From Farm to Fuel: Arkansas town focusing on energy independence - KATV - Breaking News, Weather and Razorback Sports

From Farm to Fuel: Arkansas town focusing on energy independence

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

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

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

Relyea added that as production begins to increase it will supply fuel for school buses and city vehicles, while also providing jobs and an estimated $2 million boost in new economic activity.

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

The man responsible for starting the micro-refinery used a trial-and-error system. Putting the very vegetable oil blend in his truck.

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

Davis strongly believes in 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 Valero interested in it, FedEx is interested in purchasing the fuel, so once we get around 1,000 gallons a day then there will be large companies looking for the fuel," he said.

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

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