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Golf Course Turning Cooking Oil Into Biodiesel

Golf Grease
Tierra Verde Golf Course in Arlington is recycling cooking grease into biodiesel to maintain and run golf course equipment. (credit; CBSDFW.COM)

TARRANT COUNTY (CBS 11 News) - Arlington's Tierra Verde Golf Course is built to be environmentally friendly. It was the world's first municipal golf course recognized by the Audubon Society.

When faced with soaring gas prices, for maintenance equipment, the course keepers were driven to find an eco-friendly solution. Surprisingly, they found it their clubhouse kitchen: the leftover cooking oil.

Using grant money from Arlington Tomorrow, the course bought a machine to turn used cooking oil into biodiesel fuel.

Shaped like a refrigerator, the machine mixes the oil with methanol to create the fuel.

"You start it, you stop it," said Mark Claburn, who oversees the course for the city. "It does the whole thing for you. It takes about 24 hours for everything to happen."

Would the average person think of using fuel from the fryer?

"No," said golfer Michael Beene. "But if it works, yeah! Why not?"

Golfer Bruce Smith told CBS 11 News, "That sounds like an incredible idea. It's saving the environment from pollution."

In addition to being ecofriendly, the grease is a lot cheaper per gallon than regular fuel.

"We've run at about 90-cents a gallon for the biodiesel and diesel [fuel] is up around $4.00 again," Claburn said. "We just started doing it the past few months and it's already almost a thousand dollars that it's benefited our bottom line, at this point."

The only byproducts of the grease are glycerin and water. But the glycerin can be turned into soap that is used elsewhere on the golf course.

But how does the product work in those lawn mower engines?

"When you use biodiesel it has a lot of lubrication, the equipment runs better," Claburn explained. "We don't get that black puff of smoke when it starts up now. It just starts clean and it goes."

The more fuel the course refines the more money it saves. Tierra Verde is now looking for ways to collect more grease from restaurants and homes.

Claburn hopes to partner with the city's water department, which collects used cooking oil after people have fried their Thanksgiving turkeys.

The course is also considering trading donated grease for discounted rounds of golfs.


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