Do you want to slash your fossil fuel consumption? This workshop will enable students to begin replacing fossil fuel with renewable fuel in a variety of applications. The heart of this intensive course is the adaptation of diesel engines to operate on straight vegetable oil. Students will perform all major operations in the design and construction of a heated fuel system, including electrical wiring, fuel filter and tank installation, coolant plumbing and controls. Lecture and discussion will cover biofuel home heating, electrical generation and transportation. We will explore briefly biodiesel use and production, ethanol, methane, and locating/ growing fuel sources. There will be the opportunity for up to three students to adapt their own vehicle during the workshop — please contact the instructors at least 6 weeks prior to course starting date to arrange materials (at an additional cost).

Course start time: Friday 7pm
Course end time: Sunday, 5pm

  • Competency Level: All Levels
  • Sterling College credits: 1 Continuing Education Unit ($130 additional)
  • Vermont Technical College credits: 1 College Credit ($60 additional)

Required Reading

COURSE READER OVERVIEW (reader will be provided to all students prior to class)
Ben Falk. Diesel Biofuels
U.S. D.O.E. Renewable Energy Overview
Ethanol Inst. Energy Balances (Net)
Hydrogen Appliances Inc. DIESEL Rudolf Diesel
Marshall Brain. How Diesel Engines Work The Truth About Diesel Emissions
Engine Diagram (VW A4, TDI)
Neoteric Biofuels. STRAIGHT VEGETABLE OIL (SVO) Straight Vegetable Oil FAQ's
VegBurner.UK. System Option Schematics (NBB). BIODIESEL Biodiesel Fact Sheet (NBB). Biodiesel Life Cycle
MISCELLANEOUS The Moss Magnuson Act: Warranty Information

Course Outline

Friday, 7 PM

  • Introductions, goal setting and course layout
  • Overview slideshow and discussion: "Biofuels, the Diesel Engine, and Straight Vegetable Oil"

Saturday 8:30 AM

  • Orientation to site, safety notes, briefing and vehicles
  • Commence veggie-diesel adaptation in groups

Saturday 12:00 PM

  • Lunch over discussion

Saturday 1:00 PM

  • Regroup and continue vehicle modifications

Saturday 5:00 PM

  • Regroup
  • evening planning

Sunday 8:00 AM

  • Briefing, question/comments session
  • Continue vehicle conversions

Sunday 12:00 PM

  • Lunch
  • BIODIESEL Session

Sunday 1:00 PM

  • Finish vehicle adaptations

Sunday 5:00 PM

  • Regroup, question/answer/discussion session
  • Concluding discussion focusing on biofuels as part of an integrated sustainable design system