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Photo Gallery: Bio Bus Visits NOLS
Movie: Veggies Give Them Gas!

For Immediate Release
June 6, 2003

Students Slide Across Country on Vegetable Oil

A school bus fueled by french fries is making its way across the country carrying 13 college students and a strong message about alternative energy.

The bus runs on vegetable oil and the students, all from Middlebury College in Vermont, are on a road trip called Project Biobus that has captivated the nation's attention. Their journey, which began in Vermont, has taken them to Kentucky, Illinois, Colorado and Wyoming and will wrap up in Conway, Wash. when the bus drops off its last passenger for a North Cascades Mountaineering course with the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS).

Along the way, the bus is making stops not at gas stations, but at fast food chains, chinese restaurants, and other grease-producing venues. "Every single time we pull into a place, people ask us, 'how does this work?' They are always impressed," says Logan Duran, one of the students who started Project Biobus and a 2001 NOLS semester graduate.

It works quite simply, say the students. For $250 Thomas Hand, 19, converted an old bus' diesel engine to a system that runs on vegetable oil. The bus starts on diesel fuel and then immediately converts over to run entirely on vegetable oil, which Hand says has the same fuel efficiency as diesel but is easier on the engine.

While on the road, the students have just rolled up to restaurants and said, "I'll have a cheeseburger, fries and all your veggie oil," Duran says.

The tour, which will total more than 3,000 miles, aims to demonstrate that switching from fossil fuels to alternative domestic energy sources is easy, safe and less expensive.

With 1,300 miles to go on the trip, Hand says the bus has been running smoothly and will conclude the journey June 10 at 5 p.m. at the NOLS Pacific Northwest facility located at 20950 Bulson Road in Conway, Wash. For more information on the project, visit For more information on the National Outdoor Leadership School, visit

Bruce Palmer (NOLS) 307-335-2230
Steven Swank (Project Biobus) 310-429-2035


Logan Duran, Thomas Hand and Lindsey Corbin pose in front of the latest addition to the Bio Bus: the NOLS logo.
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© Brad Christensen
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