Auto Shop Classes Mess Around With Alt. Power Conversions

Donal Fagan
by Donal Fagan
auto shop classes mess around with alt power conversions reports on a new trend: "green" auto shop. To wit: Mark Armstrong's students at Santa Rosa Junior College have upgraded dozens of cars to run on biodiesel. They've converted five cars to run on vegetable oil, modified one to use ethanol and transformed three into electric vehicles. Mike Yonan and his automotive seniors at the Weber Institute of Applied Sciences and Technology modded a fire-engine red 2002 Neon to run on eight lead-acid batteries. Armstrong, who owns a heavy equipment repair business, believes the work teaches his charges self-reliance, resourcefulness and [left coast] Yankee ingenuity. "If we really want alternative fuel vehicles, let's get off the couch and start making them." Yonan says amen to that, and counsels his fellow students to learn the value of simple persistence. "Thinking hurts. Sometimes it gets so frustrating you don't really want to do it. But you think about what it's going to be like and keep going."

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