Used Cooking Oil Powering Jacksonville’s Fleet

John Davis

City vehicles in Jacksonville, Florida’s will be running more and more on biodiesel… and the green fuel will help clean up the city’s waste.

This story from the Jacksonville Business Journal says the city is making 100 percent biodiesel at its fuel depot and mixing it to B20 to run in its diesel-powered vehicles:

Fleet management picks up used cooking oil from Naval Station Mayport, The Avenues and Orange Park malls and two Hooter’s restaurants in Jacksonville. The Avenues mall operations manager, Jim Leitner, said the free exchange is working well. The city provided stainless steel tanks about a year ago and has a weekly collection service.

When the division can accurately gauge its weekly B100 production capacity, it can begin signing on other restaurants for the service. Division Chief Sam Houston said the program will be “big business — important, steady business” for the city.

The city has invested about $68,000 in the plant, mostly on equipment, since it opened a year ago. Erik Preacher, who’s in charge of inventory control and financial administration for fleet management, estimates that the plant will pay for itself within the first few months of full operation.

The money the city could save is substantial. B100 costs about $4 a gallon on the market but only about $1.50 a gallon to make. Considering that Jacksonville was already purchasing about 80,000 gallons a year in biodiesel and the city uses two million gallons of diesel a year (which could be replaced by the cheaper, home-brewed fuel), you could see how the savings would add up. Now while I’m not sure that there is enough used cooking oil to make up the two million gallons of petroleum diesel, this project is certainly a step in the right direction.