Living sustainably in Tampa Bay: Dave Starman's biodiesel fueled car and green lifestyle

As for water, Dave stated that he has to be a water conservationist because the boat can only hold about 80 gallons and he limits his consumption to that amount every two weeks to be used for cooking and cleaning.  He uses bottled water for drinking (and recycles, of course). 

He does note, however, that he takes showers at the USF gym quite a bit, which many people do not have the luxury of doing, unless they belong to a gym of course (and actually use the membership). 

"I would probably say that I have an alternative lifestyle when it comes to transportation, home energy use and home water use," Starman said. 

Not coincidentally, Dave just completed his Master's thesis on resource recovery from wastewate treatment processes. And, last year, the local chapter of the United States Green Building Council awarded Dave the John Toppe Scholarship for a local student that most exemplifies sustainable living. 

Dave will be continuing his goodwill lifestyle on the island of St. Croix where he has been offered a job at a water desalination plant that helps provide potable water for a great deal of the hotels and restaurants on the island and continue to support a thriving island tourism industry for local residents. 

"I like to visit natural habitats and I believe that we can comforbably and happily exist while leaving natural habitat for other species and for our children to enjoy," stated Starman.  "I am an environmentalist.  I believe that the best way to be an enviromentalist is to slow down, localize, and simplify."

This column is the first in a series of profiles of people who their part to live more sustainable in Tampa Bay. 

Dave Starman lives a simple life. He resides on a sailboat in the harbor off Davis Island. He is just finishing his Master's Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of South Florida, and drives to school everyday from South Tampa in his 1985 Mercedes Benz 300D diesel that he has converted to straight vegetable oil that he collects from restaurant waste fryers and filters. 

The car is modified to heat the oil to a temperature which brings its viscocity similar to that of petroluem diesel fuel and the diesel engine just burns it.

On his sailboat, Dave limits his daily living power consumption to what can be collected from one 130 Watt solar panel.  He lives on a 12V DC system primarily with lights, stereo, water pump, and other marine navigational equipment.

Scroll to read more News Feature articles


Join Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.