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PSU Automotive Students Get Training in Biodiesel - KOAM TV 7

PSU Automotive Students Get Training in Biodiesel

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    Gas prices are good now but when they go up drivers will want cars with the best fuel economy.  Because of that many automakers are turning to diesel technology and bio-diesel fuels are part of what makes them a clean option.

    Today PSU automotive students are learning how bio-diesel works as the alternative fuel becomes more mainstream. First it was ethanol now its bio-diesel.

    Steven Benzel, an automotive technology major says the course gave him new insights into bio-diesel.  He says, "It’s much cleaner but has the same power output.  And I think it’s, maybe even it will get cheaper down the road. But right now it’s the better fuel of the two."

Steven wants to design new cars and trucks. He and those studying mechanics are learning how biodiesel works in engines.

MARC IV Bio-based Innovations instructor, Steve Howell says, "It reduces the carbon dioxide in the air about eighty percent with the b100 about sixteen  percent with the b20."

And students learn how to fix engines running on bio-diesel  

Scott Norman the associate professor of Automotive Technology at PSU says, "If someone's making their own, not certified correctly,  they could have engine problems. The filters could plug up  in cold weather. There are some very unique problems you have to be aware of if you're running bio-diesel in your vehicle."

Yes, making your own bio-diesel is possible and happening on farms.  Even the university automotive technology program makes its own bio-diesel from campus dining room fryer grease, filtered and processed in the bio-diesel plant machine. Students then test the products gravity.

Norman says, "We make it. We test it in our fuels lab to make sure it meets all the standards so it would be able to be used in the vehicle."

Experts say diesel engines are forty percent more fuel efficient than their gasoline counterparts. And there are at least fifty vehicle models on the market using diesel fuels. They say it’s the wave of the future and it  

could be a big benefit to the state of Kansas.

Howell says, “Because it provides added markets for farmer based products. It provides added outlets for soybeans, provides added outlets for livestock. You can make it out of animal fat which is a by-product of livestock production.  It actually reduces the overall price of soybean meal so it reduces our food prices and provides an outlet to have more food than less food. So it’s a real win win across the board."

     Howell says the majority of new diesel engine vehicles are already approved for blends of at least twenty percent bio-diesel.

 The training was provided in part by Metropolitan Energy Center, a  nonprofit that works to improve our environment through energy education, and  training.

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