BATON ROUGE (AP) — Louisiana’s prison system could save money by transforming used cooking grease into biodiesel fuel for its fleet of trucks and buses, Department of Corrections Undersecretary Thomas Bickham said Monday.
Bickham said the agency is in a study that will determine if the grease conversion process would save money — one of several cost-cutting measures under consideration with budget cuts looming.
Bickham said the Corrections Department currently uses the grease to cook for roughly 17,000 prisoners, then pays a private contractor to haul it away.
“We produce a lot of grease at our institutions,” Bickham told a House budget subcommittee. “We fry a lot of food for these guys.”
The department has cut $11.5 million from this year’s budget, now at $553 million. Like other state agencies, it could face further cuts in the next fiscal year.
Corrections is also building an incinerator at the state penitentiary at Angola, to burn its medical waste rather than paying contractors to do so. It also plans to hire a private firm to study its institutions and recommend ways to cut energy costs, Bickham said.