Lincoln Co. Schools to Operate Biodiesel Facility

June 17, 2008

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller and West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Steve Paine helped Lincoln County High School celebrate the grand opening of its Agriculture Education Biodiesel Center.

"I think this biodiesel program is potentially life-changing. No one thing will solve the problems of rising gas prices and climate change, but every piece of the puzzle counts. This is one of them – and I’m really glad it’s happening in Lincoln County. They know something has to be done, so they’re taking care of their county’s school buses. And I’m just sure it’s going to spread across West Virginia and all across the country," Senator Rockefeller said. "They’re saving money, protecting the environment and helping to change the way we live."

The center, the only one of its kind at a school in West Virginia, will process used vegetable oil, farmed crops such as soybeans and canola seed oil, as well as oil produced from algae. Algae produces 375 times more oil than soybeans, converts carbon dioxide to oxygen, can be used to decrease West Virginia’s chemical plant emissions and can be produced right here in West Virginia.

"This program will be a model program for schools across the nation in preparing students for work in the alternative fuels industry," said Superintendent Paine. "With gasoline and diesel selling for more than $4 a gallon, preparation like this is more important than ever. I’m proud that a West Virginia school, teachers and students will be leaders in the ever growing alternative fuels industry."

The Lincoln County program will produce 500 gallons of biodiesel a week, which will be used by county school buses. The biodiesel is expected to save the county $6,500 a month in fuel costs.

"I am very proud of what our students and staff are accomplishing at Lincoln County High School, said Lincoln County Schools Superintendent David Roach. "This project is an example of 21st century education in West Virginia."

Biodiesel is an alternative or additive to standard diesel fuel that is made from biological ingredients instead of petroleum or crude oil. Biodiesel is usually made from plant oils or animal fats through a series of chemical reactions. It is both non-toxic and renewable. Because biodiesel essentially comes from plants and animals, the sources can be replenished through farming and recycling.

For more information, contact the Office of Communications at (304) 558-2699. 

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