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Aug 20, 2010 3:49 PM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

PooPower: From the toilet to the tank

Flint, Michigan has taken another step in becoming a zero-waste city.

The city unveiled its first biogas vehicle at Kettering University on Thursday.

It's intended to educate, enlighten, and employ.

Green technology now powers the Chevrolet Silverado 2500 heavy duty pickup truck. More specifically and scientifically, without getting too detailed, it's brown technology.

The truck can run on either gas or biomethane made from human waste.

The truck has a second fuel tank next to the gasoline fuel tank that Kettering University students installed. It feeds a large barrel in the truck bed that holds biomethane.

The students say it's not that difficult to install. "The only major changes, you have to add additional injectors for the fuel for the compressed natural gas, so this engine has both injectors for gasoline and compressed natural gas," explains research assistant Nolan McCann.

For safety reasons, only certified installers can legally install it, and Kettering would like to eventually convert all of Flint's city vehicles to biomethane.

City officials say it's not just about energy, but employment.

"If you want to have the jobs, you've got to have the innovation and the good ideas. That's what's always fueled the auto industry from its early days. That's what made Flint such a hot spot. Now we've got to do it again," says Flint Mayor Dayne Walling.

Researchers say the biomethane costs around $1.80 a gallon and gets slightly fewer miles per gallon than regular gasoline.

 

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