UT Announces New Student-Led Campus Biodiesel Program

MEDIA ADVISORY

WHAT: Press conference and ceremonial fill-up to announce UT’s new student-led campus biodiesel program, part of Make Orange Green Week, a week of campus environmental awareness events.

WHO: UT Chancellor Loren Crabtree and UT Biodiesel Coordinator Scott Curran, an undergraduate mechanical engineering student.

WHEN: Tuesday, Sept. 12, 1:30 p.m.

WHERE: Parking Lot behind Clarence Brown Theatre. Enter off of Pat Head Summit Street. Spaces for media will be reserved at back of lot.

An innovative, student-led program at the University of Tennessee is creating a model of campus sustainability.

UT Biodiesel provides training for students while allowing the university to have a positive impact on the environment.

The program takes waste vegetable oil used by UT Dining Services and converts it in an on-campus facility into biodiesel fuel. That biodiesel fuel will then be used in UT Facilities Services vehicles that burn diesel fuel. The program is spearheaded by members of UT’s student chapter of the Society of Automotive Engineers

“It is gratifying to see our students take leadership in a program such as this,” said UT Chancellor Loren Crabtree. “UT is working hard to be part of the solution to the environmental issues facing our state, nation and world.”

By utilizing the waste oil from campus eateries and reprocessing it on campus into fuel for use by UT vehicles, the program provides a unique example for other campuses.

“Our intention with this program was to look at how, as engineers, we could approach the issue of sustainability on campus,” said Scott Curran, an undergraduate student in mechanical engineering, who heads up the UT Biodiesel project. “Our hope is that as we refine the system, it can be used as a model for other colleges and universities.”

Biodiesel and other plant-based fuels represent a major research area at UT. In addition to the student-led UT Biodiesel program, UT is one of five regional Sun Grant centers, serving as a hub for work to develop new ways to use plants as a source of energy. UT is also home to the East Tennessee Clean Fuels Coalition, which recently earned national recognition from the Department of Energy as the best local clean fuels organization in America.

Students at universities across the state have also recently followed the lead of UT students, who in 2003 passed a resolution calling for a student fee to be used for environmental initiatives on campus. In partnership with student groups, UT instituted a $5 per semester fee. The fee pays for UT’s purchase of green power from TVA, which is the largest in the state of Tennessee and the fourth largest in the Southeast.

The ceremonial fueling event taking place on Tuesday is part of UT’s Make Orange Green Week. Make Orange Green is a program designed to raise awareness of the university’s environmental efforts and show students, faculty and staff how they can make a difference.

Other events during the week include a showing of Al Gore’s film, An Inconvenient Truth, a panel discussion with UT scientists discussing their global climate change research and a conversation among religious leaders from throughout East Tennessee about how faith and the environment interact.

By raising students’ awareness of global issues, the Make Orange Green program also intersects with UT’s Ready for the World initiative, which was introduced this spring. Ready for the World is ambitious plan to help students gain the international and intercultural knowledge they need to succeed in today’s world.

More information and a complete schedule of Make Orange Green Week events are available at http://environment.tennessee.edu.

Contact: Jay Mayfield (865-974-9409 jay.mayfield@tennessee.edu)