This archived article was written by: Niki Muth
Recycle. Hybrid. Conserve. Protect. These words and ideas weren’t tossed around much in previous decades, but are mentioned often now. It has been quite a journey: from our ancestors throwing trash they were carrying on the ground to being respectful of our environment and trying to improve conservation and recycling methods. Not only do we want to do this, we went from thinking it is pointless to thinking it is cool. We have been on a journey, or odyssey, from one extreme to the next and we strive to do more.
This is exactly why the National Alternative Fuel Vehicles Odyssey Day is aptly named. The United States is in a continuous pursuit for alternative fuels and independence from foreign (and even domestic) oil.
This event is being held across the country and on a more local level, at USU-CEU’s campus. Automotive instructor, Stan Martineau, is sponsoring Odyssey Day on campus Oct. 14. He traveled to Florida last June to train at the National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium and met with people from all over the U.S.
“[I started] realizing how isolated we are in Southeast Utah,” Martineau said. People in larger cities depend on electric cars; they don’t drive nearly as far as we do. We travel hundreds of miles and with the technology we have now, it isn’t practical for us to use electric cars. For example, the Nissan Leaf is 100 percent electronic and travels up to 100 miles between charges as well as the Chevy Volt which can travel up to 40 miles on battery power alone, after that the engine runs a generator to power the motor as needed. With the engine running, extended range is about 300 miles making it a more viable choice for more remote areas. Ultimately what matters most is cost and efficiency. Hydrogen cars leave no Carbon footprint they are not cost effective because hydrogen costs more than gas.
At the Odyssey show, reducing Carbon footprints and improving efficiency in vehicle will be shown. A demo of how to use CNG (compressed natural gas) conversion kits to significantly reduce Co2 emissions will be demonstrated. If someone came up with tires that can last an extra 500 miles then think, “how many less tires will we have in land fills,” he added.
Engineering instructor, Kyle Larson is having his students demo solar power and fuel cell technology and chemistry instructor, Jon Krum and his students are preparing information on biodiesel as well as E85 (Ethanol).
There will be booths representing professional businesses, such as Dinosaur Tire and Kwik lube as well as booths run by Martineau’s students.
He has 11 to 12 “fuel efficient” vehicles, including a GM Hybrid provided by Tony Basso, Ford and Chrysler hybrids provided by Price Automotive, and a Toyota hybrid provided by Brent Brown automotive, on display that day.
Martineau has extended an invitation to all high school automotive, physics, chemistry, and science departments in Southeast Utah. He said CEU was given a grant to help incorporate AFV’s and alternative fuel concepts in the automotive department.
Why Martineau chose to do all this, his answer was simply, “It was the right thing to do.” He wants to do anything to make cars more efficient, which is most definitely the right thing.
Odyssey Day is being held in the McDonald Career Center parking lot on Thurs. Oct. 14, from 9a.m.-2p.m. It is free to the public.