From The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Monday, November 15, 2010:
Art students huddled around a 2,400-degree grease fire behind the university experimental farm in 13-degree weather on Thursday. A big tank of vegetable oil fed the flames inside a fire box and heated their pottery within one of Fairbanks’ newest artistic achievements — a vegetable oil-fired kiln.
A University of Alaska Fairbanks ceramics class designed and built the kiln during the summer at “kiln city,” an outdoor clearing between the reindeer pens and the university ski trails. Kiln City also contains four wood-fired kilns.
Few universities have vegetable oil kilns because they are a relatively new concept and take up lots of space. Most use indoor electric kilns.
The kiln, which was paid for with a $6,000 grant from the university sustainability committee, will lessen the carbon footprint of ceramics and offer a new aesthetic to artists. The experimental design also tests how the technology fares in cold weather.