Wednesday, July 19, 2000

Grease, oil fueling buses

Project under way

By John Nolan
The Associated Press

        COVINGTON — Folks might smell a different odor this summer as buses roll by in Cincinnati or Northern Kentucky.

(AP photo)
| ZOOM |
        The regional public buses have begun a two-month experiment of using fuel that is 80 percent diesel and 20 percent used cooking oil and grease from restaurants, transit officials said Tuesday. The project is funded by a U.S. Department of Transportation grant of $50,000 each for Cincinnati's Metro and TANK, the Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky, systems.

        Bus agency officials said the biodiesel fuel is still more expensive than regular, dirtier-burning diesel fuel. Metro — which has 426 buses that consume 3 million gallons of diesel fuel annually — buys diesel fuel for 51 cents a gallon, through a bulk-purchase contract. Biodiesel fuel based entirely on the used restaurant grease costs $1.49 a gallon, Metro spokeswoman Sallie Hilvers said.

        More than 40 federal, state and public utility vehicle fleets are using biodiesel fuels — up from three a year ago — including the Postal Service, said Joe Jobe, executive director of the National Biodiesel Board, which coordinates research and development for the fuels.

        All of TANK's 133 buses and 155 of Metro's buses are using the biodiesel fuel until the federal grant runs out in about two months. The restaurant grease is collected and processed into the fuel by Griffin Industries Inc., a family-owned company in Cold Spring.

        Metro used soybean-based diesel fuel in 1993 and 1994 tests but has not used it since because it is more expensive than regular diesel fuel, agency officials said.


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