NORTH CONWAY, New Hampshire ??вЂќ Although it sounds far fetched, eating French fries could have a positive effect on the environment and the skiing conditions at North Conway’s mountain of choice. Cranmore Mountain Resort is the only ski resort in the East to use biodiesel fuel to power its fleet of snow grooming machines. Biodiesel is a domestic, renewable diesel fuel replacement derived from natural oils such as soybean or canola oil. It can even be manufactured from recycled restaurant grease . It is a nontoxic, biodegradable, cleaner-burning fuel that works in any diesel engine – trucks, construction equipment, buses, and cars – with few or no modifications. The environmental benefits of using biodiesel include reduced particulate emissions, toxic air contaminants, and greenhouse gas emissions. Cranmore Mountain Resort celebrates the use of alternative fuels with free lift tickets for the drivers of alternative fuel vehicles on Sustainable Slopes Day, Sunday, February 26.
“It’s just the right thing to do,” says Cranmore’s Mountain Manager Jim Mersereau. “This is our second winter using B20, a biodiesel mixture. Our groomers run with the same efficiency as before. Now they just run cleaner – producing less smoke and fumes.”
Although the price of biodiesel is higher than petroleum-based diesel fuel, a bill containing the first biodiesel tax incentive was recently signed by President Bush, and the new law is expected to have a positive effect on the price for consumers. H.R. 4520, also known as the American JOBS Creation Act of 2004 is expected to contribute to the domestic economy through farming and the production of alternative fuels, while decreasing the country’s dependency on foreign oil.
Biodiesel is the first and only alternative fuel to have a complete evaluation of emission results and potential health effects submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Clean Air Act Section 211(b). Some of the proven benefits of using B20, a biodiesel mixture that is calibrated for winter usage, include a 20 percent decrease in unburned hydrocarbons and sulfates and a 12 percent reduction in Carbon Monoxide and particulate matter. Biodiesel emissions show decreased levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) and nitrated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (nPAH), which have been identified as potential cancer causing compounds. In health effects testing, use of B20 showed a 50 percent decrease in nPAH.
Cranmore Mountain Resort launched a pilot project to use biodiesel fuel in the four Bombardier grooming vehicles used for daily grooming of the ski slopes last season. This pilot project was funded through a grant from the N.H. Department of Environmental Services and the Granite State Clean Cities Program. Because it was so successful, an extension of the grant will help fund the project during this season (2004-2005); after that, Cranmore has committed to fully fund the project.
“This pilot project at Cranmore Mountain Resort is critical in demonstrating the cold-weather viability of biodiesel in heavy-duty vehicle applications for other New England fleets,” says Cranmore General Manager Ben Wilcox. “It is the first of its kind at ski areas in the eastern U.S. and Cranmore is proud to be a leader in helping to preserve our natural resources.”
For more information, call 1-800-SUN N SKI (786-6754) or visit www.cranmore.com.