Group looks to use new trailer, other means to raise awareness
You may have seen it written on the side of every Buff Bus driving through campus, and you have no doubt heard the term before, but you still might be wondering: What exactly does it mean? What is biodiesel?
While the answer may not be as simple as you may have hoped, it can be found on the third floor of the UMC, in office 345. This is where the student group CU Biodiesel resides. Working hard since last fall, when the group was developed, the members of CU Biodiesel are dedicated to promoting and researching the use of biodiesel.
CU Biodiesel has already accomplished a lot. The group played a large part in converting the campus Buff Buses to biodiesel. Currently, all thirteen of the Buff Buses run at least partially on biodiesel.
“Running on biodiesel is more expensive right now, but on the other hand, the buses have had lower maintenance costs,” said Josh Sperling, a junior civil engineering major. The group subsidizes the additional costs through referendum funding and student fees.
All students pay 45 cents a semester in student fees to help pay for the biodiesel used to fuel the Buff Buses. For a private car, biodiesel is still more expensive than conventional diesel.
“Right now, biodiesel is about 25 to 30 cents more expensive than petroleum diesel. However, as the production of biodiesel increases, it will become cheaper than petroleum diesel,” said CU Biodiesel’s Research and Development Director Wimm Vadakan, a senior majoring in advertising with secondary majors in biology and geology.
CU Biodiesel is committed to “awareness, education and project implementation,” Wimm said.
“Right now, we are planning a trip to Texas to pick up our trailer. We hope to go the entire way on biodiesel,” said Sperling.
The group plans to use its new trailer to raise awareness of biodiesel around campus. The group will use the trailer to put on demonstrations of biodiesel production.
This is one of the many things the group is currently doing to jumpstart the use of biodiesel. All the steps being taken are part of an effort to meet one of the group’s main goals.
“I hope to make CU Boulder the hub for biodiesel production and awareness,” Sperling said. “If this occurs, we will be able to hold conferences and further the education and use of biodiesel.”
CU Biodiesel is not only doing things around campus to educate people about biodiesel, it has also spread the message to community elementary schools. Project Yellow Bus is the group’s newest curriculum created for students in kindergarten to fifth grade.
The project’s slogan, “education is the first step towards sustainable future,” explains why the group has implemented the program. Education is one of the three main focuses of the group, and it is starting to educate students at a younger age in hopes of influencing multiple generations.