develop this critical relationship between the agriculture and biodiesel industries in Washington State. This deal:

  • Provides a significant economic incentive to increase the acreage of Washington state canola;
  • Provides new revenue opportunities and cost-saving potential for regional farmers and dairies;
  • Provides Imperium with a reliable, premium local feedstock (and one which is suited to create fuel that performs well in cold weather).

Imperium took its first delivery of 6,000 gallons of Natural Selections canola oil on Tuesday, January 30 at its Seattle Biodiesel facility. Imperium Founder and President John Plaza will discuss the partnership today as he participates in a conference on the future of Transportation Biofuels. Plaza was invited by Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

The benefits of growing canola oil extend past its use as a fuel. It can be used as a rotational crop with wheat, and studies have shown that wheat yields increase when following a canola planting. Because of canolas early harvest, it allows for an additional planting of a short-season forage crop or opens up land for livestock grazing. It also requires only 15 inches of water per year, allowing farmers to dedicate limited water resources to other crops, while achieving revenue from land. Finally, Washington state dairies can utilize the high quality meal from cold pressed and extruded canola instead of importing meal from Canada, keeping revenue within the state.

Biodiesel is a clean burning alternative fuel made from oils derived from farm crops, and can be used in any conventional diesel engine. It can be used in pure form (100 percent biodiesel) or in a blended form, in which it replaces a percentage of regular diesel. A U.S. Department of Energy study determined that biodiesel emits about 78 percent less carbon dioxide than petroleum diesel.

Imperiums high quality fuel meets or exceeds ASTM D-6751 specifications and is currently sold through a network of the Pacific Northwests largest fuel distributors.

About Imperium Renewables

Imperium Renewables is a leader in the renewable energy industry. It was the first biodiesel focused company in the United States to be funded by venture capital and it is currently the largest producer of biodiesel on the West Coast. When its new facility, Imperium Grays Harbor begins production in mid-2007, it will operate the largest biodiesel production facility in the country, producing up to 100 million gallons of biodiesel per year. The company has also created a number of proprietary new production innovations and technology. Imperium Renewables has received venture funding from the leading funds in the U.S., including Technology Partners and Nth Power. More information is available on the web at

About Natural Selection Farms

Natural Selection Farms, Inc. in Sunnyside has been a leader in environmentally responsible agriculture, including their composting operation which uses dairy waste to produce organic compost. Their biosolids recycling program for soil nutrition has earned two national EPA awards and the prestigious King County Green Globe Award. Beginning in 2003, the United States Department of Agriculture Small Business Innovative Research program funded research to carry out variety trials on canola cultivars to produce a feasibility study on biofuels and to construct an oilseed pressing facility. With assistance from the Washington State Department of Agriculture, Governor Gregoire's office and the Port of Sunnyside, this facility is the first to become operational within the state.


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