Carter wants clean burning fuel for Georgia - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Carter wants clean burning fuel for Georgia

August 26, 2003

Plains-- A thirty year old car is the wave of the future. It's using a cooking product for its fuel. Imagine taking oil leftover from a fish fry and using it to fuel your car. One Atlanta man is doing it.

Robert Del Bueno drives his 1974 Mercedes all over and doesn't worry about skyrocketing gas prices, "I'm probably paying somewhere around forty to fifty cents a gallon for my fuel." Del Bueno doesn't pay $1.60 at the pump for a gallon of diesel like everyone else--he gets the raw product for free.

"Currently I'm getting it from an Atlanta restaurant and bar that has a frier and I'm collecting their waste frier oil." Through a simple and cheap chemical process, Del Bueno turns used vegetable oil into a biodiesel fuel.

"In this car because it is an older car, it makes a little white smoke because the engine is cold. As it warms up, you won't see any smoke like a diesel vehicle." The stickers on Del Bueno's car testify to the fact that biodiesel fuel burns cleaner, but there is another added benefit--the smell.

"It's basically the burning of the vegetable oil, so it kind of smells like your grilling out." An environmentally friendly car, that smells a little like a cook-out--not a bad combination.

No modifications to the car's engine were made to accommodate the biodiesel fuel. As long as your car is a diesel, you can use the cleaner burning fuel. Of course, you will have to make it too. There are no biodiesel fuel stations in Georgia.

That biodiesel car is getting the attention of several Georgia lawmakers and former President Jimmy Carter.

President Carter met with agribusiness leaders and policy makers in Plains Tuesday to talk about producing biodiesel fuel here in Georgia. Each year, the state produces about 55 million gallons of oilseeds and animal fats that can be used to produce biodiesel fuel.

President Carter insists gas prices will only increase and says the time is now to make biodiesel fuel in Georgia, "We are now at the mercy of foreign suppliers. With problems in Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Nigeria, places most Americans never think about, we are at their mercy. I would like to get away from that."

State lawmakers at the conference say there is a potential for biodiesel legislation.

Although the former President does not have a car, he says he would like to see his Secret Service agents driving vehicles that use the environmentally-friendly fuel.

Posted at 5:45 p.m. by melissa.kill@walb.com