Appalachian State University students further campus biodiesel use

By | January 24, 2007
Thanks to a student-led initiative at Appalachian State University (ASU) in Boone, N.C., the campus' diesel-burning buses, service vehicles and a garbage truck are now running on B20. The ASU Renewable Energy Initiative (REI), one of about 20 student groups worldwide that aim to lessen universities' dependence on nonrenewable energy, also helped the school to purchase a 10,000-gallon biodiesel fuel tank and dispenser, funded in part by a student renewable energy fee-$5 per student per semester-that was approved by the student body in 2004.

"The fact that REI exists testifies to the importance of alternative energy on our campus," said Eric Mathis, project manager and REI member since the group's inception in 2004. "A greater majority of those students active on campus are fully aware of the important role that alternative energy plays in all efforts for positive social change."

Other schools with renewable energy initiatives include: Carnegie Mellon University, Connecticut College, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Penn State University, the University of California-San Diego, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Oregon, the University of Colorado, the Wesleyan University, the University of Vermont, Oberlin College and Swathmore College.

In addition to the 15 ASU vehicles, 13 buses from Watauga County's transportation service AppalCart, will now run on B20. AppalCart is funded by student fees and allocations, the town of Boone, N.C., Watauga County, and state and federal dollars.

Adam Milt, vice chairman of the REI, said the group has a number of other renewable energy projects on tap, including a solar thermal project still in the design phase, a wind turbine installation project that is in the conceptual phase and a photovoltaic project scheduled to begin next semester. This spring, the REI, which is a three-year recurring piece of university legislation, will appear before the student body council for its first renewal process.
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