Alumnus Helps Fuel a Greener SUNY Canton

GREENER MACHINES — SUNY Canton Senior Grounds Worker Todd Flanagan stands with Shaun Jones, an Alternative and Renewable Energy Applications student who helped produce 500 gallons of B20 biodiesel fuel for the college's lawnmowers.

SUNY Canton is getting a bit greener with help from Alfred R. Place, a graduate of the class of 1949.

Place funds a scholarship that helps students research biodiesel solutions within the Alternative and Renewable Energy Applications (AREA) program. This year Place’s scholarship was given to Shaun Jones who provided 500 gallons of biodiesel for the college’s Maintenance and Ground crews to use in their lawn mowers. Jones created the biodiesel solution with waste cooking oil garnered from Chaney Dining Center.

“By running biodiesel, the college helped combat the rising price gasoline while decreasing our impact on the environment,” Jones said.

Alternative and Renewable Energy Application Assistant Professor Matthew Bullwinkel said that the real world application of biodiesel also helped test the fuel’s reliability. “Workers were asked to observe any changes in the mechanical operations of the equipment while they were using the B20 solution,” Bullwinkel said.

The only notable effect of using the alternative fuel source was the new scent of the exhaust. Evidently area pigeons and seagulls found the scent of French fries irresistible.

Ongoing biodiesel research is just one of many ways that the AREA program is seeking to create a greener campus. Students will soon be installing photovoltaic cells on top of Nevaldine Technology center to power the lighting in their classroom and placing a solar hot water heater for research. “When someone flips on the lights in Nevaldine (Room) 110 they will be using energy collected from solar panels on the roof,” said AREA Program Director Michael J. Newtown.

Newtown explained that the new installations will provide hands-on applications of the same renewable energy systems that the students are studying.

Outside of the AREA program, Physical Plant staff members have been implementing greener cleaning agents to combat unnecessary pollution and waste. Almost all of the college’s cleaning products now meet the highest New York State green standards.

“Every year I look for new products that we can use that are safer and more earth-friendly,” said Head Janitor Walter Holmes.

Holmes said many of the cleaning machines and devices that they employ are also becoming more environmentally friendly by utilizing components manufactured from recycled parts that introduce advanced filtration and water saving technologies.

 

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