Cut tree limbs and branches are no longer just waste in Hoover, Ala. On Thursday, the city received its first batch of vehicle fuel made from the city's wood waste.

The wood-based ethanol fuel, processed at the Gulf Coast Energy demonstration plant in Livingston, Ala., was poured into the tanks of several flex-fuel police patrol cars at a ceremony Thursday afternoon. It was the first time in the United States that a city's wood waste had been processed into fuel, Hoover Mayor Tony Petelos said, and the program also was hailed by the Birmingham, Ala.-based Alabama Clean Fuels Coalition. "Hoover's wood and yard waste to fuel [program] makes sense well beyond city budgeting," said the coalition's Executive Director Mark Bentley in a statement. "In addition to reducing our dependence on foreign oil, there are significant environmental benefits from the lower emissions generated by the Hoover vehicles consuming wood-based ethanol. [Also, the program] reduces the amount of waste [the city] sends to landfills."

Hoover began using alternative-fueled vehicles in 2005, and the city now has 357 cars and other vehicles that operate on ethanol. More information on the wood-waste project is available at the Hoover, Ala., city Web site.

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