Non Profit Organization Set to Run Touring Bus on Bio Diesel

Thursday, March 3, 2011 - 9:58am

Who would have thought old vegetable oil could power up a big school bus.
So it's a little more complicated than just putting thick vegetable oil right in the tank. The orange colored greasy gunk is straight from deep fryers from restraunts across Brownsville and it takes a bit of a process to turn the oil into fuel.

"Every kind of oil that we would get from restaurants would be different." said Joe Boswell; Outreach Director for Rio Bravo Wildlife Institute.

The former french fry grease requires some fine chemical tuning before pouring it in the tank. That's what Boswell and a buddy were doing Wednesday, testing a very small sample of one of the batches of vegetable oil to get the chemical balance just right in order for the oil to transform into bio diesel fuel.

The Rio Bravo Wildlife Institute, a non-profit organization, is behind the bio diesel project. The organization will be traveling throughout Texas educating children and adults alike on living green and energy consumption, so they thought why not practice what we preach.

"Rather than burning fuel that we had to get out of the bottom of the mountain or get overseas, you're finding fuel in the form of bio diesel." said Boswell

On top of that, the price of filling up is way cheaper.

"Less than a dollar a gallon, and that's just for the cost of the chemicals that are added to the waste vegetable oil." said Boswell

Aside from running off a buck a gallon, Boswell said using bio diesel will reduce the amount of pollution emitted from the bus.

What the non-profit needs now is some assistance. They'll play chemist, but they need help getting that used vegetable oil.

"We definitely need some restaurants to help that would like to not pay to have their vegetable oil removed and to have us remove it for them to turn it into bio diesel." said Boswell

While the immediate purpose of the bio diesel bus is to travel throughout the Lone Star State to teach about fuel alternatives and energy consumption, Boswell says the long term goal is to eventually attract green industries and a new labor force into the lower valley.

If you’d like to see the bio diesel bus in full force, you can catch the bus this weekend at the Brownsville Famer’s Market. If you’d like to donate your waste vegetable oil to the non-profit, you can reach them at 956-587-9567.

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