Schenectady County

Cow oil to be tested in Schenectady County vehicles

Schenectady County could soon become the first to draw its supply of motor oil from a cow.

Schenectady County could soon become the first to draw its supply of motor oil from a cow.

Fat rendered from the animal could be used to lubricate engines in the Department of Public Works’ fleet of vehicles, depending on the results of a pilot program that will soon be under way in select county vehicles. Schenectady County is teaming up with Green Planet Products, a Connecticut-based consumer goods manufacturer, to test the effectiveness of the so-called G-Oil in high-use vehicles.

Over the next couple of months, county DPW workers will compare the product’s effectiveness to see if it’s a viable, environmentally friendly and cost-effective alternative to the petroleum-derived oil used today. Depending on the results, the product could eventually be used in the county’s entire fleet of vehicles.

“It’s going to be used in vehicles that have high mileage at first,” county spokesman Joe McQueen said this week. “If it performs as well and if it’s as efficient, we could switch.”

Representatives from the Galesi Group initially approached the county with the idea and offered to supply the DPW with a 55-gallon drum of the product, which is the first 100 percent biodegradable motor oil to hit the market and the first approved by the American Petroleum Institute. Galesi is acting as the wholesale distribution arm for Green Planet Products and is targeting large-quantity users for the oil.

“It runs more efficient, increases mileage and is 100 percent biodegradeable,” said David Buicko, Galesi’s chief operating officer.

He said Galesi is already using the oil in a number of lifts operating at the Rotterdam Corporate Park and in other vehicles. Buicko said he’s even using the product in his GMC Denali.

“We wouldn’t be selling it and we wouldn’t be distributing it if we weren’t using it ourselves,” he said. “It’s running clean, it’s increasing horsepower and it’s performing better than synthetic oil.”

The product also was put to the test at the Laguna-Seca Raceway in Monterey, Calif., during last month’s American Le Mans race. The event features high-performance sports cars and has races lasting from just less than two hours to nearly 12 hours.

The oil produced by rendered beef fat was primarily used for frying oil. But the product contains trans fats, which are considered unhealthy and are even banned for commercial use in some areas of the state.

These saturated fats have molecular single-bond carbon chains similar to common petroleum oils but don’t negatively affect the environment. Buicko said the product is also comparably priced with other leading brands of petroleum-based motor oil.

Buicko said Galesi is in negotiations with other high-volume users and municipalities to purchase G-Oil. He’s optimistic that Schenectady County will be pleased with the product and eventually use it for all of its vehicles.

“Hopefully as [the county goes] forward, they’ll put all their vehicles on it,” he said.

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