Office of Campus Sustainability
Alternative Fuels: History
Converting waste to fuel at BGSU: A brief history
The idea has been in the works since 2005, when Dr. Enrique Gomezdelcampo’s Environmental Studies 402 class, for its capstone project, prepared an environmental impact statement on "Limiting Emissions from the Campus Maintenance and Small Equipment Fleet." For spring 2007, his 402 class concentrated on the use of "Waste Vegetable Oil as Fuel for Campus Lawn Mowers."
With a $50,000 ODNR grant, signed July 2008, the University project began under the direction of Duane Hamilton, director of campus services, with the conversion of the first mower and the purchase of a holding tank, collection drums, and a filtration system for the oil.
Hamilton is pleased the project has finally gotten off the ground. "We’ve talked about fueling campus vehicles with used cooking oil jokingly for 20 years. For a long time, we hired a company to haul away our used cooking oil. At the same time, we purchased thousands of gallons of diesel fuel. From a sustainability point of view, why pay to get rid of something that we could use, and then pay for another source of fuel?"
The process began winter 2009 with the conversion of one riding mower, which was accomplished by Campus Operations staff. Overseeing the work was Scott Euler, Manager of Grounds Recycling and Solid Waste, who has been involved with the project from the beginning, working with the students to teach them about the equipment.