Running on vegetable oil rather than empty
May 24, 2006
Oil and water don’t mix, but a project of that same name could cause quite a stir.
The Oil + Water Project Awareness Tour, headed up by professional kayakers Seth Warren, a Park City High School graduate, and Tyler Bradt, is designed to help raise awareness about alternative fuels.
The two young men do not just preach about the value of non-renewable resources, they live it. traveling in and living out of a truck powered entirely by vegetable oil the two are touring 16 countries, two continents and will educate people along the way. They might also get in a bit of kayaking.
"We can parallel our lifestyles with an advocacy for alternative fuel sources," Bradt said.
As they prepare for a trip from Alaska to Chile, the two stopped by Treasure Mountain International School to speak with the students.
During the presentation about the depletion of natural resources, such as fossil fuel Warren said, "We’re trying to go around and show there are alternatives to this."
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He graduated from the University of Montana where he studied resource conservation. But he said his interest in the subject began at Park City High School in Tony Winterer’s advanced environmental sciences class.
Now he is doing a bit of teaching of his own. Warren told students about Henry Ford and how the first engine he built ran off soy fuel from plants that Ford grew in his own backyard.
Bradt continued by explaining to the class how, at the time, gasoline was a less expensive resource so the combustion engine became more popular.
"Petroleum was so prevalent in the early 1900’s," he said.
Over time people have become dependent on foreign sources of oil, Bradt said.
He explained that another drawback of using gasoline is it releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere where it stays because plants are unable to consume all of it. However, with bio-diesel this is not the case because the same amount of carbon dioxide is consumed by plants as it releases into the atmosphere and there is no excess, Bradt said.
After showing students a diagram of a bio-diesel engine Warren and Bradt took students out to the parking lot and showed them the Toyota fire truck they are touring in. It has a Plexiglas panel in the side to show the converter they use to turn natural resources, such as oil from nuts, into fuel.
They have 180 gallons of oil on board, which allows them to travel 2,000 miles or from San Francisco to New York City without stopping to fill up.
Their journey started in March, and continuing through June they will travel to 50 cities in the U.S. Starting in July they will embark on a trip from Alaska to Southern Chili and from there they will go to New Zealand.
"I feel like where I’m at in my life I had an extraordinary opportunity," Warren said, adding that rather than complain about the destruction of natural resources he wanted to be a part of the solution.
For more information about the Oil + Water Project visit: http://www.oilandwaterproject.org .