From French fries to fuel, Colorado College students are going green with their Veggie Van

Veggie Van
From French fries to fuel, students at Colorado College are finding unique ways to go green./ Wes Moskalski -- FOX21 News

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — From French fries to fuel, students at Colorado College are finding unique ways to go green.

The CC Green Team is a group of students dedicated to promoting sustainability; their primary project is the Veggie Van.

“It’s your regular 15-passenger van and it’s used to transport outdoor education trips primarily,” said Emma Gonzalez, a member of the Green Team.

But this van is a little different because it runs off vegetable oil.

Gonzalez said, “What we do is convert the vegetable oil from just French fry grease into a much more refined, cleaner fuel to then run the Veggie Van on.”

What better place to find loads of leftover grease than the campus dining hall?

“We harvest just by cranking vegetable oil into a 50-gallon drum in the back of the trailer,” said Gonzalez.

They then filter it through a centrifuge process and it’s ready to be pumped into the Veggie Van just like gas.

Gonzalez said, “The ultimate goal is to be able to drive this around and get vegetable oil from any fast food restaurant or somewhere that’s producing a large amount of vegetable oil and have it efficient enough where we could just crank right there and take it on the road for long periods of time.”

Gonzalez has been recycling oil for the Veggie Van for about a year and other than the experience she’s getting in sustainability, she says the coolest part is that it’s sparking an interest in other students too.

Noah Forman, a freshman at Colorado College said, “Not only does it improve like the overall appearance of our earth and stuff but it gives me kind of a feel good feeling inside when I know I’m contributing to things that could help the earth last overall.”

The Veggie Van originally took diesel fuel but now it runs 14 miles to the gallon on vegetable oil.

CC’s Green Team also takes care of a garden and composting system, working to make an impact on green energy.

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