ALACHUA COUNTY, FL - The Alachua County Environmental Protection Department (ACEPD) is cutting costs by processing vegetable based waste cooking oil to produce diesel fuel for County trucks and an electrical generator that can power a County building. Besides lowering operating costs, the County’s production of biodiesel reduces local dependency on foreign oil and increases use of renewable energy.
The 100% biodiesel (B-100) is produced at ACEPD’s Hazardous Waste Collection Center and fuels a generator capable of providing enough electricity to allow the Center to be off the local electrical grid for entire workdays. The biodiesel is also being used to supplement conventional fuels for the County’s waste hauling truck fleet to reduce fuel costs. ACEPD is currently producing biodiesel at a cost of less than $2.50 per gallon including the costs of labor and materials.
“For Alachua County, using waste vegetable oil to produce diesel fuel is proving to be a good business practice both financially and environmentally” said Chris Bird, Alachua County Environmental Protection Director. “Improper disposal of waste cooking through sink drains can result in costly plumbing repair bills and pipe blockages and overflows that may cause raw sewage spills into local waterways. What really makes ACEPD’s biodiesel program cost effective is that our Hazardous Waste Center already has a well established network for collecting reusable materials such as waste vegetable oil.”
ACEPD’s biodiesel program partners include a local chemical manufacturer SiVance, Gainesville Regional Utilities, and Oak Hall School. ACEPD has established convenient drop off locations for waste vegetable oil at the Hazardous Waste Collection Center and the five Rural Collection Centers. Most of the used cooking oil collected for this operation is supplied by households. Additionally, ACEPD is receiving materials from two downtown Gainesville restaurants, Emiliano’s and Manuel’s Vintage Room.
For more information on biodiesel production or to find out more about the County’s waste vegetable oil collection service to homeowners and businesses, visit the waste oil recycling website, or call 352-338-0440.