City of Eufaula Expands Bio-Diesel Production

June 23, 2008

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WXTX) - "I'm just adding lye to the methanol," says Eufaula Public Works Consultant Bill Clark.

But that's just one part of the process at Eufaula Public Works where employees create what's called B-20.

Several city vehicles run off of it including tractors and city dump trucks.  It's 80% diesel and 20% biofuel made directly from recycled vegetable oil.

"What we have to do is take it and clean it up," says Clark.

Clark says they get the oil from several local places like Lakeside Restaurant, Equity Group(an area chicken processing plant), and even residents drop off their leftovers.

"I just stuff my hose down in there and suck out as much as I can," says Clark of how he collects the oil on a truck.

Once it's back at Public Works,  the oil goes through an extensive cleaning and heating process.

Then, it's finally mixed and settled. Once the process is complete, trucks have a place to fill up on the property, which Clark says is a lot cheaper than purchasing commercial diesel.

"We make biodiesel for about somewhere in the range of a $1.50 to $1.75 a gallon, so it saves us, let's say about $1.75 to $2.00."

The city started this project more than four years ago.  They now have about eight vehicles running off of B-20, and more importantly, have just increased production capacity.

Clark can now make 275 gallons a batch, and he makes three to four batches every month.

"Now, we're more comfortable with it, we're more comfortable with the quality of our product, so we're looking to expand out into a larger portion of the fleet."