British Petroleum (BP) visited the Wellsville campus of Alfred State College recently to present the School of Applied Technology with a “BP Buggy,” a solar-powered all-terrain vehicle for use in the college’s alternative energy programming. On hand from BP to turn over the keys were Eric Larson, the environment business manager at Wellsville for BP’s Remediation Management; Pat King, vice president of operations for remediation (global); and Marti Power, senior external affairs manager for remediation in the United States.
“This is a totally emission-free solar vehicle,” said Power. “There is a rechargeable battery back-up,” she noted.
This is the 22nd vehicle of its type BP has donated to a variety of locations such as zoos and wildlife habitats through a program begun about three years ago. The vehicles are manufactured in Louisiana; after production, BP has each of the buggies it purchases retro-fitted with safety belts.
“We have donated these vehicles to zoos and wildlife habitats because they are so quiet that they don’t disturb the animals,” Power continued. “We have also donated vehicles to three other colleges,” she said. She also noted that “Alfred State College has the best alternative energy programming” that they’ve seen, primarily because of the hands-on nature of the education.
“This vehicle is just a symbol of a larger partnership,” said Larson. “Our relationship with Alfred State began in about 1997,” he noted, “and has continued to grow.”
In fact, noted Craig R. Clark, Alfred State College interim vice president for academic affairs and executive director of the Wellsville campus, “One example of this partnership is BP’s donation of $20,000  for the array of photovoltaic panels (constructed by our students) that generates enough electricity to power our campus library.”
And the relationship continues to grow.
BP’s wetland treatment system project and Alfred State College are located next to each other on what once was the footprint of the old Sinclair refinery. But their proximity has meant more than just being good neighbors; it has sparked a successful and ever-growing partnership.
Earlier this spring, BP’s Wellsville project team linked up with students on campus to celebrate Earth Day by planting a dozen trees donated by BP to Alfred State. Students were offered a short presentation introducing them to the wetland treatment system project before heading outside to beautify the campus and help the environment.
BP also is developing a contract with the College’s faculty and students to build a solar-powered telemetry system to help control water levels at the wetland treatment system on site. Additionally, BP Solar is partnering with Alfred State and six community colleges on a statewide NYSERDA grant supporting photovoltaic training programs.
Larson explained the important relationship with the College. “As a global leader in solar technology, BP is excited about continuing our partnership with Alfred State’s electrical construction and maintenance electrician program which incorporates alternative energy systems, including solar technology, into the course work. The enthusiasm of the College, its faculty, and its students for solar energy is infectious and it’s exciting for us to be working with students who will become leaders in a field that will play a critical part in our nation’s energy future.”
Clark concurred: “BP and Alfred State have developed a very positive and mutually beneficial partnership that is providing significant resources and opportunities for our students. Adding this solar vehicle to our photovoltaic technology programming will give our students an opportunity to explore new uses for solar energy. The contract to build and maintain a solar telemetry system for BP's wetland treatment system is the kind of hands-on project that stimulates our students and sets our program apart. We're happy to have BP as a partner and neighbor and look forward to finding more ways we can continue this successful partnership.”
Assistant Professor Jeffrey Stevens said, “The future will feature an abundance of alternative energy technologies and Alfred State wants to educate students in this field to prepare them for the world of tomorrow. We’re thrilled that a leader in the industry like BP also is a great neighbor.”
Alfred State College President Dr. John M. Anderson, echoed the group’s sentiments when he noted, “Alfred State College is delighted to partner with British Petroleum—an environmentally concerned company working toward cleaner energy. This partnership dovetails well with the college’s goal of sustainability.”
The solar-powered vehicles, built by Bad Boy Buggies, are modified all-terrain vehicles (ATV) with 30 horsepower engines and more than 170 pounds of torque. The vehicle is capable of negotiating a 40-degree incline. It has room for four passengers and a load capacity of 880 pounds. It can pull a small trailer with 1,500 pounds. The vehicle has a maximum speed of 22 miles per hour.