Bonham High School Ag Class Receives TXSES Grant

                       Bonham High School Students Receive

                      TXSES Grant to Create Solar  E-Mower 


By Clint Minnick

Editor’s note:
TXSES awarded the Bonham High School Ag Department a $1000 grant in January to convert their fossil fuel burning commercial lawn mower to an electric vehicle. The school was selected by TXSES chapter North Texas Renewable Energy Group because of the school’s history of educating students about energy efficiency and renewable energy by converting gas burning vehicles to electric. The program is a hit with their fiscally conscious school board. A district truck, converted to electric power in 2009 and powered by a stationary solar charging station, saves the district $2,016 + annually

Bonham High School Ag mechanics are going “Green” again! The 2010-2011 BHS Ag mechanics students are converting a John Deere 757 zero turn riding mower to a fully electric mower with solar panels. The mower originally had a 25 horsepower twin cylinder gasoline motor powering the hydrostatic transmission and 60” mower deck. The students are designing and fabricating mounts to house and connect two DC electric motors to the mower. The two motors will work independently of each other, and one will power the hydrostatic transmission and the other will power the 60” mower deck. The students are also modifying the mower to house three 6V Interstate golf cart batteries on each side above the rear drive wheels, a total of 6 batteries. Solar panels above the driver will charge the batteries and also function as a shade/canopy.

In addition to converting the mower, the students have fabricated a 6’ X 10’ utility trailer with rear fold down ramp for the mower. The trailer will transport the mower and also contain an additional battery pack. The extra battery pack will be used to dump charge the mower’s batteries when needed. The E-mower and trailer, property of the school district, are quiet enough to mow next to buildings without disturbing classes during the school day.

The students understand the practicality of the e-vehicles and the benefit to the environment. With rising fuel prices, the students realize the need to reduce our dependence on oil. The Bonham Ag Science Department is grateful to groups like the Texas Solar Energy Society and the North Texas Renewable Energy Group for donating funds to help the students with their E-projects. Without such donations the students’ projects would not be as successful.

This web link is to Michael Barkley’s web page that has some pictures of the JD mower project as well as pictures of past BHS E-projects. Michael Barkley is an employee of the district and has been instrumental in helping with these projects.

Clint Minnick is a nationally recognized Agriculture Science teacher at Bonham High School.