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KNOXVILLE — Jonathan Overly, a UT researcher and executive director of the East Tennessee Clean Fuels Coalition (ETCFC), has earned a top honor from a national alternative fuels effort.

Jonathan Overly
Jonathan Overly
Overly, who serves as a senior research associate with UT’s Energy, Environment and Resources Center, was named Coordinator of the Year by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Cities Initiative. He was chosen from among the 90 Clean Cities coordinators nationwide.

Clean Cities is an initiative of the DOE designed to reduce petroleum consumption in the transportation sector and improve air quality by advancing the use of alternative fuels and alternative-fuel vehicles. Clean Cities comprises local alternative fuel organizations from throughout the U.S.

Overly has led the ETCFC since 2002 and has been particularly effective at introducing biodiesel, a renewable fuel made from plant oils or animal fat, into the fuel mix in East Tennessee. Biodiesel, typically offered in a formulation of 80 percent petroleum-based diesel and 20 percent biodiesel (B20), burns cleaner than traditional diesel fuels. Trucks and cars that run on diesel fuel can operate on B20 with no modifications to their engines.

“It is particularly meaningful to have received this award only a year and half after ETCFC became a designated coalition under the Clean Cities Program,” said Overly. “ETCFC is spreading the message of the ‘whys’ and ‘hows’ of alternative fuels and, in the process, improving regional air quality and helping our country reduce its oil dependence and reliance on foreign fuel sources.”

As a result of Overly’s efforts and those of ETCFC, more than 50 East Tennessee public and commercial fleets, including Knoxville Area Transit and Great Smoky Mountains National Park, now use biodiesel blends in their vehicles. There also are now 19 public biodiesel fueling stations in East Tennessee, and more than 750,000 gallons of B100 (100 percent biodiesel) were consumed last year in the region.

“Anyone who has come into contact with Jonathan knows how passionate he is about the Clean Cities mission,” said EERC Executive Director Jack Barkenbus. “It is great to see his passion and effectiveness recognized and honored by his peers.”

ETCFC also supports the use of other alternative fuels, including ethanol, electricity, hydrogen, natural gas, and propane, all of which release fewer air emissions than traditional petroleum-based fuels and work to break the United States of its dependence on petroleum.

In 2004, Overly formed the Biodiesel Brigade, made up of citizens from throughout East Tennessee who commit to using biodiesel and who show their devotion to the cause through logos on their vehicles, and he leads the brigade with his biodiesel-fueled Dodge Ram 2500 that runs on B100.

For information on the ETCFC, visit the coalition’s Web site at More information in the Clean Cities program is available at


Jay Mayfield, media relations (865-974-9409,

Jonathan Overly, ETCFC (865-974-3625,