New Leaf Biofuel

For getting used cooking oil out of restaurants and into your gas tank

Jennifer Case
San Diego, CA

When you think of energy sources, perhaps used French fry oil from a nearby restaurant isn't top of mind. But it is for Jennifer Case, co-founder and CEO of San Diego-based company New Leaf Biofuel, an energy manufacturer that takes used cooking oil from hotels, casinos, restaurants and more and cleans it before turning it into biodiesel fuel. Founded in 2006, Case helped her budding energy company weather the 2008 financial crisis and has over the years stayed resilient in the face of fossil fuel providers and varying political parties influencing alternative energy production opportunities. In the tremulous year of 2020, when shipping equipment from China earlier in the year was made difficult and French fry oil wasn't being produced among restaurant closures, Case's company is using this time to expand their small plant that produces 5 million gallons of oil per year to a plant that makes 12 million gallons per year, and Case says the company is now expanding into producing other types of renewable fuel. Amid all the pivots and scrappy thinking over the years, Case says she's learned to find balance in her leadership. "Communicate early, often and with honestly and intelligence," she says. "You want to communicate, but not vent. You want to be vulnerable, but not terrifying. You want to inspire trust, not have people jump ship." –Anna Meyer

Other Inc. Honors

  1. 2020