CU-Boulder senior environmental engineering major Andrew Azman will be honored with a David Brower Youth Award today in Berkeley, Calif., for his work on the conversion of University of Colorado buses and trucks to biodiesel -- a vegetable oil based alternative fuel source that significantly lowers harmful emissions.
The Brower Award is the nation's most prestigious recognition of environmental activists ages 13 to 22 and is given annually to six of the nation's most successful young environmentalists. Named in honor of David Brower, environmentalist and founder of Earth Island Institute, the award includes a $3,000 cash prize and a three-day Wilderness Encounter in Yosemite National Park.
Azman is credited with starting a region-wide push to convert petroleum diesel fueled vehicles to cleaner burning biodiesel, an alternative fuel source that can be made from cafeteria grease and that emits 47 percent less particulate matter exhaust than petroleum diesel and 48 percent less carbon monoxide.
"Biodiesel is a solution that's available now, not next year, not tomorrow," said Azman. "Every major university can make the switch within the year."
"I am excited to know that by winning this prestigious award, people all over the country will recognize that there are some simple solutions to our planet's numerous environmental problems."
What began as a sustainable engineering design class project turning cafeteria grease to diesel fuel has led to a commitment by the University of Colorado's Boulder campus to run all 13 of its diesel buses on the alternative fuel.
An evaluation of biodiesel in seven city of Boulder fleet vehicles also is underway and on Sept. 12th Boulder's first biodiesel pump opened for public and private diesel fueled vehicles.
"Andrew Azman was instrumental in the partnership between the City of Boulder, the University of Colorado and the private sector to bring biodiesel to Boulder," said Boulder Mayor Will Toor. "This will have real benefits - helping to improve local air quality and to reduce our contribution to greenhouse gas emissions."
In 2003, Azman founded CU Biodiesel, a club to promote the advancement of biodiesel around the CU campus, as well as throughout Boulder.
Azman and CU Biodiesel sponsored a referendum to create a student fee allowing for more research and development of biodiesel on the CU campus. Students voted for the referendum, allocating an extra $30,000 annually to switch the rest of the university's fleet to biodiesel.
"In taking a class project from theory to production and on to actual public usage on a day-to-day basis, Andrew has practiced all that an educator hopes for in a student. He is an outstanding student as well as environmentalist," said Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Ron Stump.
Vice Chancellor for Administration Paul Tabolt said, "The university is proud of Andrew Azman and the important role he has played in helping the campus community forge new ground in energy conservation."
For interviews, contact Andrew Azman at (303) 819-4365.