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August 01, 2008   Email to Friend 

Darryal Ray
(334) 613-4187
August 01, 2008

Keith fuels up his "bio-truck" with some junk mail.
MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Wayne Keith, a Springville cattle farmer whose "bio-truck" has earned celebrity status on the alternative energy lecture circuit, will be driving the truck to California and back to promote awareness of alternative fuels, according to a spokeswoman with the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries.

Details of the "Coast to Coast and Back Renewable Energy Tour" will be announced Monday, Aug. 4, when Commissioner Ron Sparks holds a 1 p.m. press conference.

Keith's "bio-truck" will be the lead vehicle for the Sept. 28-Oct. 6 tour, and will also participate in a Berkley-to-Las Vegas race Oct. 11-13.

The event is intended to raise awareness of renewable energy and its economic, environmental and social benefits. Keith's vehicle can be powered with a wide range of biomass material, including wood, switchgrass, crop residues and even chicken litter.

Larry Fillmer, executive director of the Institute of Natural Resources at Auburn University, will be among the guest speakers, along with Auburn professor Dr. David Bransby and Randy Fulmer, director of the Department of Agriculture's Weights & Measures. Others scheduled to attend are state lawmakers Sen. Wendell Mitchell and Rep. Greg Wren, Deputy Commissioner Glen Zorn and, of course, Keith.

Keith's "biotruck" is less polluting than hybrids because it recycles carbon. Some gasoline is used, but it primarily runs on solid biomass.

His 1991 Dodge Dakota is the third generation of Keith's "bio-trucks." Wayne has traveled 20,000 miles on wood in each of his first two trucks, and says he has not traveled on petroleum fuels in more than two years.

"I don't think you'll ever see many vehicles using this process," Keith acknowledged in a 2006 interview with the Columbus (Ga.,) Ledger-Enquirer. "Maybe some farm trucks. But we could use the system for co-generation of heat and electricity such as heating chicken houses and other buildings. I heat my home with it."

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