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Built for speed.

For the first time, a motorboat will attempt a round-the-world trek--without using gasoline. Rather, New Zealander Pete Bethune's boat will be fueled by veggies.

Most speedboats burn gasoline to power their engines. That process converts the fuel's chemical energy into energy of motion. But burning gasoline releases air pollutants such as carbon dioxide (C[O.sub.2]). This heat-trapping gas contributes to global warming, or the increase in Earth's average temperature.

Bethune hopes to reduce pollution during his voyage by burning biodiesel instead. This type of fuel, made from vegetable oils and animal fats, burns more efficiently than gasoline. As a result, "it releases less pollutants than if we were using conventional fuels," explains Bethune.

But veggie power does not mean skimpy speed: Bethune's boat, named Earthrace, can reach a water-whipping 83 kilometers (52 miles) per hour. Bethune hopes to circumnavigate the globe in a record-breaking 65 days.

Two wings called "sponsons" rest atop the water to give the boat more stability

Nontoxic paint keeps sea organisms from attaching to and damaging the boat.

The windshield is made from laminated glass to keep it from shattering.

A pointy nose lets the boat pierce beneath waves instead of bouncing on them.
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Title Annotation:boat to be fueled by veggie power
Author:Bryner, Jeanna
Publication:Science World
Geographic Code:8NEWZ
Date:Sep 4, 2006
Previous Article:Hi from Alaska.
Next Article:Washed away.

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