Skip to Content

ISU Goes Green With Bio-Diesel

The idea of bio-fuel has been around for a long time, but at Idaho State University, they are actually using it.

The maintenance department runs its recycling pick-up truck entirely on bio-diesel, and now the idea is part of the classroom.

It all started with one man’s goal to go green.

The engine on the maintenance department’s bright green Gator truck starts like any other, but the end product is almost completely carbon neutral. The diesel engine runs completely on bio-fuel.

The whole thing started a year ago when Robin Colling was watching some culinary students clean up.

“The students were draining the fryers that day, and I happened to notice that it’s quite a lot of oil,” Colling said.

Colling remembered that his son, now a chemistry major at ISU, had learned about bio-fuels in high school.

“And I thought, ‘This would be a good opportunity to use a waste product that we generate internally at the campus and make our recycling more sustainable, and not only that, it gives ISU a greener footprint,” Colling said.

The two put their heads together and built a processor.

And now, they take discarded oil from the ISU kitchens and turn it into fuel.

The idea caught the eye of Energy Systems Technology and Education Center Interim Executive Director Lawrence Beaty, and now students are doing hands-on work to progress the use of bio-fuels at ISU.

“It’s good for the university, it’s good for the environment, it’s good for the students — both the students who are participating in the project and as well as the students of the university at large — and the taxpayers,” Beaty said.

Beaty said the biofuel program is truly driving the future of sustainability at ISU.

“We are looking, as a campus, toward doing everything we can through both planning and design and innovative research to get to a completely sustainable campus,” Beaty said.

For Colling, whose motivation is making sure his children’s children have a green earth, too, it’s a dream come true.

“Keep what we got. Make it last. Technology is really moving quickly now, and I just kind of want to ride the wave with everybody else,” he said.

Right now, they make about 40 gallons of bio-fuel per month. Colling said they can make the bio-fuel for about a dollar a gallon, and by this fall, they’ll be making enough to power all of the lawn mowers and snow blowers, and to just keep growing.

Weber State University has expressed interest in having ISU help the school start a similar program there, Colling said.

Article Topic Follows: News

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo

News Team


KIFI Local News 8 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content