Richardson revamps car for senior project
While you may be pumping about $100 of gas into your car, Baldwin High School senior Daniel Richardson is filling his up with : vegetable oil?
For his Senior Mastery Project Richardson converted a Mercedes-Benz 300D to run on used vegetable oil instead of diesel. He decided on this project because of the high gas prices and the environment.
"One of the reasons I did it, other than to save the environment, was because of the fact that I have a Mercedes," Richardson said. "I did it even though I haven't had any previous experience working on cars."
The total costs were about $3,400: $3,000 for the car and $400 for the tools. The kit was donated.
It took Richardson about 10-1/2 hours to complete, and it is finished now.
"My car reeks of French fries," Richardson said. "It was an easy to moderately hard project, but I'm glad I did it."
Students had supportive reactions about Richardson's project.
"It sounds pretty neat and if he wants to do it, I think it is pretty cool," senior Regan Smith said. "I only do recycling, but we can do what we can even though God will take care of us."
"The car runs, all it needs is to have the vacuum pump rebuilt," Richardson said.
Many teachers support Richardson's idea of trying to improve the environment.
"I think what Daniel did is right in line with what we should all be striving for. We need to be innovative in solving our energy needs," BHS Science teacher Jim Hartman said. "The vegetable oil conversion is a very practical solution to high prices for gas. I have the utmost respect for Daniel accomplishing this task."
Science teacher Nikki Burnett agrees.
"Great project, Daniel," Burnett said. "Biodiesel is not harmful to the environment, so my great-great grandchildren thank you."
Richardson took a Mercedes 300D and a conversion kit from Lovecraft Biofuels and installed in the car's engine compartment and connected the kit to the engine and fuel lines.
"My mentor was Tacee Webb, the owner of Lovecraft Biofuels, and her staff," Richardson said.
"I do plan to use this car for a long time," Richardson said. "I plan on having it for at least 10 years, if not more."
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