The Vermont Cynic

Eat Fried Food and Save the Environment 

The Earth is rapidly approaching a fossil fuels crisis. Fossil fuels are currently the primary source of the relatively inexpensive energy that powers our modern industrial civilization. Some of the best scientists and engineers in the energy field are telling us that we are running out of crude oil and natural gas, which means big problems for civilization as we know it, which cannot exist without these fuels. Many people and organizations are taking steps to prepare themselves and others for this inevitable catastrophe. Progress is being made in the fields of alternative energy and sustainable development, and scientists are struggling to find an inexpensive alternative to fossil fuels. Much of this progress has been made in the automobile industry, which is heavily dependent on crude oil. Toyota introduced the Prius, a hybrid car that runs off of gas and electricity, which paved the way for other hybrid cars.

Hybrid cars are cheaper to run than your average car, because they get much more miles to the gallon. You still need to buy gas, though; you just don’t have to buy as much. The next-step towards a fossil fuel car is even more inexpensive and efficient – it is the veggie oil, or bio-diesel, car. The diesel car was always meant to be more efficient than the gasoline powered car. Its fuel economy is unquestioned. Recently, however, the discovery of the ability of diesel cars to run on vegetable oil if converted, and the invention of bio-diesel, a fuel made of vegetable oil and alcohol, has made it possible for diesel cars to run even more efficiently. The University of Vermont, a university known for its environmental program, has shown a lot of interest in the movement to convert diesel cars to run on vegetable oil. One senior, Zach Carson, has taken the issue of fossil fuel depletion seriously, and is converting his own bus to run on vegetable oil as part of his senior thesis. Carson is an Environmental Studies major at UVM, and became interested in producing his own veggie oil car over the past year. His interest was sparked in Costa Rica, where he met a group of people who were driving two veggie oil buses around the continent. Their goal was to teach about alternative energy and organic farming at all the stops they made. Carson was inspired. He procured a diesel bus with the help of Professor Fred Schmidt of the Rural Studies Program at UVM. Schmidt is also on the board for CTAA (the Communication Transport Authority for America), and he put Carson in touch with SMART (Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transit), which is the community transportation authority for Detroit Michigan. SMART essentially donated a bus to Carson, who purchased the 1997 Champion Challenger for one dollar. Carson’s goal is to use the converted bus as an educational tool. He plans to have all the parts labeled, so that the average layman can observe and understand the process of conversion. Educational posters and information will be aboard the bus everywhere Carson travels – he hopes to educate about bio-diesel and the problems with fossil fuels while he travels the country. “Ideally, someone could walk onto the bus and not only learn about the conversion process, but also about harmful emissions and what regular gas is doing to the Earth. Economically and environmentally, fossil fuel gas is a bad idea,” explains Carson. The bus is in the process of being converted to run on straight veggie oil. The veggie oil car is a dual tank fuel system, with diesel in the first tank that heats the veggie oil in the second tank. Diesel is used only in starting the car, and in the last few miles of driving, in order to allow the veggie oil to cool back down. Bio-diesel is a mixture of veggie oil and alcohol that requires no diesel oil to be hot enough to power a car. Bio-diesel is ten times less toxic than table salt and biodegrades as fast as sugar does. It is the ideal fuel, in terms of the environment, and diesel cars do not need to be converted to run on bio-diesel. Carson hopes to use bio-diesel as much as possible on his travels, but will be able to get plenty of veggie oil for free from restaurants when the supply of bio-diesel fluid is short. Carson realizes that, in terms of practicality, using a bus to demonstrate efficiency is hard – it would be more efficient to use a small car. However, in terms of media and the public eye, a bus gets the message across better, with enough room for educational material and for Carson to live. He plans to outfit the bus with a solar-panel to run his cd-player and his lights, and he is currently trying to get a deep-fat fryer to cook his food – he can use all the extra oil from cooking to power his travels. At the end of this, his senior year, Carson will get into his bus and start his nationwide journey. He will go around the country and present his bus in towns and cities, educating the public. If you would like to make donations or have the veggie bus come to your own town, visit Carson’s website, www.fossilfreeway.com. This week, Earth week, is a busy week for Carson and his bus. There is a fundraiser scheduled at Slade Hall on Redstone on Wednesday, April 20th. The bands Bubblin Upstream and The Flo will play from seven to eleven in the evening, and money will be collected for Carson’s project. The bus will also be on display at ECHO on Thursday and Friday, with Carson present to answer questions. Earth week is the perfect opportunity for Carson to begin his educational project in Burlington, and he is taking full advantage of it – learning about the veggie oil car has never been so easy.

Eat Fried Food and Save the Environment

The Earth is rapidly approaching a fossil fuels crisis. Fossil fuels are currently the primary source of the relatively inexpensive energy that powers our modern industrial civilization. Some of the best scientists and engineers in the energy field are telling us that we are running out of crude oil and natural gas, which means big problems for civilization as we know it, which cannot exist without these fuels. Many people and organizations are taking steps to prepare themselves and others for this inevitable catastrophe. Progress is being made in the fields of alternative energy and sustainable development, and scientists are struggling to find an inexpensive alternative to fossil fuels. Much of this progress has been made in the automobile industry, which is heavily dependent on crude oil. Toyota introduced the Prius, a hybrid car that runs off of gas and electricity, which paved the way for other hybrid cars. Hybrid cars are cheaper to run than your average car, because they get much more miles to the gallon. You still need to buy gas, though; you just don’t have to buy as much. The next-step towards a fossil fuel car is even more inexpensive and efficient – it is the veggie oil, or bio-diesel, car. The diesel car was always meant to be more efficient than the gasoline powered car. Its fuel economy is unquestioned. Recently, however, the discovery of the ability of diesel cars to run on vegetable oil if converted, and the invention of bio-diesel, a fuel made of vegetable oil and alcohol, has made it possible for diesel cars to run even more efficiently. The University of Vermont, a university known for its environmental program, has shown a lot of interest in the movement to convert diesel cars to run on vegetable oil. One senior, Zach Carson, has taken the issue of fossil fuel depletion seriously, and is converting his own bus to run on vegetable oil as part of his senior thesis. Carson is an Environmental Studies major at UVM, and became interested in producing his own veggie oil car over the past year. His interest was sparked in Costa Rica, where he met a group of people who were driving two veggie oil buses around the continent. Their goal was to teach about alternative energy and organic farming at all the stops they made. Carson was inspired. He procured a diesel bus with the help of Professor Fred Schmidt of the Rural Studies Program at UVM. Schmidt is also on the board for CTAA (the Communication Transport Authority for America), and he put Carson in touch with SMART (Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transit), which is the community transportation authority for Detroit Michigan. SMART essentially donated a bus to Carson, who purchased the 1997 Champion Challenger for one dollar. Carson’s goal is to use the converted bus as an educational tool. He plans to have all the parts labeled, so that the average layman can observe and understand the process of conversion. Educational posters and information will be aboard the bus everywhere Carson travels – he hopes to educate about bio-diesel and the problems with fossil fuels while he travels the country. “Ideally, someone could walk onto the bus and not only learn about the conversion process, but also about harmful emissions and what regular gas is doing to the Earth. Economically and environmentally, fossil fuel gas is a bad idea,” explains Carson. The bus is in the process of being converted to run on straight veggie oil. The veggie oil car is a dual tank fuel system, with diesel in the first tank that heats the veggie oil in the second tank. Diesel is used only in starting the car, and in the last few miles of driving, in order to allow the veggie oil to cool back down. Bio-diesel is a mixture of veggie oil and alcohol that requires no diesel oil to be hot enough to power a car. Bio-diesel is ten times less toxic than table salt and biodegrades as fast as sugar does. It is the ideal fuel, in terms of the environment, and diesel cars do not need to be converted to run on bio-diesel. Carson hopes to use bio-diesel as much as possible on his travels, but will be able to get plenty of veggie oil for free from restaurants when the supply of bio-diesel fluid is short. Carson realizes that, in terms of practicality, using a bus to demonstrate efficiency is hard – it would be more efficient to use a small car. However, in terms of media and the public eye, a bus gets the message across better, with enough room for educational material and for Carson to live. He plans to outfit the bus with a solar-panel to run his cd-player and his lights, and he is currently trying to get a deep-fat fryer to cook his food – he can use all the extra oil from cooking to power his travels. At the end of this, his senior year, Carson will get into his bus and start his nationwide journey. He will go around the country and present his bus in towns and cities, educating the public. If you would like to make donations or have the veggie bus come to your own town, visit Carson’s website, www.fossilfreeway.com. This week, Earth week, is a busy week for Carson and his bus. There is a fundraiser scheduled at Slade Hall on Redstone on Wednesday, April 20th. The bands Bubblin Upstream and The Flo will play from seven to eleven in the evening, and money will be collected for Carson’s project. The bus will also be on display at ECHO on Thursday and Friday, with Carson present to answer questions. Earth week is the perfect opportunity for Carson to begin his educational project in Burlington, and he is taking full advantage of it – learning about the veggie oil car has never been so easy.

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Eat Fried Food and Save the Environment