Tuesday, April 17, 2012
For 26 years, I’ve operated my river operation in Steamboat Springs. Kayaks, rafts and tubes are the crafts most commonly used (with the exception of the canoe, which requires more skill than most of us are willing to commit).
No, I don’t know which side of the global climate change debate you fall on. I depend on clean water and air to promote my business, so I am a “tree hugger” of the most aggressive type.
By far the most trash I create as a byproduct of my business is when transporting clients from one end of the river and picking them up at the other. For years I’ve wrestled with means of lessening my impact.
Last year, I purchased a F450 Mini Bus (like most of the condominium shuttles) with a Ford Powerstroke 7.3L diesel engine with the intent of converting to an alternative fuel. I studied various conversion ideas, consulting with local WVO (waste vegetable oil) experts, and attended local meetings with biodiesel folks, as well as the good folks from the southside Shell Station who stock B20 biodiesel. As poorly financed and remote as this biodiesel movement is, the group is beginning to create momentum.
Enter Yampatika, Bud Werner Memorial Library and Northern Colorado Clean Cities (who could argue that name) organizing an alternative fuels symposium in March and a recent discussion involving the city of Steamboat Springs and local businesses (fuel supplier and consumers), as well as biodiesel producers.
Here are some interesting facts about biodiesel from the U.S. Department of Energy:
■ It works in vehicles built after 1993.
■ It performs similarly in fuel consumption, horsepower and torque.
■ Biodiesel will clean your engine (you may need to change your fuel filter soon after conversion because of the clean qualities of biodiesel).
■ It substantially reduces hydrocarbons, carbon dioxide, particulate matter and others.
■ It has no negative effects.
■ It requires no vehicle equipment conversion.
If these benefits are attractive and you have one or more diesel engines in your fleet or you know of people or businesses that use diesel fuel, consider trying B20 (20 percent biodiesel). Fuel expense may be a compromise, but the big picture is what is important here.
Used restaurant grease is just one source for producing biodiesel. If you are or know a restaurant owner, it would be great to get them involved by referring them to me (970-846-5285) to provide contact information for a more local grease collection service. Together, let’s rally behind businesses supporting more sustainable fuel sources.
Peter Van De Carr
Owner, Backdoor Sports in Steamboat Springs