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Hoover diverts 8 tons of wood waste from landfill to produce ethanol
The city of Hoover recently diverted more than 8 tons of wood waste from a landfill and sent it southwest some 100 miles to Livingston, where a startup company plans to turn it into ethanol.
The wood scraps - from cleared trees at the site of a new playground - are the first batch the city has delivered to Gulf Coast Energy. Hoover Mayor Tony Petelos hopes his city's participation in a demonstration project with the company sets the stage for a regional partnership among cities in the Birmingham-Hoover metro area that want to put their wood waste to use.
Production has been delayed on a demonstration plant because a chemical used in the process is on back order, said company President and Chief Executive Mark Warner. The plant, which the company says will be capable of producing 350,000 gallons of ethanol a year, is expected to be up and running by mid-August.
Once the company's demonstration plant is operating, the material will be turned into ethanol and sold back to Hoover for use as E85 fuel, which is 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline.
"The city of Hoover is going to show other cities what they can do in order to transform their wood waste into energy and make the United States more independent from foreign oil," Petelos said.
Gulf Coast Energy plans to expand on the site with a $90 million plant it says will be able to produce 45 million gallons of ethanol annually.