Friday, April 6, 2012
Morada Students take first place for grass-fueled bus concept/The Record
Morada students' conceptual bus project first in national competition
MORADA - A bus powered by schoolyard grass clippings and a series of rechargeable batteries might be a multimillion-dollar idea for a green transportation company in the future, but a Morada Middle School leadership class is more than happy to settle for some national notoriety and a $1,000 cash prize for coming up with the idea.
Teacher Aaron Sass entered his leadership students into the annual Garrett Morgan Sustainable Transportation Competition this year. The class submitted an idea for what they call the "Morada Middle School Hybrid Bus," Sass said.
"The idea is to use the grass clippings from our school's fields. We would then dry them out, mix them with a binding agent such as wax, and then turn them into pellets to be used in the engine as a fuel source," Sass said.
The conceptual bus would also have a series of magnets and coiled wires that act as a battery charger, Sass said.
Morada Middle joined six other finalist teams - three others from California, two from Mississippi and one from Maryland - hosted by the Mineta Transportation Institute, and featured U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood in a video teleconference.
Judges felt that Morada Middle students "demonstrated that the fuel sources were readily available, and the students understood that the buses would require financing and marketing," Mineta Communications Director Donna Maurillos said in a written statement.
Morada Middle School was sponsored in the event by Caltrans District 10. Caltrans officials celebrated with the middle school students Wednesday.
"This was a great experience for all of us," Morada student Victor Munoz said via email. "We had a great time learning about sustainable transportation."
Contact reporter Keith Reid at (209) 546-8257 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit his blog at recordnet.com/lodiblog.