Alabama's newest plant opens in Enterprise

By Luke Geiver | July 13, 2010
Posted Aug. 16, 2010

Employees at the Enterprise, Ala., Public Works Facility can add a new duty to their job descriptions: biodiesel production. After 15 years of development, the city officially announced its new biodiesel facility is up and running, with major supporter Gov. Bob Riley in attendance.

Businesses such as the Greenside Grill, McDonald's, and the local high school will all provide waste cooking oil to the plant, helping the community-scale biodiesel refinery scaled at 70,000 gallons a year secure local feedstock. The plant will only run at 30 percent now, however, producing about 21,000 gallons of biodiesel per annum.

The plant has already received a $300,000 grant from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, and anticipates partnering with surrounding communities for feedstock access and fuel supply agreements.

"By aggressively pursuing grants through ADECA and Governor Bob Riley's assistance, we were able to turn this concept into reality," Enterprise Mayor Kenneth Boswell said. Rather than throw waste grease down the drain, Rachel Davis, special projects coordinator for the city said they'll take the material that was once considered waste and turn it into biodiesel. Davis said doing so will reduce costly sewer repairs and "save the tax payers future dollars."

The city fueling station, which provides fuel for 85 city diesel fleet vehicles, six mental health and seven rescue squad diesels, will now carry B20 for those same vehicles.

"This is a great milestone," Boswell said, adding, "I look forward to the many benefits it [will] offer our residents." The plant will use existing space at the current public works facility including donated storage tanks. Previously used as a recycling center, the new plant will now collect waste cooking oil for biodiesel production and Boswell hopes the city can set up other oil collection sites. Davis estimates each gallon of biodiesel will cost about $1.10 to make.

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