Students launch biodiesel motorbike project
Tuesday, 4 April 2006
Nine final-year mechanical engineering students from the University of Adelaide this week will launch their plans for building a biodiesel motorbike.
The students have already won industry sponsorship from diesel engine giant Yanmar, Australian Farmers Fuel (SAFF) and the State Government and will design and build the 'BioBike' as part of their Honours projects this year.
The students are working under the supervision of Dr Colin Kestell, a senior lecturer and researcher at the University of Adelaide.
Biodiesel is an eco-friendly diesel alternative made from canola and other renewable or waste organic sources of oil. Dr Kestell and fellow researcher Dr Doolan are undertaking research into the combustion of biodiesel with the aim of improving the efficiency of biodiesel engines and reducing emissions.
"The big advantage of biodiesel is that it is carbon dioxide neutral," Dr Kestell said. "Although carbon dioxide is released with the fuel combustion, it is only releasing what the plant has already absorbed from the air to grow and produce the oil."
Dr Kestell believes biodiesel has the potential to replace 10% of normal diesel consumption. It is already in use by some local authorities and the amount produced locally is already in high demand. Far from just having potential for the traditional big diesel engines, Dr Kestell believes it also has wide potential for smaller engines, such as motorbikes.
"With this student project, we want to be able to show how versatile this fuel is," he said. "The motorbike will show that a biodiesel engine doesn't have to be big to be effective. We wanted to get away from the image of diesel engines as big and bulky. "
The mechanical engineering students are inviting sponsors and other industry representatives to view their 'digital prototype' and hear about their goals and objectives at a launch function in the Equinox Room of the Union Building, University of Adelaide at 7pm, Wednesday 5 April.
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Ms Robyn Mills
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