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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    BROOKHAVEN SHIFTS TO BIODEGRADABLE FLUIDS

    One of the ideas of the U.S. Department of Energy’#146;s Brookhaven NationalLaboratory (BNL) 2002 pollution prevention program will soon be seen in actionas one of the Laboratory’#146;s garbage trucks will be adjusted to use vegetableoil in its hydraulic system. The idea behind this innovation came from Brookhavenemployees Kenneth Mohring, a services division environmental coordinator, andPeter Pohlot, an environmental professional.

    The Laboratory has asked employees to submit proposals for ways to reduce wasteand emissions in an effort to protect the environment and cut waste managementcosts each year for the past 11 years. The use of vegetable oil in the hydraulicsystems of trucks is one of the eight proposals that were selected to be implementedfrom this year’#146;s pool of 21.

    Though it will cost $120,000 to follow through with these proposals, the expectedannual return on the initial investment is $268,000.

    Vegetable oil is currently being used in a motor pool hydraulic lift systemat the Lab. If it proves successful a proposal to use vegetable-oil based hydraulicfluid for the remaining four hydraulic lift systems will also be implemented.BNL presently has a fleet of 335 vehicles.

    Vegetable oil, unlike petroleum-based fluids, is biodegradable, inexpensiveto clean up, and innocuous to the environment. The oil is consumed by naturallyoccurring microorganisms once it is on the ground.

    ‘The Lab also has been using vegetable based hydraulic fluid for threelarge lawn mowers since 2001,’ Mohring said. ‘Our goal is to stopusing petroleum-based hydraulic fluid at the Lab for all machinery, wheneverpossible.’

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