MIDDLEBURY, Vt.-After a send-off gathering at 10 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 13, Project BioBus(www.projectbiobus.com) will depart the Middlebury College campus on a trip around the country to educate the public about the benefits of biodiesel fuel.

This time, Project BioBus, which started in the summer of 2003 when 13 Middlebury College students drove across the country in a used school bus they converted to run on recycled vegetable oil, is on a new mission. A new group of 12 Middlebury students, including some 2003 BioBus alumni, has registered Project BioBus as a non-profit organization. The group has bought a used school bus-the bus from the first trip was sold on Ebay-that will run on biodiesel fuel, an alternative fuel that goes straight into any diesel vehicle tank with little or no alterations to the engine.

The students are taking the entire fall semester off to travel across the country and back again, visiting a whole line-up of schools, colleges and universities to make presentations on biodiesel fuel, which is economical, healthy and environmentally friendly, with a goal of making the benefits of biodiesel common knowledge. The students note that through the use of biodiesel the nation can lessen its dependence on foreign oil, reduce emissions that contribute to smog, and virtually eliminate carcinogenic exhaust particulates.

The Project BioBus students have established a Web site that offers more information and a way to track their progress online at www.projectbiobus.com.

At the send-off on Sept. 13, student and alumni members of the Project BioBus team will be present to answer questions and distribute materials. They will offer tours of their converted school bus, which features a kitchen, luggage storage, meeting area and book shelves. The bus will be located at Middlebury College on Old Chapel Road, between Old Chapel and the McCullough Student Center.

— end ­­—