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    C-store Operator Looks to Make Biodiesel

    The owner of Red Birch Convenience Stores will attempt to make the fuel from canola seeds grown in the local area.

    MARTNSVILLE, Va. -- Canola oil may be the future for Red Birch Convenience Stores, as owner Dean Price will attempt in the next few months to make his own biodiesel from locally grown canola seeds and sell the fuel at his stores, the Martinsville Bulletin reported.

    As part of the project, Price will work with local farmers to grow canola seed, which he will then buy. He has signed on about 40 farmers to grow a total of 1,200 acres of Virginia canola, the report stated.

    "It wasn't really a hard sell," Price told the paper, adding that farmers are looking for a new crop to replace tobacco.

    The crops will be turned into canola oil and then into biodiesel fuel at a facility located at Price's Red Birch Convenience Store in Bassett Forks, Va. The fuel will be sold to truckers across the road at his diesel pumps, the Bulletin reported.

    "We grow it, we make it, and we sell it," he told the paper.

    Price hung signs communicating the project at the station, and planted a patch of the Virginia canola variety he is using there. He expects to begin production within 30 to 45 days, producing 1,000 gallons of biodiesel daily, beginning with waste oil from restaurants and incorporating the crops when they are ready in June, according to the report.

    The company was started by Price and his partners to produce biodiesel about a year ago, the report stated. Several factors interested him in the project, including America's dependence on foreign oil and the fuel's environmentally friendly nature, he told the paper.

    In addition, he expects to gain a $1 per gallon federal tax credit by producing biodiesel, the report stated. Savings from transportation will reduce costs, and Price plans to sell the fuel for 5 to 10 cents cheaper than regular diesel, while still improving profits, he told the Bulletin.

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