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AIT  Students Convert 1984 Mercedes Benz Diesel Vehicle to Operate On Waste Vegetable Oil

Jay Settle presented the results of this research at the 2008 NAIT Conference "Globalization of Technology"

Students pose with TN Governor Bredesen
at the Capitol Building as they tell him a
bit about their conversion project

For their Senior Capstone Project, AIT students Yolanda Carter, Vincent Williamson, Jay Settle, Andre Johnson, and Eric Towles decided to explore a project that would be beneficial to the consumer and our environment.  They decided to take on the challenge of converting a vehicle to operate on Waste Vegetable Oil (WVO).  For the project, the team derived the waste oil from a local Nashville restaurant where teammate Jay Settle is employed. 

Oftentimes restaurants are extremely generous in giving away the oil for free because they usually have to pay to have it removed.  The uniqueness of converting a diesel vehicle allows the driver to concentrate on the demands of everyday driving, and the team also created a simpler more versatile filtering process.  They built a circuit which contains a temperature sensor used to measure the temperature of the WVO. 

Mercedes Project

This device, along with a solenoid, allows the vehicle to automatically switch to veggie oil when the oil reaches the proper temperature. This will replace a cumbersome 12V manual switch usually activated numerous times throughout the day by the driver.  An override switch was installed as well so the driver has complete control over which fuel to use at any time.

The team derived an “on the spot filter and pump” process.  The driver can back up to any grease trap (usually located at the back dock of a fried food cooking restaurant) and pump and filter the WVO directly into the tank for operation.  This eliminates the driver from having to carry the WVO home in containers and filter it out there.  The group focused on these modifications extensively to ensure longevity, efficiency, and accuracy. 

Yolanda, serving as Project Leader of the Design Team, said this was an enjoyable challenge. “I could not ask for a better group of people to work with”.

Ignited Minds Team







Above picture with Governor: from left to right: Jay, Dr. Consigny, Eric, Governor Bredesen, Yolanda, Vincent, Dr. Anneseley, and Andre

Team Name: Ignited Minds  Team from left to right: Andre Johnson, Sales/Marketing; Vincent Williamson, Vice President; Yolanda Carter, CEO; Jay Settle, Technical/Production. Not Pictured: Eric Towles, Finance/Compliance.

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