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Energy: Biodiesel Could Use War Waste

Associated Press

The Gazette

January 23, 2006

[Note: This material is copyright by The Gazette, and is reproduced here as a matter of "fair use" for non-commercial, educational purposes only. Any other use may require the prior approval of The Gazette.]

DES MOINES (AP) — An Iowa cooperative and a California company are exploring whether biodiesel can dissolve plastic waste from the U.S. war in Iraq.

    West Central Cooperative in Ralston and San Diegobased General Atomics received a $3.3 million federal grant for a three-year research effort.

    The Battlefield Plastic Biodiesel project could help with waste disposal while providing fuel for trucks, tractors and other vehicles that use diesel fuel.

    Money for the grant was included in a Department of Defense appropriations bill approved this month by Congress.

    West Central is one of Iowa’s largest farmer-owned cooperatives.

    General Atomics, a division of General Dynamics, is a privately held company that develops high-tech systems in industries including unmanned surveillance aircraft and nuclear fuels.

    Biodiesel is typically made from recycled grease, slaughterhouse waste, soybeans and vegetable oils, before being mixed with conventional diesel. It accounts for 2 to 5 percent of formulated fuel.

    At least 100 biodiesel plants are in operation or in various stages of planning and construction in 34 states, according to MARC-IV Consulting, a company that tracks the market for the National Biodiesel Board.

    There are 16 biodiesel plants in operation or proposed in Iowa.