In a special designation ceremony in Auburn, AL, the Alabama Clean Fuels Coalition (ACFC) was recently named the first Clean Cities coalition in the state. Following the successful implementation of several large projects over the past few years, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Clean Cities took notice of organization.
Dennis Smith from the U.S. DOE presented the ACFC with the official designation plaque at the 6th Annual Alabama Renewable Energy Conference. Smith said, “The Alabama Clean Fuels Coalition has demonstrated an extraordinary ability to get things done by forming effective partnerships, finding innovative ways to leverage resources, and motivating communities to rally together for a common cause.”
The ACFC has indeed accomplished much over the past few years. They have partnered with an NAFTC National Training Center, Lawson State Community College, on several projects to help increase educational opportunities across the state. Lawson State CC has since received a grant that has allowed them to add an alternative fuels program in their already existing automotive technology program.
In addition to their work with Lawson State CC, the ACFC’s two most well-known projects are the City of Hoover and Gulf Coast Energy wood waste-to-fuel project and the development and opening of the I-65 Biofuels Corridor.
The Hoover-Gulf Coast Energy program takes wood debris from public works activities and other waste and turns it into ethanol, which fuels municipal flex-fuel vehicles. The ACFC also helped to develop the nation’s first biofuels corridor along Interstate 65. At this location, the public can access biofuels stations within a quarter-tank of each other from the Gulf of Mexico up to the Great Lakes. According to the ACFC, over one million gallons of biofuels have been pumped in the Alabama portion of the corridor since its opening last year. Both the Hoover-Gulf Coast Energy program and the I-65 Biofuels Corridor program were the first of their kind in the country.
The designation as a Clean Cities coalition will provide the ACFC access to tremendous research and funding resources, which will further their mission of reducing dependence on foreign oil, improving air quality in Alabama, and increasing investment in local economies through their promotion of alternative fuels.
The ACFC was created in 2002 as a regional effort to research and implement the “best practices” to reduce oil dependence, improve air quality, and increase local economic development. Coalition members include representatives from each major alternative fuel including electricity, biodiesel, ethanol, electricity, natural gas and propane. The organization now serves a population of 4.5 million within all 67 counties of Alabama.