If I didn’t suck at math, I’d have loved to be an engineer, because engineers get to build all sorts of cool stuff. The latest example that has me regretting taking Tolstoy over tech school is a 100% biodiesel-powered dragster built by Utah State University students that set a new land speed record using a new biofuel sourced from cheese waste.
The students developed both the biofuel AND built the diesel-powered dragster that set the speed record. The biofuel uses an abundant waste product from the cheese-making process. By using yeast to convert the leftover dairy into a usable diesel fuel, the students have developed a biofuel that does not cut into traditional human feedstocks.
The dragster, meanwhile, uses a small 22-horsepower engine running a 100% blend of the new biodiesel. With this small engine, the team was able to set a new record for using a 100% biofuel blend of 64.3 mph. That’s a far cry from the 155 mph record set by another team of students who built a Cummins-powered Chevy S-10 running veggie oil, but these cars are competing in entirely different classes.
Besides, a record is a record…and running a car on leftover cheese product is pretty damn cool. Who doesn’t love cheese? You know…besides the lactose intolerant.
Will we all be driving cheese-powered cars anytime soon? Nah. But these kinds of innovative solutions can have a profound impact on local companies and cheese makers who might want to harness the cheese-fuel for their own uses.