January 5, 2015 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Fellow travelers on Omaha’s roads might figure Eric Williams spends all his time on the links. It’s an understandable misconception given his personalized license plates that read, “BIOGOLF.”
Rather, the plates are a reference to Williams’ preference to putt around…on bio fuel.

Since 2006, Williams has been driving cars that run mostly on commercially produced biofuels. First, that was with a 2002 Jetta. These days he’s behind the wheel of a 2003 Volkswagen Golf TDI, which boasts a 1.9-liter diesel engine.

Thus the license plate.


He definitely puts his miles where his mouth is. In the past nine years, Williams has driven more than 75,000 miles on biofuels, including road trips from California to Omaha.

“No modifications were needed to allow biodiesel,” he says. “Just pump it into the tank and I’m all set. I do most of my own maintenance on the car, and have made some other improvements to increase efficiency on the road. I generally get around 45-plus miles per gallon combined city/highway when running on pure biofuels.”

He’s hoping to get others to do the same. Williams and other biofuel-conscious folks in 2008 formed the Omaha Biofuels Cooperative. Williams is president (by day he’s a natural resources planner for the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District).

The co-op is working on getting permits to provide their own fuel. That could mean collecting waste oil from local restaurants and recycling that into fuel for member cars.

“The mission of the co-op is to produce, use, and promote biofuels,” Williams says. “We wish to use biofuels to replace fossil fuels…to reduce the total environmental impact.

In the mean time, Williams has a couple of his own biofuel projects cooking. He recently purchased a 1987 International short bus that he’s converting to run directly on recycled cooking oil. He’ll take that on camping trips. He also is modifying a moped, replacing the gasoline engine with a small diesel engine so it can run on a blend of biofuels.

Sounds like he’ll be making a couple trips to the DMV for more personalized license plates.