Chicken Fat Biodiesel Powering Truck from FL to WA

John Davis

MTSUpickup1A professor of alternative fuels is making a 3,550-mile journey cross country to show how well chicken fat biodiesel can perform. This article from the Murfreesboro (TN) Daily News Journal says hometown Middle Tennessee State University alternative fuels researcher Cliff Ricketts is driving a 34-year-old truck from Key West, Florida to Seattle, Washington on the green fuel.

[B]eing well aware some of the 13 states he will be driving through are northern and in the Pacific Northwest, he heard about a potential weather situation totally opposite of the 82-degree mostly sunny weather he was enjoying in South Florida.

“This is going to be an adventure,” said Ricketts, 66, a 38-year veteran MTSU professor, just before departing from Key West to head toward Miami, Fort Lauderdale and an eventual overnight stay in Bradenton.

“It’s 72 degrees this morning in Key West,” he added. “We’ll hit 30-degree temperatures when we reach Tennessee (Sunday night) and hit 20 degrees in Kansas City (Monday). In Montana, and we’ll go through Billings, we could hit 12-degree temperatures” after an arctic vortex blew through the region.

The researcher, who grew up on a farm and still lives on the family farm outside of Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, said the team “will go as far as we can with the research, experiencing as much as we can, but we will use wisdom if we have to call off or change a route later on.”

Apparently, according to the article, the 1981 Volkswagen Rabbit pickup is loud, as it has an exhaust stack system, vertically protruding from the truck bed. But Ricketts says the loud exhaust smelling like French fries amuses and entertains the kids they encounter along the way.