Founded in 2012, Portland-based Green Innovations Inc. takes a local approach to revolutionizing the diesel industry.
For companies in the trucking industry the cost of diesel fuel plays an enormous role in determining profit margins—as prices soar, profits plunge. Trucking companies whose business depends on operating small to medium sized fleets of trucks have no choice but to pay volatile market rates that have seen a nearly 250 percent rise in the past decade to an average of $4.35 a gallon in the Metro region, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Green Innovations Inc. is helping companies in Portland’s trucking industry mitigate losses incurred by the rising cost of diesel fuel by providing systems capable of converting nearly 10,000 gallons of reusable diesel fuel per day at a cost $1.99 per gallon.
Using proprietary technology developed by company co-founder and Portland State University student Michael Boros, Green Innovations Inc. recycles waste oils to produce affordable, clean diesel fuel. When operating at full capacity, the Green Innovations system can produce as much as 155,000 gallons of fuel a month.
The plan, according to company co-founder and Portland State University student Heber Miguel, is to partner with local oil-changing companies to procure the raw materials needed to produce the diesel fuel and then to install Green Innovations systems on-site at local transportation companies to provide clean, easy access to recycled diesel.
From need to innovation.
While Miguel and Boros founded Green Innovations Inc. in 2012, their partnership goes even further back. As a sophomore at Portland State University, Miguel took it upon himself to help his family pay medical bills that had accrued while his father underwent treatment for cancer.
“I knew a minimum wage job wouldn’t be enough to help my family,” Miguel said, “and I had a background in business. I had seen family members start and build businesses. So I took money I had saved, took out a loan and invested in a towing company here in Portland.
“As the price of gas kept rising, our profit margin fell to near 2 percent. Fuel was going up, but our contracts were remaining the same. It just wasn’t sustainable anymore. Something had to be done.
“Michael had a background in engineering and chemistry that he put to work to build the original system that uses the oil we collect from places like Jiffy Lube. He went back to school at Portland State and took the classes he needed to learn how to recycle materials like plastics and rubber into oil that we could then convert as well.
“That system saved us 63 percent on our fuel costs,” Miguel added. “That’s when we knew it was time to start Green Innovations.”
With partners and investors lined up and a trip to the finals at this year’s Oregon Entrepreneurs Network (OEN) Angel Oregon competition, Green Innovations Inc. is ready to start providing the Metro region’s trucking and shipping industries a reliable, affordable and sustainable solution to the rising cost of fuel: on-site diesel pumped at a fixed price of $1.99 per gallon.
Entrepreneurship and the University.
While Green Innovations Inc. is not a Portland State University spinoff company, Heber Miguel believes the resources available through the University to student entrepreneurs like himself would be of great value to students interested entrepreneurship. Resources such as the Entrepreneurship Club, the Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship and the Business Accelerator, and programs such as the Startup Weekend and Lab2Market can help aspiring entrepreneurs develop their ideas and business plans, perfect their pitches and connect to the broader network of entrepreneurs, such as OEN, in Portland’s thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem.
“I’d tell the aspiring student entrepreneur,” Miguel said, “if you have an idea, give it a month. Attend a few meetings at the E-Club. They’ll have so much feedback to offer and help to give. You’ll have to make a lot of changes, but I really think that with enough time anyone can succeed.”
Combining innovative technology and sustainable practices to solve problems such as the rising cost of diesel fuel exemplifies some of the best of what Portland entrepreneurs and Portland State University students have to offer. Every year the Green Innovations system will keep millions of gallons of dirty oil out of area landfills, rivers and streams by converting that oil into diesel fuel. With the cost of crude oil nearly guaranteed to continue its rise, the savings Green Innovations Inc. could pass along to its customers is incalculable. It is Green Innovations Inc.’s mission to bring the public the next big thing in fuel. Keep an eye out for this exciting startup company as they just may be on the cusp of doing exactly that.
Visit and Contact Green Innovation Inc. at greenfleetpdx.com