High School Students from Arizona Charter Academy are Taking Part in Innovative Biodiesel Project

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The Students are in the Process of Producing an 80-Gallon Batch of Biodiesel Fuel that they will Use Later this Spring to Power a Diesel Bus Purchased by the School

“The kids are very excited not only for the hands on opportunity to build and create something of this magnitude, but also we are sparking a lot of interest in the use of alternative fuels and reducing our environmental impact,” Schmidt said.

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Thanks to the hard work and dedication of a high school math and science teacher from Arizona Charter Academy (ACA) and a group of enthusiastic high school students, a diesel bus will soon driving down the road, powered by biodiesel fuel that the students created.

In addition to teaching math and science, Kris Schmidt is the STEM club coordinator at ACA and the team leader for the biodiesel project. Last summer, Schmidt attended a teaching workshop at the National Renewable Energy Lab in Colorado.

“While I was there, I learned all about renewable energy and alternative fuels. I also met other teachers that have started their own biodiesel projects, and I wanted to try and bring it to my school,” Schmidt said.

Schmidt got busy creating a timeline for the biodiesel project as well as how the process would unfold. For example, the STEM-focused activity will serve two purposes as a science and community outreach project, and all high schoolers will have the chance to take part in the project.

By this April, the high school students from ACA will produce their first 80-gallon batch of biodiesel fuel, which will be utilized by diesel vehicles. By May, the school will obtain a diesel bus, which will run on the fuel the students created. In order to get raw materials to create the fuel, students have been busy contacting local businesses to see if they can donate their used fryer oil to the school.

Schmidt said ACA will also create and implement a continual and sustainable biodiesel creation process that can be run by more groups of students over time. This means it can be handed off from class to class, and ACA will continue to produce a useable form of alternative fuel.

Schmidt said that biodiesel project is going extremely well so far, and that the high school students are looking forward to watching the ACA bus hit the road, fueled by their eco-friendly biodiesel.

“The kids are very excited not only for the hands on opportunity to build and create something of this magnitude, but also we are sparking a lot of interest in the use of alternative fuels and reducing our environmental impact,” Schmidt said.

***ADDITIONAL PHOTOS AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST***For more information about the Arizona Charter Academy high school students’ biodiesel project , please contact Melissa Holdaway at 623-974-4959, extension 205.

About Arizona Charter Academy:
Arizona Charter Academy is a K-12 public charter school in Surprise, AZ, whose mission is to empower all students to be responsible, productive and successful citizens by building college/career readiness skills. These outcomes include critical thinking, cultural awareness, respect, articulation and support of viewpoints through written and verbal expression, effective use of technology, and active participation in the community. Our motto is to help each student find their purpose, build character, and provide exceptional education. Intentionally small classrooms, with a 24:1 student/teacher ratio, promote personal student attention, and supplemental and enrichment programs including honors courses, dual enrollment with Grand Canyon University, National Honor Society, Art, and wide variety of clubs are available to students at no additional charge. For more information, please visit http://www.azcharter.com

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Stephani Olson

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