Brian Shank of Clermont Scapes in Groveland, Fla., planted a 22-acre plot of Jatropha as a cost-effective way to help the environment. He will use the plant to fuel his fleet of 25 diesel trucks.
A large Florida landscaping business has planted a 22-acre biomass crop at its nursery that will produce enough fuel to operate its fleet of 25 diesel trucks.
Brian Shank, president of Clermont Scapes in Groveland, Fla., said he decided to plant a 22-acre plot of Jatropha in order to save money for his hurting business, but also to set an example for other companies looking for cost-effective ways to help the environment.
Currently the company spends $24,000 on diesel fuel every month. Shank believes the fuel produced from his Jatropha crop will cost the company half as much. In the current economy, that money means a lot for the business.
Shank’s business previously employed up to 75 people, but the economy has forced layoffs, diminishing the workforce to a mere 40 employees. With the money saved by growing his own fuel, Shank says he will hire more workers.
Shank said he chose Jatropha because the desert-native plant can yield up to 10 times as much energy as corn and requires much less water to grow. One acre of Jatropha can produce over 1000 gallons of biofuel a year.
As of now, Clermont Scapes does not have the ability to process the Jatropha seeds, which are around 40% oil, to fuel on their own. Instead, Shank plans to hire a nearby grease-to-fuel facility to do the job.