You will never see
us arriving
at a job sight
loaded with
5 gallon buckets
of rusty tools
attempting to
"wing it"

— Mark Armstrong

Local College Offers Alternative Fuels Course

By: Wayne Freedman

May 21 2007- KGO – With gas prices continuing to rocket, many lament the lack of alternative fuels. In fact, they do exist, but not the infrastructure to support them. A college class and its innovative teacher are doing their best hurry the process along. For all the talk of a greener, cleaner. more fuel efficient world, there’s irony in the fact that we will achieve much if it by getting our fingernails dirty.


Mark Armstrong, Alternative Fuels Teacher: “Dirty fingernails are a sign of getting off the couch and doing something.” And students should expect dirty fingernails when they take an alternative fuels class from Mark Anderson of Santa Rosa Junior College. It may be the only program in the nation combines book learning with hands-on experience in converting cars to diesel, ethanol and vegetable oil.


Mark Armstrong, Alternative Fuels Teacher: “But people seem powerless. Don’t. If you’re willing to get dirty, we’ll show you how to do it.”


So really this a program is more about infrastructure. Before we build and drive cars that run on olive oil or electricity, we’ve better have technicians to fix them.


Josh Bertozzi, student: “I was in the Navy for four years and I had no direction. I found this class, decided I could change the world and make a living at it. And that’s why I chose it.”


The newest program deals exclusively with electric vehicles. They’ve taken advantage of solar panels on the roof and routed the power into six electric filling stations on the wall.


Mark Armstrong: “I mean it’s unavoidable. We’re so limited in petroleum so this has to come.”


Mark’s next big project is to see a Porsche driving faster and getting 100 miles per gallon.


Don’t scoff. He says being a cynic is the easiest job in the world, but creating change, takes work.


Mark Armstrong: “I always thought it would be absurd as a race of people to exist on one food. Why are we doing it with fuel?”