Students from Burton Center for Arts and Technology, a National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium Associate Training Center member located in Salem, Va., recently were rewarded for building a propane-powered go kart completely from scratch, even making the chassis.

Burton Auto Service Instructor Joe Moore explained that the secondary school’s motor sports students designed and manufactured the go kart, which they used to compete in the Virginia SkillsUSA Leadership and Skills Conference. The group placed first in the Motor Sports division.

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A propane-powered go kart, designed and built by Burton Center for Arts and Technology students, on display at the Virginia SkillsUSA Leadership and Skills Conference. Credit: Burton

Although alternative fuels have been a part of Burton’s curriculum for only two years, Moore said the class is successful.

“We were able to secure funding for several of our hands-on projects, and we received two grants from our county school system,” Moore noted.

He also reflected on Burton’s participation in the NAFTC’s 2010 National AFV Day Odyssey, which featured a propane-powered motorcycle built by the automotive students, with the fabrication performed by the welding class.

“We put together the Odyssey event in October with our local community college, Virginia Western,” Moore explained. “We had General Motors with the Chevrolet Equinox Fuel Cell, Edison2 car from the Progressive Automotive X Prize competition, a converted (Toyota) Prius that Virginia Tech worked on, hybrids from our local dealers, wind power, geothermal energy and a propane-powered vehicle, along with others.”

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Burton Center for Arts and Technology automotive students gather around the propane-powered motorcycle they built and displayed at their 2010 Odyssey event. Credit: Burton

Moore added that he is looking forward to continuing alternative fuels education again in the fall.

“Our students will be working with renewable alternative fuels next school year, 2011-12,” he said. “The project will break the class into four groups that will convert a Briggs and Stratton engine to run electronic fuel injection to deliver the fuel of their choice. We are working on this with James Madison University.

“We are charging forward and looking for partners to help us accomplish the goal of educating high school students in alternative fuels,” Moore continued. “Nothing will change if we don’t start with the future engineers, technicians, welders and racecar fabricators.”

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