Run on the smell of an oily . . . fuel
Paremata School students are tapping into local resources to fuel the future in public transport in Porirua by creating biofuel from vegetable oil.
The school is collecting used household vegetable oil this week with the aim of running a bus to Wellington with the fuel they helped recycle.
Mana Coach Services chief executive Geoff Norman said this was the first initiative of its kind in Wellington. The bus company approached the Enviroschools Foundation, which teaches kids about caring for the environment, to offer pupils the opportunity to learn about alternative fuels.
‘‘Diesel engines can run on biofuels, the first diesel engine was designed to be run on peanut oil. It’s been great working with the students and teaching them about it,’’ Mr Norman said.
There are already two buses which run on biofuels in the area.
Enviroschools facilitator Charles Barrie said it was a learning experience for him as well as the children.
‘‘We’ve been getting in a whole lot of experts to come teach us about biofuels and other means of electricity; how it’s made and where it comes from. We did an exercise where we looked around the room trying to find something that didn’t use oil and there was pretty much nothing that doesn’t use some sort of oil.’’
Paremata School’s senior students started learning about renewable energy sources in August and encourage people to bring in their used vegetable oil.
Year 8 pupil Vanessa Reddit said, ‘‘We learned about why it’s important to have fuels and what fuels weren’t biofuels. We also learned that you can run a bus on vegetable oil and [about four litres] would get us to Tawa . . . It actually smells like fish and chips when the engine’s on.’’
Mr Barrie said the school planned to widen its search for vegetable oil next year.
Bottles can be collected from Paremata School and full bottles should be returned by December 17.
Bottles up: Enviroschools facilitator Charles Barrie, left, Mana Coach Services chief executive Geoff Norman, right, and Paremata School’s senior council encourage people to collect their used vegetable oil in these bottles to help run Porirua’s first biobus service.