MEMPHIS, TN – All diesel-run vehicles in Shelby County’s General Services Division could be operating on a percentage of biodiesel by the end of the year, according to the Memphis Daily News. A request for bids for 40,000 gallons of the clean-burning fuel made from vegetable oils and animal fats was published in The Daily News earlier this month.

The plan has 100 percent of Shelby County’s diesel-run fleet running on biodiesel, meaning they will use a blend of 80 percent regular diesel and 20 percent biodiesel. But before the county can make the switch, the tanks and pumps at its Fleet Services Division must be emptied and cleaned. That process, which is currently underway, is expected to take from 30 to 45 days.

The expense of cleaning the two 15,000-gallon underground tanks and purchasing any new pumps or other materials will be paid for with an $11,000 Biodiesel Infrastructure Grant from the Energy Division of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development. One grant is available per county for biodiesel fuel tanks and pumping equipment.

By using biodiesel fuel in its fleet, Shelby County could get closer to meeting air quality guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. For nearly a year, the county has been in non-attainment status, or out of compliance with the guidelines, because the level of pollutants in the air.