Schools Getting Smarter with Biodiesel

John Davis

schoolbusesStudents all across the country are back in classrooms this week, and biodiesel is providing a clean and smart way for them to get there. This article from the Durham (NC) News & Observer says school districts in Durham, Johnston and Pitt counties will run on biodiesel made from used cooking oil.

The three school systems are among the first to sign on to an alternative energy program called Biodiesel 4 Schools, which converts used cooking oil into biodiesel.

Dean Price, CEO and co-owner with Stephen Caldwell of the waste cooking oil company Green Circle North Carolina, started the program in 2012 in hopes of helping to boost the local economy.

“We’re trying to create a new industry in the Triangle, one that’s local in nature, agriculturally based and can be renewable,” Price said.

Price collects the oil from local restaurants, such as King’s Sandwich Shop in Durham. After passing through a filtering process at a plant in Benson, the oil is converted into biodiesel fuel by Piedmont Biofuels in Pittsboro.

“I think it’s a huge positive influence, and it’s right in line with a lot of things that are going on in Durham,” said T.J. McDermott, owner of King’s. “Durham is growing, and to be able to participate in a clean-burning fuel, that’s what we should all be doing.”

With more than 24 million children riding some 440,000 buses to and from school each day, the National Biodiesel Board says this is just one example of schools across the country that are helping their students breathe easier with clean-burning biodiesel.