From Farm to Fuel: Arkansas town focusing on energy independence

DEWITT (KATV) -- From the farm to a gas tank, that's the goalof an initiative in DeWitt where the city plans to use its 10-county vegetableoil collection site to make bio diesel.

As it runs through theprocess tube or even sits in mason jars after blending, the liquid looks likeanything but something you would put in your vehicle. Regardless of looks, itworks just like diesel and even comes at a cheap price.

"We'll have theproducts grown in the area, processed in the area and then we'll use them inthe areas," said DeWitt Mayor Ralph Relyea.

Relyea added that asproduction begins to increase it will supply fuel for school buses and cityvehicles, while also providing jobs and an estimated $2 million boost in neweconomic activity.

"This is startingoff as a mini refinery, but to me it means a lot more to the eastern Arkansas Deltaarea that has a history of poverty for years," Relyea continued.

The man responsible forstarting the micro-refinery used a trial-and-error system. Putting the very vegetableoil blend in his truck.

"Yes, I startedblending that oil back into my diesel, and running it through the truck. (It) workedgreat, in fact it worked better than it had on straight diesel," said JohnnyDavis, who is owner and operator of this project.

Davis strongly believesin this scarcely used fuel conversion. It mixed up the first blend on Monday,possibly just a very small sample size of what's to come.

"We have Valerointerested in it, FedEx is interested in purchasing the fuel, so once we getaround 1,000 gallons a day then there will be large companies looking for thefuel," he said.

For an area striving for jobs and consistentincome, this may the big break they've been waiting for.

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