BioTenn - A Partnership for Homegrown Energy

Bio Tenn in Tennessee

For immediate release July 26, 2007



Nashville, Tenn. – Governor Phil Bredesen and Environment and Conservation Commissioner Jim Fyke announced that 14 applicants are eligible to receive Alternative Fuel Innovations Grants totaling more than $881,000.

“This grant program was designed to encourage local governments and public universities to assess opportunities to increase their use of biofuels and create projects to take advantage of those opportunities,” said Bredesen. “I’m pleased to see the variety and innovation represented by these projects as we continue to expand the use and production of alternative fuels in Tennessee.”

In 2006, Governor Bredesen proposed $4 million in state funding, which was approved by the General Assembly, for Tennessee’s alternative fuels initiatives. In February, Bredesen dedicated $1 million of these funds for Alternative Fuel Innovations Grants to help local governments and public universities increase the alternative fuel use in their fleets and measure positive impacts to state air quality, particularly in areas not currently attaining federal air quality standards.

“The grant awards show both governments and universities are taking advantage of this opportunity to improve air quality by increasing their use of alternative fuels,” said Deputy Commissioner Paul Sloan, who represents the Department of Environment and Conservation on the Governor’s Alternative Fuels Working Group. “Making cleaner burning fuels more readily available to fleets, while at the same time providing additional research experiences to universities, is an important step in the right direction.”

The 14 Alternative Fuel Innovations Grant recipients and project descriptions are:

  • City of Chattanooga/City Yards Refueling Station - $35,162 to purchase and install one new E85 fuel tank and pump at City Yards to serve Chattanooga’s fleet of 157 flex fuel vehicles.
  • City of Chattanooga/Amnicola Highway Refueling Station - $35,162 to purchase and install one new E85 (ethanol) fuel tank and pump to serve the Amnicola Highway Refueling Station.
  • City of Kingsport - $39,250 to offset the cost of converting the city’s 200+ diesel vehicles to B20 (biodiesel). All fleet vehicles will be marked with signage to show the use of biofuels. Kingsport will also partner with Charter Communications to produce an informational video on the importance of alternative fuels and develop additional educational materials for public distribution.
    * City of Oak Ridge – $18,000 to offset the cost of converting the city’s 70 vehicle fleet to B20.
  • Cleveland State Community College - $84,000 to develop a Biodiesel Learning Lab in the newly proposed Cleveland/Bradley Energy Business Incubator, which will be located on the Cleveland State campus and will house the college’s Biodiesel Education Program. Grant funding will also help purchase necessary equipment to convert food waste products to biodiesel blends of B20.
  • East Tennessee State University - $25,600 to install an E85 storage tank and dispensing system on campus in order to convert its 106 flex fuel vehicles to E85.
  • Middle Tennessee State University - $79,700 to purchase a Toyota Prius and convert it to a plug-in flex fuel vehicle, to operate on electricity, solar power, hydrogen and ethanol. The vehicle will be used in the MTSU motor pool after the research phase.
  • Middle Tennessee State University/Center for Green Energy Management – $97,621 to convert used cooking oil into biodiesel. The project will allow innovative chemical reaction methods to be evaluated and work to develop a catalyst that will lower the cost of production while ensuring that ASTM specifications for biodiesel are met.
  • University of Memphis - $99,998 to build a biodiesel production unit. The unit will be designed, built and operated by the university’s students and faculty and will have a production capacity that will enable them to replace conventional diesel with biodiesel in campus vehicles. The unit may also be utilized as a testing resource for commercial biodiesel producers facing challenges related to feedstock variability, product quality and operational efficiency.
  • University of Tennessee/Agricultural Experiment Station - $73,120 to purchase a baler, scales and trailer to study the most economical harvest method of cellulosic material for ethanol production.
  • University of Tennessee/College of Engineering - $75,000 to provide demonstrations across Tennessee of hydrogen generation/fueling and operation of a university owned hydrogen-fueled vehicle. The university will demonstrate the ability to generate hydrogen using conventional energy sources, storage and dispensing of hydrogen and the operation of a hydrogen fueled vehicle.
  • University of Tennessee/Facility Services - $78,723 to build upon the UT Biodiesel Production Plant by producing biodiesel from waste cooking oil collected from UT dining services. The biodiesel will be tested to ASTM specifications and the fuel that meets those specifications will be used in Facility Services’ 26 diesel trucks.
  • University of Tennessee - $100,000 to design and construct a small-scale biodiesel production facility capable of producing ASTM specification diesel from a wide-range of feedstocks. Feasibility research will be conducted using various feedstocks for biodiesel production, including soybeans, switch grass, algae and other agricultural residues.
  • University of Tennessee - $40,000 to install a tank and pump to store and dispense the biodiesel produced at the production facility, above. Promotional materials will also be purchased for university vehicles using the biodiesel.

Maximum Innovations grant awards are $40,000 for fuel purchasing, maintenance or fuel promotional projects and $100,000 for capital projects.

For more information about alternative fuels in Tennessee, visit:

For more information contact:

Tisha Calabrese-Benton
Office (865) 594-5442