Alternative Fuels Gaining Ground

By: Shane McAuliffe Email
By: Shane McAuliffe Email

The Lone Star State is known for its oil production, but some Texans are discovering other ways to power their vehicles.

In fact, one pair of scientists are on a coast to coast crusade to promote a fuel that is grown all over Texas.

The pair stopped in Brazos County to fill-up and show off their truck that doesn't use a drop of gas.

Looking at Wayne Keith's truck, the only thing you might notice is it's really green.

The engine looks like a normal engine, it sounds the any other truck, but if you look a little closer, you might see something that reminds you of something you'd see in a movie.

"The truck will run on most anything. This is dried sorghum and we can use it to run it," Keith said.

It's called a "Gasifier" and it doesn't run on trash like in the movie Back To The Future instead it runs on Biomass. Items like wood, switch grass, sorghum, pretty much any dried up material that has carbon in it makes the truck run.

Keith can even reroute the energy it creates and use it to power a generator which then powers a saw, which cuts the wood he uses to power the truck.

Auburn professor David Bransby has teamed up with Wayne and the pair is taking the truck on a cross country biomass burning trip with hopes of raising awareness of alternative fuels.

"Until the public, all the way from K-12 all the way to the White House, until they know what can be done, this industry is going to have difficulty taking off," Bransby said. "However, with the oil price the way it is right now, it's poised to take off."

Even though the Bioenergy front is starting to get off the ground, don't expect the old gas pump to go away anytime soon.

However, just having energy options is what it boils down to for those supporting the project.

"Bioenergy is going to be a tool in our tool box and our whole National energy program needs to have all the tools in our toolbox. We need to be drilling for oil where we can, we need to be developing nuclear power, we need to be developing wind power, solar, and Biomass. All of these tools need to be in our tool box so we're as diverse as we can be and energy independent as we can be."

"Fossil fuels will be around for a long time. We're not going to quit using oil tomorrow. Eventually we will run out of oil or these will be more economical to use as a fuel source then oil. Then we will transition."

Now if you're wondering how much it costs to run the bio mass truck, Wayne says it comes down to about a penny a mile.

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