Updated March 24 at 7:24am

Newport Biodiesel named Audubon Business of the Year


SMITHFIELD – The Audubon Society of Rhode Island named Newport Biodiesel as its 2012 Business of the Year at the society’s annual meeting on Monday, Oct. 21.

Audubon recognized Chris Benzak, managing partner of 312 Connell Highway-based Newport Biodiesel, for his leadership in “applying environmentally sound practices in a thriving community business,” according to an Audubon release.

The company produces sustainable fuel from waste vegetable oil collected from more than 1000 restaurant partners across New England. According to Audubon, Newport Biodiesel is committed to a model of local collection of waste cooking oil, location production of biodiesel and the local distribution of its fuel to homes and businesses throughout Rhode Island.

“The changes to the earth’s ecosystems as temperatures increase through global warming threaten the intricate relationship between plants, insects, and the animals that eat them,” Audubon Senior Director of Policy Eugenia Marks said in prepared remarks. “Audubon Society of Rhode Island works on this enigmatic issue through the promotion of energy efficiency and conservation as well as promoting energy sources that are non-fossil fuel based.”

“While burning biodiesel still emits carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxides, carbon concentrations are reduced by 85 percent compared to petroleum diesel and sulfur dioxides are virtually eliminated,” said Marks. “The avoidance of drilling and refining, plus the fact that the fuel is produced locally thereby using less energy for transportation, makes this renewable product very desirable and effective.”

The nonprofit Audubon lauded Newport Biodiesel’s leadership efforts and sound environmental practices, applauding them for “demonstrating the natural fit between business and the environment.”


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