Interest Growing for Biodiesel

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With oil prices skyrocketing there has been a great deal of discussion about 'bio fuels."

Just off Old Eighth Street Road in Meridian you'll find a small company named Bio Fuels of Mississippi. Their past was hard work and a struggle. Their future appears to be unlimited.

"It's a fuel that's reacted from soybean oil or animal fat or any kind of vegetable oil, any kind that are non-hydrogenated will work," said Bob Glenn, company vice-president, showing a sample reacted from fresh rendered catfish oil processed in the Mississippi Delta.

One of their sources of supply are local restaurants, which saves and sells them oil that has been used to fry food. That and soybean oil are the bases of bio diesel.

When it comes into their plant they filter it, process it, clean it and react it and then refilter the fuel.

The company got its first boost two years ago when the Lauderdale County School District received a grant to try it in school buses.

"When we first got that contract, our production was probably about 100 gallons a day. That's about all we could make at that time. Now we're making 2,000 a day but in a couple of weeks we'll be making about 4,000 a day and by August, after August and September, we're planning on making 10,000 gallons per day right here," Glenn said.

Commercial trucking companies are interested, but the local operation doesn't yet have the capacity to supply that need.