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Students create an alternative source of fuel

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April 5, 2006

Nashville - Berrien High School chemistry students have never had such an important science experiment. Their results with save them money and protect their futures. "It's much more predictable, its cheap, and its much cleaner for the air," said Ashley Stephen.

They're turning peanut oil into biodiesel. "We mix it with methanol and we use a catalyst which speeds up the reaction, and we mix it together, heat up the oil, put it in a jar and shake it," said Rory Blackmon.

Let that mixture sit for several hours, and you've got an alternative source of fuel. "When you come back, all the peanut oil will be settled at the bottom and at the top, you'll have you're biodiesel," said Blackmon.

The whole process takes about 12 hours, and the end result is a more cost effective and environmentally friendly fuel.  "This fuel produces almost no sulfer that contributes to acid rain, its lead free, and it recycles carbon monoxide," said Landon Alberson, Chemistry Teacher.

"The environment is basically being town to pieces by what we're using in our fossil fuels and we'll be more dependent on ourselves if we make our own fuels instead of depending on other countries," said Blackmon.

Just as in every experiment, the students must test their product. They filled up a diesel truck's gas tank with their fuel, and it worked!  "If I can give them the education they need as far as alternative fuels are concerned, I think they'oll make environmentally friendly decisions," said Alberson.

It's work that will hopefully earn them an A plus, and will protect their world for years to come.

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