Alternative fuel enthusiasts have been filling up their tanks with cooking grease for years now, but a few ambitious students from Boise State University set out to prove vegetable oil can do more than just cook your French fries. The team set the record for the world's fastest veggie-powered truck when it ran at El Mirage last year. The record the students set stands at 155 mph, and now, the team has its sights set on the petroleum-derived diesel truck speed record, a goal that will require them to beat 215 mph.
The Boise State-based team, known as Greenspeed, announced at the Washington Auto Show its intention of breaking the existing diesel truck record. The team will make its first attempt this August, during Speedweek at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. Greenspeed broke its first record last November in Southern California's Mojave Desert. There, team leader Dave Schenker drove his modified Cummins-powered 1998 Chevy S-10 pickup to 155 mph -- fueled by pure vegetable oil. The truck has about $125,000 poured into it, with many parts donated by sposors, and was built by the students themselves. In addition to Schenker, the club is made up of undergraduates from the College of Engineering at Boise State. The team's goal for the project was to demonstrate the potential of vegetable oil as an alternative to petroleum-based fuels.
"Greenspeed is leading by example to show that you don't have to sacrifice performance for sustainability," said vice president of research and economic development at Boise State Mark Rudin in a release. "A truck that goes 200 mph on vegetable oil is hardly a practical machine, but it plays a critical role in dispelling persistent myths that there is something magical or special about petroleum. Sustainable fuels can be good fuels."
As expected, the category Greenspeed is hoping to take the record from is dominated by traditional diesel-fueled cars. With a lot of hard work though, the team could just claim the title of world's fastest diesel truck in August. We'll wait and see, but until then, we'll reserve our vegetable oil for the kitchen.
Video: Boise State's Greenspeed Heading to Washington Auto Show
Source: Boise State University