GREENWOOD -- If Pete Boyd had been on Gilligan's Island, perhaps that motley sitcom crew would have gotten away a lot sooner.
With an unorthodox engine system containing a seashell, a block of wood and some metal piping in hand, this Doddridge County man can produce enough power to run a diesel truck -- even if its start up is about as cooperative as a lawn mower's at the beginning of spring.
The unusual looking contraption is part of this former mechanic's life goal of lending his inventing/tinkering skills to the cause of cleaner air.
"The planet can't stand the pollution that we are putting out," said Boyd. "And we do not have the natural resources to elevate the third world to this standard."
He's not just blowing smoke.
Boyd is one of several mechanical types nationwide to experiment with the patented Paul Pantone/GEET Fuel Processor, which inventor Pantone and his company, Global Environmental Energy Technology, hope will someday change the way we use natural resources.
"I heard an interview by him over the radio and I contacted him and began working on it," said Boyd, who is now a self-employed Jack of all trades.
The key is in the piping, he said of the processor, which is attached to an ordinary five-horse-power engine.
"We have taken the exhaust system and the fuel system and combined them to create what is essentially a mini-refinery," Boyd said of the Pantone engine. "It allows hydrocarbons to be processed into what is a cleaner-burning motor fuel."
Boyd said the heated combination of fuel and exhaust also creates a combustible plasma that allows for some fuel reuse. He runs his engine on combinations of materials including a blend that is mostly used motor oil with some crude oil and gasoline mixed in.
His contribution to the research has been extending the combined fuel/exhaust piping with a small piping extension and a seashell that acts as a fuel atomizer. The seashell would obviously not work for commercial production, but Boyd said it is working great for his home use.
"This motor powers Phyllis' 1930s washing machine," Boyd said, referring to his wife.
Greener-than-average power is only one part of their lifestyle, said Boyd, who describes himself as an environmental free radical.
"We heat with wood, we light with kerosene, we grow a lot of our own food," Boyd said. They eat only wild or organically raised meat.
Boyd hopes the Pantone engine and his work on it will lead to changes in the automotive industry.
Some hope is already being realized, he said.
With more than a year of personal experimentation under his belt, Boyd is going to Florida later this month to help install one of the engines in a motorcycle owned by Jeff Starkey, a professional racer. The engine is also going to be used experimentally in diesel tractor trailers, Boyd said.
"If we do manage to find alternative methods for fuel and the way that we live, maybe we can continue to exist on this planet," Boyd said.
"We can't have the change overnight, or it will destroy society. But I do believe that we have the ability to change."
Regional editor Nora Edinger can be reached at 626-1403.