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Biofuel car sets a land speed record

staff writer

Published: Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Updated: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 11:09

Fast car

BIOCHEMISTRY STUDENT MICHEAL MORGAN gets ready to drive the “Aggie A-Salt” Streamliner at the Bonneville Salt Flats. The biofuel car was created by USU students from three colleges and runs on yeast made from food waste. Photo courtesy of Lance Seefeldt

“One is made from bacteria, one made from yeast and one made from algae. It just happened we could produce yeast more proficiently in a larger quantity,” he said.

   

McCurdy said the scaled-up production was about 1000 times more than the first small vial of fuel they were able to make.

   

“It was a lot of years and a lot of research and that wasn’t all that long ago,” said Mike Morgan, the driver of the streamliner and a senior majoring in biochemistry. “I remember the first vial and how excited everyone was.”

   

Seedfeldt said they were surprised about how much attention they got when they lined

up with the other cars.

   

“Our car had a consistent crowd around it,” he said. “I didn’t see any other cars that had a consistent crowd around it.”

   

Seefleldt said people were also surprised how little money they had spent on making the car.

   

“This car project was done on a shoestring,” he said. “We’ve all donated time, because it’s our passion.”

   

The car was unique in design because it was custom-made and because the diesel-generator engine and transmission were visible from the back, according to Morgan.

   

“They announced over the PA that it smelled like someone was baking bread,” Morgan said. “The fuel made out of yeast has a really distinct smell.”

   

Seefeldt said next year the team wants to go back to the salt flats and do some more passes with algae, yeast and bacteria.

   

McCurdy said they will definitely be able to run the car with biofuel from algae in the near future.

   

Seefeldt said the separate teams are working to achieve common goals.

   

“There are two teams of engineers working on car upgrades, specifically the aerodynamics and

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