American University Shuttles with Biodiesel

American University made the decision to incorporate an alternative fuel into its shuttle bus fleet in 2011. It was looking for a fuel that would reduce emissions, but also allow for an easy transition. Driven by the university wide goal to become carbon neutral, the Facilities Management Office’s Operation and Maintenance Department evaluated various fuel and technology options, but quickly settled on a B20 blend.

Fast-forward to today, and the fleet’s 10 large transit-style shuttle buses are using approximately 50,000 gallons of biodiesel a year, resulting in substantial petroleum red When uctions and cost savings. The University has also purchased a mobile fueling station, which ensured the availability of affordable, high-quality biodiesel without the inconvenience of fueling the vehicles off-site.

“Biodiesel has made great contributions to the overall sustainability program of our university,” said Alef Worku, Shuttle Operations & Maintenance Manager. “We are excited to share our experience with others.”

According to Worku, gaining support from the university administration, management, vehicle maintenance staff, drivers, and students has been critical to ensuring a smooth transition to the new fuel. The fleet also worked closely with permitting authorities, the Greater Washington Region Clean Cities Coalition (GWRCCC), and a local fuel provider to guarantee success.

HT: Clean Cities: Building Partnerships to Reduce Our Reliance on Petroleum in Transportation

Related curriculum: Henry Ford & George Washington Carver Team Up to Make Bio-Based Products

Scientists and engineers work together to “industrialize” the use of agriculture products. Oil and protein from plants can be turned into many products. Design some new products using items from around your house. Then use soy protein to create a new bio-based material. This activity is one of several from a 4H Agriscience Biotechnology Series.