HUNTSVILLE, AL — High-tech Huntsville meets high-tech Ivy League when the "Big Green Bus" stops here to fill its tank with vegetable oil.
That's no typo. This full-sized, 1989 MCI motorcoach and its load of Dartmouth College students are making their way across America this summer on waste vegetable oil.
Well, that plus solar power to keep the onboard lights, DVD players, flat-screen TV and other electrical essentials humming.
The bus tour, which stopped at UAH on Tuesday, is designed to get people talking about saving energy.
Huntsville's gearheads and geeks should find the students and their project interesting. Dartmouth has one of America's top engineering schools, and the riders are eager to meet and talk with people across America.
They're green, in other words, but not mean green.
"There is no 'ideal' solution," said student Sarah Rocio of Weston, Conn., in a typical post on the tour's Web site. "As stewards of this planet we need to make decisions that minimize the consequences of our actions by taking responsibility for them. This is the mentality I hope to convey during our epic cross-country road trip."
It sounds good, but can a diesel this big really run on leftover fish fry oil? Yes, it can, the Big Green Web site says.
"When Rudolf Diesel built the first diesel engine," the site notes, "one of the first fuels he experimented with was peanut oil."
Having already traveled down the East Coast, the bus arrives in Huntsville from Atlanta.
And because they are Ivy League kids, the Green Bus riders have mapped a route that has their bus spending the Fourth of July in New Orleans.
For more information, CLICK HERE to visit the Big Green Bus website.
Source: The Huntsville (Ala.) Times