University Fleet Uses Biodiesel to Cut Emissions
In a continued effort to reduce the university’s carbon footprint, Georgetown has begun to use a biodiesel blend for its fleet of Georgetown University Transportation Shuttle (GUTS) buses and other university staff vehicles.
“The university has set a goal to reduce our carbon footprint by 50 percent by 2020. Over the past three years we have reduced by nearly 17 percent, so we believe this is an achievable goal,” says Karen Frank, vice president of university facilities and student housing, which oversees GUTS. “Georgetown continues to look for ways to become more sustainable and using the biodiesel blend is something we can do at low cost to the university.”
Frank says using a B20 biodiesel blend allows a reduction in carbon emissions without requiring the university to convert engines of existing university vehicles.
The B20 blend, comprising 80 percent petroleum diesel and 20 percent biodiesel, is quickly becoming a popular choice in the United States, says university fleet manager James Connor. The 20 percent of biodiesel used in the blend is manufactured from domestically produced oils such as soybean oil, recycled cooking oils or animal fats.
Nearly 4,000 gallons of the new fuel were delivered this past October and pumped from a truck into fuel tanks stored in the garage below the Southwest Quad. The university orders shipments of 3,000 to 5,000 gallons every couple of weeks to accommodate the 16 transit buses that run to and from campus from 6 a.m. to midnight.
Connor says the blend is just one example of renewable fuels being used on campus. “The golf carts that you see on campus are all electric vehicles, and we also have a vehicle used by Outdoor Education that runs on 100 percent vegetable oil that they collect from area restaurants,” Connor says.
Prior to using the biodiesel blend, university vehicles used the government standard -- ultra-low sulfur diesel.
“The university is trying to educate our community about the importance, at large, of alternative fuel use and set an example in the process,” Connor says.
(January 5, 2010)
'The university is trying to educate our community about the importance, at large, of alternative fuel use and set an example in the process.' -- James Connor, university fleet manager