BENSON, N.C. — As school systems look for more ways to save money, a Triangle business devoted to providing biodiesel fuels is hoping that its green push will catch on in the area’s school buses.
Green Circle NC, founded in 2011 by Dean Price and Stephan Caldwell, collects old cooking oil from area restaurants and sells it to biodiesel companies.
Now, they are showing education leaders in Johnston and Durham counties that making the switch to biodiesel fuels in school buses can improve the environment and bring down costs.
The push in Johnston County started two years ago in teacher James Cox’s automotive class.
“The students came up to me and said, ‘What are we going to do about the high price of fuel?'” Cox said.
The students started working, and soon they had adapted a tractor engine to run on biodiesel fuel. The engine now propels a Chevrolet pickup truck.
Dean Price supplies the fuel, and he’s hoping that his Biodiesel 4 Schools program will help local school systems.
Green Circle NC splits profits with school systems and furnishes biodiesel for school buses. Johnston and Durham county schools have already signed up, and buses in the Bull City could be running on biodiesel by the start of the next school year.
“That will allow them to put biodiesel directly into buses from this program,” Price said.
Price says biodiesel fuel can be used in any North Carolina school bus.
Cox says every community could make the transition.
“We can grow canola, sell it to our restaurants, they can use it for cooking oil and we can retrieve it and use it for motor fuel,” he said.
Price believes the biodiesel industry could create green jobs all over the country.
“Once people get their minds around how easy this is, they’re going to be asking the question, ‘Why didn’t we do this years ago?'” he said.