Grants Help School Bus Fleets Switch to Renewable Biofuels - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Grants Help School Bus Fleets Switch to Renewable Biofuels

The following is a news release from the Alabama Governor's Office.

MONTGOMERY - As the school year begins, Governor Bob Riley is urging interested school systems to apply for a new grant that will help them cover the cost of switching their bus fleets to a cleaner-burning renewable fuel.

Through the new "Biofuels for Schools" program, any public school system may apply for a grant of up to $2,500.  The money will be used to prepare fuel storage tanks for B20, a fuel blend that is 80 percent petroleum diesel and 20 percent biodiesel made from renewable energy sources like soybeans, vegetable oils and animal fat.

"Biodiesel is an all American renewable fuel.  It's also better for the environment because it reduces air pollutants like soot and carbon dioxide," said Governor Riley.  "Our hope is that if we help school systems with the cost of switching to biodiesel, more school buses in Alabama will be running on this cleaner-burning fuel that reduces our dependence on foreign oil."

B20 can be used in traditional diesel engines without modifications, "so it works with the buses we already have," said the Governor.  However, the biofuel has a solvent effect that may release accumulated sediment from the inside walls of storage tanks that previously contained diesel.  The released deposits can clog fuel filters.  The "Biofuels for Schools" grants will pay for cleaning the above- and below-ground fuel tanks prior to using biodiesel to ensure that deposits do not pose a problem.

Funding of $50,000 is available from the grant program.  School systems awarded a grant are required to use biodiesel in school buses for at least three years and must report the number of gallons of biodiesel used during that period.

The grant program is being administered by the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs.

School systems can find a grant application online at www.adeca.alabama.gov/energy.

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