Focused on the Future

If it has mechanical parts or it’s sown from a seed, Nevada resident Donald Bently can probably enhance its performance or improve its propensity for growth.

To shorten a very long story, in fact, this accomplished inventor and engineer has chiseled himself some commanding niches in the most curious and seemingly disparate of industries: pressurized bearing and fluid technologies, equipment monitoring, rotating machinery, sustainable agriculture and, among other things, alternative fuel production.  

Bently has mastered technological concepts that most folks can’t pronounce without tripping over their tongue: fluid-induced instability, X-Y transducer configurations, polar plotting, vector nulling, shaft modal identification and circumferential average velocity ratios.

That’s the short list, too.

The point is, it’s little wonder that this World War II veteran’s first foray into the retail world—the world of grab-and-go and gasoline—is marked by inordinate sums of innovation, ingenuity and scrupulous attention to detail.

Bently’s new retail arm, Bently Biofuels Outpost, opened this past fall in Minden, Nev. It’s the natural culmination of agricultural and alternative energy endeavors he made over the past three decades.

The Outpost is a 3,600-square-foot convenience store that sits within the shadow of Bently Biofuels Co., a massive renewable fuels plant that opened in April 2005. The plant converts used cooking oil and canola seeds into biodiesel. Bentley distributes biofuels from the plant to five other units in California and Nevada.

Further up the fuel supply chain is Bently’s agricultural entity, Bently Agrowdyanamics. In a nutshell, the company has 38,000 acres of farmland on which it practices sustainable farming and improved use of natural resources, honing new methods in water conservation, composting, soil preservation and crop harvesting. There’s also a cattle farm in the mix. 

The entire system works like a well-oiled machine, aligned under Bently’s goal of “enlightened use of resources.”  
Bently’s entry into the retail arena wasn’t born from some fly-by-night epiphany. The Biofuels Outpost is a multimillion-dollar convenience store that the U.S. Green Building Council has awarded a coveted gold certification for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).

Bently said it took capital—“a lot of capital”—to create the energy-efficient convenience store called the Outpost, which offers only alternative fuels and ethanol blends produced at Bently Biofuels Co. The store offers seven different blends of ethanol or biodiesel.

Major investments were made in energy-efficient and ecofriendly equipment and utilities. Inside the store, for instance, LED lighting was installed at 66% above the cost of traditional lighting, though the estimated payback will be realized within five to 10 years.

Other examples abound: Countertops were made from recycled material and cabinetry was made from bamboo, a truly renewable construction material. An electronic kiosk was added to help customers learn about sustainability and alternative energy.

In-store products include fair-trade coffee, organic teas, healthy energy drinks, juices, as well as traditional packaged beverages and snacks. A theme permeating every in-store category is “Made in Nevada,” where various products are specially marked if they’re manufactured in the Silver State. Nevada-born products at The Outpost include beer, wine, beverages, dairy, snacks, jams, jellies, salsa and more.

Bently said he’s not adverse to expanding the concept to create additional Biofuels Outposts, as long as he can continue offering green products—such as those made from cooking oil—and avoid products imported from foreign countries.

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