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From Corn and Cooking Oil to Fuel


                 From Corn and Cooking Oil to Fuel
By Lindsay


          hat                                                                                                                                                                biology       and
          d o old                                                                                                                                                            physics students
          cooking                                                                                                                                                            participate    in
oil and corn have                                                                                                                                                            demonstrations
in common?                                                                                                                                                                   at other schools
    To      Chris                                                                                                                                                            in the Chicago
Clausing, gradu-                                                                                                                                                             metropolitan
ate student at                                                                                                                                                               area. The alter-
Governors State                                                                                                                                                              native     energy
University and                                                                                                                                                               demonstrations
chemistry                                                                                                                                                                    include how the
teacher at Bloom                                                                                                                                                             fuels were made
Trail        High                                                                                                                                                            and how they
School          in                                                                                                                                                           power the go-
Chicago Heights,                                                                                                                                                             carts.
they are the                                                                                                                                                                       To trans-
sources of effec-                                                                                                                                                            port the students
tive and efficient                                                                                                                                                           and the go-carts,
energy and ex-                                                                                                                                                               the program was
cellent education                                                                                                                                                            able to use grant
tools. Because of                                                                                                                                                            funds to pur-
the innovative                                                                                                                                                               chase a small
science curricu-                                                                                                                                                             bus and box
lum he devel-                                                                                                                                                                truck that are
oped, Clausing’s Pictured: High school chemistry teacher Chris Clasuing and his students create viable fuels in the classroom. Photo courtesy of Governors State University. powered by the
students know                                                                                                                                                                very bio-diesel
how to convert                                                                                                                                                               fuel made by the
waste products and bi-products             ways in which they could make a fuels the chemistry students                                                                      students.
into useful fuels to power vehicles. difference.                                               develop.                                                 “We take field trips with our
    “My goal was to increase                     To finance his project, Clausing                   “Those students learn how to students, the go carts, and these al-
awareness of alternative fuels and applied for a $10,000 grant. British install engines, breaks, gears, and ternative energy concepts and put
the joys of science,” says Clausing. Petroleum (BP) liked his idea so chains. They do a lot of work on on an energy show at other schools.
“A lot of what we do is just nitty- much they gave him $40,000. those cars.”                                                                       We want others to learn what op-
gritty science, but it is also an          Clausing, his students, and other                        The first test of the fuels came tions there are as far as energy use
opening for the students to learn teachers at Bloom and Bloom at an energy fair in 2007 in which and what it takes to make fuel.”
how science can impact them in Trial High School have never the go-carts cruised a track.                                                          Clausing has received additional
the future.”                               looked back.                                             “We ran five cars: two on bio- support and guidance for this proj-
    Science education in Chris                   Clausing’s students learn how fuel, two on ethanol, and one on ect from his professors at Gover-
Clausing’s chemistry classes at            to make ethanol from corn and bio- gasoline. The gas powered car won nors State University in University
Bloom Trail High School in Chicago diesel fuel from used vegetable oil. for speed, but the bio-diesel fuel Park where he is currently study-
Heights took a u-turn for the better “The high school cafeteria has a lot won on economy,” said Clausing. “It ing for his Master’s of Science in
when Clausing infused alternative of oil to get rid of and I get corn was a great success.”                                                        Analytical Chemistry.
energy education into the curricu-         from a friend of my father’s in cen-                     Since then, the program has                         “My master’s project deals with
lum. After two years of participa-         tral Indiana,” adds Clausing.                       earned an additional $40,000 in analyzing the bio-fuels made by the
tion in Department of Energy                     Students spend several months grants and the participation of other Bloom teacher and determin-
program Academics for Creating             making the two fuels and then sev- more Bloom Township teachers ing how to make it better,” says
Teacher Scientists at Argonne Na- eral more months cleaning and re- and students. Currently, Barry Clausing. “This project has turned
tional Laboratories, Clausing de- fining them. Meanwhile, student in Latham’s chemistry and physics into a learning experience for me
cided it was time his students the auto mechanics classes design students refine bio-diesel fuel 50 and my students.” I
understood the energy crisis and and build go-carts that run on the gallons at a time. Jill Krysinkski’s

Family Time Magazine • Kids Expo • Baby Expo • Pet Expo • • May 2009                                                                                   Z2, Z1   71

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