Arbor Day oddity: Students build 'sustainable' truck from trees
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Aiming to develop alternative transportation that is affordable and sustainable, Purdue engineering students have built a truck almost completely from trees.
The frame and body of the BUV (Basic Utility Vehicle) are built of pine, but the design can easily be adapted to African hardwoods like mahogany. It could be used for many purposes, such as to haul crops, water, building materials, students or the infirm, in areas where no other transportation exists.
The Purdue students will travel to Cameroon, Africa, on May 10 to set up a basic manufacturing facility in a northern village near a forest. Built from raw materials readily and affordably available in Africa, the BUV is designed to specifically meet the needs of African villagers. The BUV can be built with the most basic tools and skills.
The BUV is about the size of a 1980s Toyota pickup and can incorporate some parts (such as an axle) of that old, developing world workhorse. Powered by a small 10 horsepower, Chinese-made diesel engine easily available in Africa, the BUV travels about 20 mph and achieves about 40 mpg. The all-terrain vehicle can travel on small roads or cross-country and can carry at least eight passengers and up to 1,200 pounds.
The Purdue effort is sponsored by the university's Global Engineering initiative that seeks to solve developing-world problems through engineering. The students partnered with the nonprofit African Centre for Renewable Energy & Sustainable Technology (ACREST) to set design and manufacturing parameters.
The BUV was on public display on the Purdue Mall near the Mechanical Engineering Building on Friday (April 30).
Writer: Jim Schenke, 765-494-6262, firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: Mackenzie McNamara, BUV designer, email@example.com
Note to Journalists: Broadcast-quality video B-roll and sound bites are available for download and use at ftp://news69.uns.purdue.edu/Public/WoodTruck/. For more information, contact Jim Schenke, Purdue News Service, at 765-494-6262, firstname.lastname@example.org