SolWest Renewable Energy Fair Hosts Vegetable Oil Vehicle Meet

Owners from around the Western US and Canada will compare notes on how systems are built, components and durability, type and pre-treatment of fuel oil.

SolWest Renewable Energy Fair, July 23, 24 and 25 in John Day, Oregon, will host a meet of SVO (straight vegetable oil-fueled) vehicles. Owners from around the Western US and Canada will compare notes on how systems are built, components and durability, type and pre-treatment of fuel oil. Cars will display data such as how many miles or months on vegoil and the type of vehicle/engine converted. Discussions will include pros and cons of various systems on the market and homebuilt systems, best practices, and next steps. A demonstration with a cold press will show how to make new oil on the farm by pressing seed into oil, and presscake pellets. The presscake pellets co-product can be used as organic fertilizer, or as a replacement for methyl bromide pesticide (if made from mustard seed), animal feed (if made from canola or sunflower), or solid fuel for pellet stoves. The meet will generate lots of tech talk, emissions talk, and energy politics.

Anyone who brings an alternatively-fueled vehicle to SolWest Fair will get a weekend pass for the price of a day pass.

SolWest keynote speaker John Perlin is the author of A Golden Thread: 2500 Years of Solar Architecture and Technology with Ken Butti. His most recent book, From Space to Earth: The Story of Solar Electricity is a must read for anyone interested in the subject of clean energy (Home Power Magazine). As a modern Renaissance Man, with an interest in everything, John brings a historical perspective to todays energy dilemmas. John will speak at 12:30 P.M. Saturday July 24 in the Sale Barn at the Grant County Fairgrounds.

SolWest 2004 is one of only a few locations in the US to host the Bell Cell golden anniversary exhibit, created by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), in consultation with solar expert John Perlin. On April 25, 1954, Bell Labs announced that three of its scientists (including two educated in Oregon) had invented the silicon solar cell. This is the solar cell that first made space travel possible, then created electricity for remote homes, and now is being used by utility customers for distributed generation on the power grid.

SolWest Renewable Energy Fair is the most comprehensive such event in the northwest. Experts from all over the western US will offer fifty workshops for all ages and levels of expertise on renewable energy and sustainable living topics (free with fair admission). Some of the workshops scheduled for this year include Photovoltaics for the Technically Challenged, Solar Water Pumping, Fundamentals of Hydroelectric Power, Bio-fuels, Passive Solar Design, Green Remodeling, Solar Hot Water, Pizza Box Ovens For Kids, and The ABC's of grid-connected solar systems. Special guest Carla Emery will speak on the History and Principles of the Modern Homesteading Movement during the free fair entry period from 5-7PM on Friday July 23rd.

About two thousand people visit SolWest each year to learn about and purchase complete solar power systems and components, solar hot water systems, solar pumps and wind-driven pumps, pump controls, hydro systems suitable for the smallest springs to large streams, solar roofing and home plans, home-scale wind generators, efficient lighting and appliances, books and magazines, biodiesel processors and fuels, and much more.

Activities during the weekend include Electrathon mini-electric car racing, and a Silent Auction of renewable energy hardware and other donated goods. Childcare and childrens workshops will be offered. Radio SolWest will be broadcasting from the fairgrounds on solar power. Camping is available, and volunteers get in and camp free.

Extended learning opportunities at this years SolWest Fair include a pre-fair solar hot water installation workshop instructed by Doug Railton and John McIntosh of Cascade Sun Works.

The SolWest Fair program is posted on the web at, or a paper copy can be requested at: SolWest/EORenew, PO Box 485, Canyon City OR 97820.
541-575-3633 or

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