Biodiesel Helps Clear the Air in Great Smokies

Cindy Zimmerman

The Great Smoky Mountains are so named because of the blue mist that hovers around the peaks and valleys of the range along the Tennessee–North Carolina border. To keep that blue mist from being obscured by smog, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park strives to maintain its natural beauty through practices that reduce the park’s environmental footprint – such as using biodiesel in park vehicles and equipment.

“At Great Smoky Mountains National Park we have implemented a comprehensive strategy to limit our environmental impact and reduce carbon emissions,” said Brian Bergsma, deputy chief of facility management. “Biodiesel and Bioheat® are front and center in that effort.”

In 2016, the park used 43,085 gallons of biodiesel (B20) resulting in the following estimated emissions reductions: 15 percent reduction in carbon dioxide; 12 percent reduction in carbon monoxide; 20 percent reduction in both hydrocarbon and sulfur dioxide and 12 percent reduction in particulate matter.*

In keeping with its history of preservation, Great Smoky Mountains National Park first began using biodiesel blends to power park-owned diesel vehicles and equipment in 2003. The cleaner-burning fuel has been used park-wide since 2006. Today, numerous locations in the park use B20 to power 40 pieces of heavy equipment such as dump trucks, graders, front-end loaders, a bucket truck and more. Additionally, Bioheat® is used to heat the park’s headquarters building.

Learn more from the National Biodiesel Board.

Biodiesel, Bioheat, Environment