Haverhill-Based Broco Oil Receives $500,000 State Grant to Take Biodiesel by Rail

Broco Oil at 168 Hale St. is bringing biodiesel in by rail. (Courtesy photograph.)

A Haverhill-based home heating fuel supplier was awarded a $500,000 state grant to help create improved rail access near its Hale Street depot.

Located at the former Ronnie’s Oil, 168 Hale St., Broco Oil is bringing biodiesel fuel by railroad to serve local customers. It is expected to bring 367 more railcars and result in 2,850 fewer truck trips annually. Broco is providing 40% of the project cost. Last June, owner Bob Brown told WHAV his company is expanding the oil terminal to bring in biodiesel by rail using two formerly dormant railroad switches.

“By adding percentages of biodiesel into our Massachusetts heating oil, we’re going to enable residents of the Merrimack Valley the ability to significantly lower their carbon footprint by using this type of biodiesel,” he said.

Brown, a Chelsea fire captain, relocated Broco’s headquarters from North Reading to Haverhill two years ago.

Biodiesel comes from agricultural oils, recycled cooking oil and animal fats.

The state Department of Transportation said Broco received one of of nine grants totaling more than $2.7 million from the Industrial Rail Access Program to enhance rail and freight access, economic opportunity and job growth.

Gov. Charlie Baker said, “This funding will help the state-wide rail and freight industry build and repair infrastructure. These public-private partnerships will help expand and increase efficiency of operations, providing long-lasting benefits for local economies and the state as a whole.”

Applications for the state program were received from freight rail-supported businesses across the Commonwealth. Projects were approved based upon consistency with program requirements and the level of public benefits they offered such as system preservation, mobility, economic development and safety.

Besides Broco, JSB Industries of Lawrence received $270,000 to build a rail spur at the Muffin Plant. The spur will handle an estimated 150 additional rail cars annually, reducing truck traffic and supporting the employment of an additional 10 people.

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