University and AppalCart diesel vehicles run on biodiesel, thanks to student project

Posted December 5, 2006 at 10:52 am By ASU News
Filed under General, Alternative Energy

Appalachian State Universitys diesel-burning buses, service vehicles and garbage truck are now powered by biodiesel, thanks to a student-led initiative aimed at reducing the universitys dependence on nonrenewable energy.
In addition, buses operated by AppalCart will now run on the 20 percent biodiesel and 80 percent diesel mixture known at B20. AppalCart is Watauga Countys transportation service, funded in part by student fees and allocations from the Town of Boone, Watauga County, and state and federal funds.

A 10,000-gallon fuel tank and fuel dispenser have been installed at the universitys fueling station on Dale Street off State Farm Road to store and dispense the biodiesel fuel.

The purchase was funded in part by the student renewable energy fee, approved by the universitys student body in 2004.

Starting today, 13 AppalCart buses and a portion of the universitys motor pool will become a bit greener, setting a standard that we hope other universities and towns across the state and country will follow, said Mary Baker, chair of Appalachians Renewable Energy Initiative.

Through the initiative, students pay $10 a year to fund alternative and renewable energy projects on campus.

There are only about 20 of these student-led university initiatives in the nation, and we are proud to be the leaders in this area. We hope to lessen the universitys dependence on nonrenewable energy and decrease our environmental impact. Today, we are one step closer to that goal.

AppalCart director Chris Turner estimates his fleet of buses will use 5,000 gallons of biodiesel a month. It is estimated that university vehicles will use about 2,500 gallons a month. In addition, the gasoline tanks at the fueling station have been converted to pump E10 fuel, which is a combination of ethanol and gasoline.

The cleaner-burning fuels will reduce the amount of unburned hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and particulates released into the atmosphere, university officials say.

This project represents the student bodys commitment to preserving our natural resources, reducing our dependence on foreign oil supplies and protecting the environment through reduced emissions of air pollutants, said Greg Lovins, interim vice chancellor for business affairs.

Appalachian is undergoing somewhat of a renaissance in energy issues as we move to reduce energy use and enhance our recycling efforts throughout campus.

Lovins said a new recycling coordinator has been hired who will focus on student involvement on the universitys recycling efforts, and that Appalachian was recruiting its first energy manager whose duties would include conducting a comprehensive review of energy use on campus and initiating technological and conservation projects to meet the states energy reduction goals.

We are not taking these actions solely as a result of state or federal laws, Lovins said, but because they are the right things to do. Appalachian is committed to being a leader in sustainable practices where they are economically achievable.


Caption One: Mary Baker, chair of the student-run Renewable Energy Initiative, pumps biodiesel fuel into an AppalCart bus. Thanks to student efforts, the university now has a 10,000 tank that contains B20 fuel, a mixture of diesel and biodiesel. (Appalachian photos by University Photographer Mike Rominger)

Caption Two: Students in Appalachian State Universitys Renewable Energy Initiative pose beside an AppalCart bus that now runs on biodiesel purchased from the universitys motor pool fueling station.

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University and AppalCart diesel vehicles run on biodiesel, thanks to student project

March 1, 2007: REI plans for 2007 in The High Country News

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