Alabama Commissioner of Agriculture & Industries Ron Sparks, along with State Representatives John Knight and Thad McClammy, Alabama State University President William Harris, and Montgomery Public Schools (MPS) Superintendent Clay Slagle, have announced a three-way partnership regarding the establishment of a “Save the Environment” program, which will produce biodiesel from recycled cooking oils for use in MPS busses and other diesel-powered equipment.

ASU’s role will be to provide the technical assistance, training, and scientific study of emissions and fuel efficiency; structure an alternative fuels internship program to assist in the operation of the program and in the collection of data for further scientific study; implement programs to inform its students and the public on ways to improve the environment; and to apply for appropriate federal funds and/or grants to further the goals of the project.

MPS will provide used cooking oil from its schools as feedstock and will provide vehicles for scientific study, and the Alabama Department of Agriculture & Industries will manufacture the biodiesel at its fuel facility in Montgomery.

“This is just another step in becoming less dependent on foreign oils,” stated Sparks. “We opened this biodiesel refinery last year and have been making biodiesel for the City of Montgomery ever since. With this new partnership with Alabama State and the Montgomery Public School System we are taking the next step in helping to solve our nation’s energy problems.”

The cost of making biodiesel is about 70 cents per gallon. Currently diesel is averaging $2.25 per gallon which results in a $1.55 per gallon savings. This time last year diesel was averaging $4 per gallon.