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High School Students Build Award-Winning Eco-Car
Car Runs On Soybean Oil

PHILADELPHIA -- Students from West Philadelphia High School have won a big award for building an Earth-friendly car, and they did it on a small budget.

The students and three of their teachers created a custom-built 300 horsepower hot rod from scratch.

"It goes from 0 to 60 in under 4 seconds," said one student.

The car has has reached speeds of 110 mph. The body came from Slovania in a kit that had 1,000 parts and no directions.

"We just worked at it, got what we needed to get done, if we caught a snag we fixed it, we worked together, everybody had their collective ideas and it all came together," said Jacque Jean-Baptiste, a senior at West Philadelphia High School.

The car just won the prestigious Tour de Sol auto show award in New York for being the fastest and most eco-friendly car.

"Up front is an electric motor that powers the two front axles, with a turbo diesel in the back that powers the two back axles," said another student.

"There were a lot of ups and downs. Every time we do something right, something else would break, we'd fix that and something else would break -- it's an ongoing process," said Deveraux Knight, a senior at West Philadelphia High School.

The whole project took place over two years.

The car is a bio-fueled hybrid that gets incredible mileage on a special fuel.

"Soybean oil -- that's what it runs off of, and you get 50 miles to the gallon," Knight said.

The car was funded through $15,000 in state grants and a lot of donated man-hours from teachers and students.

Teacher Clayton Kinsler said the project was well worth it.

The pollution level for the soybean fuel is about 1 percent. There is a small downside, however. When you first start the car up, it smells a little like French fries, but for 50 mpg, you can get used to it.
 

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Soybean Oil Cost

I did some crude (no pun intended) checks on the cost of soybean oil and it was $8 to $10/gallon. Not exactly saving money whilst reeking of french fries. On the other hand it makes a great salad dressing.
 

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Re: Soybean Oil Cost

DMac said:
I did some crude (no pun intended) checks on the cost of soybean oil and it was $8 to $10/gallon. Not exactly saving money whilst reeking of french fries. On the other hand it makes a great salad dressing.
Some make use of used fry oil - strained. Ok, so you'd smell of fish and chips, but it's otherwise a waste product.
 

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If the demand for soy bean oil were the same for gasoline...you won't think farmers would be falling all over themselves to plant soybeans?

Hmmm. Where is the best climate for growing soybeans? If it's NOT Texas...we could have a few states exert a little more power and political weight in D.C.
 

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Godiva said:
If the demand for soy bean oil were the same for gasoline...you won't think farmers would be falling all over themselves to plant soybeans?

Hmmm. Where is the best climate for growing soybeans? If it's NOT Texas...we could have a few states exert a little more power and political weight in D.C.
Actually they do with corn for ethanol. But corn isn't a particularly good plant for ethanol production.

And as for the growing area, just that huge swath through the middle of the country. Right where they also grow corn.
 

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drash said:
But corn isn't a particularly good plant for ethanol production.
Really? I'll make sure to tell those running the 16 ethanol refineries here in Minnesota. Corn has proven good for us.

And just last week, the state passed a mandate requiring E20 as to be our only "gas" by 2013. Currently, it's E10 (and has been for a number of years).
 

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IIRC, hemp is a much better plant.

I believe the soy fuel production includes the use of oil based methanol. Something about the drying of ethanol being not easy/cost effective.

I'm just starting to look into biodiesels, however. My info may be incorrect/old. Wouldn't it be nice to use soy/corn to make biodiesel and get our trucks, trains, and ships running on this? We could keep more $ in this country, stop paying farmers to grow nothing, and tax the biodiesel product chain (beans, oil, fuel).
 
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