Hoover receives historic shipment of fuel

Published 5:39 pm Thursday, April 16, 2009

As a line of police vehicles stood proudly behind Hoover Mayor Tony Petelos Thursday afternoon, he spoke to an enthusiastic crowd about his city’s unprecedented success with alternative fuels.

“Four years ago, the alternative energy we were using was at zero,” he said. “Today, 88 percent of our fuel is alternative.”

Petelos kicked off a public ceremony to celebrate the first shipment of ethanol fuel made with Hoover’s own wood waste.

Wood waste is the waste left over from manufacturing, wood processing, construction and demolition.

The fuel is made in Livingston, Ala. at a Gulf Coast Energy facility, the first in the country to convert wood waste into useable fuel.

Petelos said he has always supported corn-based ethanol because it helps local farmers, but wood-based ethanol represents an advanced stage of alternative energy.

“We’re ready to move into the second generation of ethanol,” he said. “Today the city of Hoover is making history.”

U.S. Rep. Artur Davis (D-Ala.) also spoke at the event, saying that alternative fuels are necessary to national security.

“We get 70 percent of our oil from countries that don’t like us, don’t share our values or just see us as another customer they can exploit,” he said.

Alternative fuels could be a source for more jobs in Alabama, Davis said.

“The future is coming whether we like it or not. We have to learn to master it and use it,” he said.

Drayton Pruitt, chief operating officer of Gulf Coast Energy, said Hoover is leading by example.

“Hoover is an example to the world of what an environmentally-friendly city should be,” he said. “The Southeast could be to alternative energy what Saudi Arabia is to petroleum.”

Hoover’s city fleet includes 196 cars operating on ethanol, as well as 161 in the equipment fleet.

Other guests at the event included U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Mark Warner, President of Gulf Coast Energy, and Phillip Wiedmeyer, chairman of the Alabama Clean Coals Coalition.