Baker Co. leads in green energy fuel - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Baker Co. leads in green energy fuel

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By Jim Wallace - bio | email 

Newton, GA (WALB) –   The county is using bio-diesel made from peanuts to run the county's heavy equipment. Soon, they will start making their own bio-diesel. 

Baker County will be the first county in Georgia to use only peanut bio-diesel to power their heavy equipment. They will use diesel fuel made at the U.S.D.A.'s National Peanut Research Lab in Dawson for the next months, hoping that within the year they will build their own refinery to manufacture their own fuel.

The National Peanut Research Lab delivers the first 100 gallons of bio-diesel fuel made from peanuts to Baker County Public Works.

"Peanuts is our main commodity here in Baker County," said Baker County Manager Evelyn Phillips.

So county officials say it's only natural to use peanuts to make the diesel fuel that will power their road graders, tractors, and back hoes.

The National Peanut Research Lab in Dawson has been working for four years developing this refinery method, using peanut scraps and waste to make diesel fuel. Now Baker County is the first community to start using that fuel source.

"Baker County is going to take that step, with the ultimate goal of building their own refinery and become fuel independent and self sufficient for their petroleum needs," Research Agronomist Dr. Wilson Faircloth said.

Diesel engines were first designed to run on vegetable oil, so it's not a new idea. But they think it's time for a community that grows peanuts to use that crop to make their own fuel.

"We're not experimenting here," Baker County Extension Agent Lanier Jordan said. "We're taking proven technology that the peanut lab has done and we are taking good, proven, unbiased research and putting it to work."

The backhoe cranks up for the first time, powered by peanut bio diesel.

"This product is a cleaner product, it's a greener product. It's a safe product, so therefore I think it's a win win situation," Phillips said.

Baker County uses more than 2200 gallons of diesel fuel a month. The Peanut Lab will be able to supply the fuel now for about 50 cents less a gallon, a good saving for the tax payers.

Baker County will use the peanut bio-diesel for the next 6 months to see if it works and makes sense for them to continue, and if it does, they plan to build their own refinery to start making their own fuel.

The National Peanut Research Lab hopes to be able to find grant money for Baker County to pay for building the refinery, increasing their fuel cost savings.

 

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