Burning Oil

The Big Green Bus made a stop in Houston. The converted school bus, painted green, runs on waste vegetable oil.

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For the past three summers, a team of Dartmouth students drive the bus across country with the purpose of raising awareness about alternative energy. Brent Butler says when tooling down the highway they still have to look for places to fill up.

"So we wait for a sign with a lot of fast food restaurants on it, pull off, knock on some managers' doors, explain the project."

The reactions of restaurant managers varies, but Butler says they usually get the waste. A solar panel and a wind turbine on the top of the bus provides all the electricity needed to run laptops, flat screen TV and stereos. Butler says they do need a little diesel fuel to start up the engine and to shut it down.

"You notice up front there's a panel where we can switch between veggie and diesel while we're driving. Some stats. We've been on the road 17 days, driven 4,016 miles, 540 gallons of veg. It would have cost us $1,379 in diesel which we didn't have to spend."

After Houston, the Big Green Bus goes to Austin and then will make its way to Colorado.

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