French fries driving Metro Bus on St. Cloud State student routes

Monday, April 14, 2008

ST. CLOUD, Minn. – A St. Cloud Metro Bus vehicle powered by recycled deep fryer vegetable oil – called the Husky Fried Ride – will be unveiled in conjunction with Earth Day festivities on Friday, April 18, at St. Cloud State University.

The Husky Fried Ride, a 40-foot New Flyer bus with room for 35 seated passengers, is powered by a mixture of 80 percent recycled vegetable oil and 20 percent diesel fuel, the latter necessary to keep the fuel fluid during the winter months.  The vegetable oil comes from deep fryers at St. Cloud State, where Sodexo provides foodservice for Garvey Commons and Atwood Center.  Sodexo will be providing approximately 150 gallons of vegetable oil a week when classes are in session, oil that would otherwise be hauled away.

The environmentally-friendly vehicle, Metro Bus #701, operates on Husky Shuttle park-and-ride routes and on four Campus Clipper routes to student housing areas throughout St. Cloud.

Partners St. Cloud State and Metro Bus will bring the bus into service with a ceremony at 11 a.m. Friday, April 18, at Herb Brooks Way, south of the National Hockey Center, at finish line for Earth Day runs.  The unveiling will kick off the University’s celebration of Earth Day, which includes the ninth annual Earth Day Half Marathon Festival April 18-19.

Metro Bus believes that the endeavor is unique, the first metropolitan bus system in the country to use waste vegetable oil to power a public transit bus.  Project costs, estimated at more than $11,000, include the conversion and equipment to collect, filter, store, mix and warm the fuel.

Backseat drivers for the St. Cloud State/Metro Bus initiative include Sodexo, which donated $6,000 and the mechanisms for providing the vegetable oil; and SCSU Student Government, which donated $1,400 to purchase the filtration system.  The bus will be covered with a colorful wrap partially funded by Rheume’s House of Lettering.

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Media contacts:

Ed Bouffard, SCSU initiative leader, 320-308-3977

David Tripp, Metro Bus executive director, 320-529-4482

Thomas Cruikshank, Metro Bus director of planning and marketing, 320-529-4483

Steve Miller, general manager, Campus Dining Services-Sodexo, 320-308-2139

Nathan Scheiber, SCSU Student Government president, 320-308-4863

Media note:

Youngsters ages 3-5 at the Lindgren Child Care Center on campus conducted a used book sale to raise $300 for the project.  To enhance the “recycle/reuse” learning experience for the children, they delivered the vegetable oil storage tank they purchased to Garvey Commons, the student dining hall on campus, on April 4, when they also received a tour of the Sodexo kitchen operation.  The youngsters will be on hand for the kickoff event.

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