Hoover, Ala., officials have agreed to donate the city's wood waste, such as trees, limbs and branches collected from residents, to an experimental program that will convert the wood into ethanol fuel. The demonstration plant, owned by Livingston, Ala.-based Gulf Coast Energy, is the first of its kind to use a technique called "gasification of wood waste."

The city expects its wood waste to generate approximately 350,000 gallons of fuel per year once the plant is operating at full capacity. Eventually, the city plans to purchase the fuel for its fleet of 163 ethanol-powered cars and 160 biodiesel-powered vehicles. The city has implemented several alternative fuel programs since 2005, including one in which it collects cooking oil from residents and processes that into biodiesel. As of June, the city had processed 17,000 gallons of used cooking oil into fuel at a cost of 75 cents per gallon.