October 12, 2006: AppalCART, ASU Motor Pool Go Green by End of 2006

October 12, 2006: AppalCART, ASU Motor Pool Go Green by End of 2006

Story by Sam Calhoun

Boone’s getting more green Appals…quot;AppalCARTs that is.

By the end of 2006, thirteen AppalCART buses and a portion of the ASU motor pool will begin running on B20 biodiesel…quot;a blend of 20 percent biodiesel mixed with 80 percent petroleum diesel. The project is a collaboration of AppalCART, ASU and the ASU REI (Renewable Energy Initiative)…quot;a student-led and student-funded initiative attempting to lessen the university’s and town’s dependence on non renewable energy.

In conjunction with AppalCART, the REI approved the purchase and installation of a 10,000-gallon biodiesel tank that will be located at the ASU Physical Plant facility on State Farm Road and used to fuel the buses and vehicles.

“We’re looking to install the tank in December,” said Matt Parks, three-year member and public relations director for the REI and an ASU senior majoring in interdisciplinary studies with a concentration in sustainable development. “And hopefully, the AppalCART will be on biodiesel by the end of the year.”

The REI worked out a deal to purchase B20 biodiesel from Piedmont Biofuels in Charlotte. The alternative fuel will be shipped via tanker to Boone to fill the 10,000-gallon tank.

The REI is a three-year-old organization that works to reduce dependence on foreign oil, educate the public on renewable energy and create and implement renewable energy initiatives. Roughly two years ago, the REI led a campaign to add $5 per semester to student fees, with the proceeds going directly into an REI bank account. Money from the account is used for renewable energy initiatives such as the impending switch of AppalCART and the ASU motor fleet to biodiesel. The entire cost of the switch will be covered by these funds.

Members of the REI are overseeing working as project managers.

The implementation of the switch to biodiesel will be fairly simple, according to Parks, because no modifications are necessary to convert petroleum diesel engines to biodiesel engines.

Parks said that using the alternative fuel will be “economically feasible” because the cost of biodiesel is roughly the same as petroleum diesel. Because the cost of biodiesel fluctuates often, Parks could not provide the actual cost.

Once the AppalCART buses and ASU motor fleet are running on biodiesel, ASU will have reduced its harmful emissions by 20 percent. This reduction will enable ASU to meet the state-mandated reduction of emissions by 20 percent for public institutions before the end of 2007.

“By putting these fleets on B20, we will take care of that mandate,” said Parks, who added that similar initiatives are taking place in Asheville and Durham.

“We live in an area with a high concentration of air pollutants and this will be the next step, the next systematic change for cleaner air,” he said. “Through this project, we want to show that it’s possible…quot;that it will work, even though most people don’t realize that diesel engines were originally built to run on peanut oil.”

“This is largely an educational project. It’s part of a push nationwide to reduce dependence on foreign fuels,” said Parks.

Once the switch is complete, AppalCART and ASU motor pool vehicles using the alternative fuel will have placards reading: ”This Bus/Vehicle Powered By Biodiesel.’

For more information, call Parks at 828-773-7700 or email mp53167@appstate.edu.
What is Biodiesel?

Biodiesel is a clean-burning alternative fuel produced from domestic, renewable resources. Biodiesel contains no petroleum, but can be blended with petroleum diesel to create a biodiesel blend. It can be used in compression-ignition (diesel) engines with little or no modifications. Biodiesel is simple to use, biodegradable, nontoxic and essentially free of sulfur and aromatics.


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