For more information, contact:
Diane Greenberg, 631 344-2347, or
Mona S. Rowe, 631 344-5056

go to home page

July 17, 2002

Electronic newsroom



Brookhaven Lab’s Garbage Truck to Use Vegetable Oil in Hydraulic System

Upton, NY — The garbage truck at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory will soon be retrofitted to use vegetable oil in its hydraulic system. Two Brookhaven employees — Peter Pohlot, an environmental professional, and Kenneth Mohring, a services division environmental coordinator — thought of the idea for the Laboratory’s 2002 pollution prevention program.

In the photo (from left), Brookhaven’s Richard Allingham, Peter Pohlot, and Roland Baillargeon are standing next to the Lab’s garbage truck, which will soon start using the new environmentally friendly hydraulic system. (Download hi-res 300 dpi jpg.)

Every year since 1991, Brookhaven has asked its employees to submit proposals for reducing waste and emissions, thereby protecting the environment and cutting waste-management costs. This year, eight out of 21 proposals were selected. While they will cost $120,000 to implement, the expected return on investment is $268,000 per year.

Vegetable oil is being used in a motor-pool hydraulic lift system at the Laboratory, and a proposal to use vegetable-oil based hydraulic fluid for the balance of the five motor-pool hydraulic lift systems will also be implemented. The Lab has a fleet of 335 vehicles.

While petroleum-based fluids are dangerous for the environment and expensive to clean up, vegetable-oil hydraulic fluid is biodegradable. Once it is on the ground, it is consumed by naturally occurring microorganisms.

Mohring commented, “The Lab also has been using vegetable-based hydraulic fluid for three large lawn mowers since 2001. Our goal is to stop using petroleum-based hydraulic fluid at the Lab for all machinery, whenever possible.”


The U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory conducts research in the physical, biomedical, and environmental sciences, as well as in energy technologies. Brookhaven also builds and operates major facilities available to university, industrial, and government scientists. The Laboratory is managed by Brookhaven Science Associates, a limited liability company founded by Stony Brook University and Battelle, a nonprofit applied science and technology organization.