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UNL Switches Over to Biodiesel and Ethanol

Beginning 1 July,  the University of Nebraska-Lincoln will switch the 870 vehicles in its fleet—including tractors, mowers and off-road equipment in addition to passenger vehicles—to biofuel blends.

The University will use E-10 (10% ethanol) blends in all its gasoline-powered vehicles, with the exception of 26 flex-fuel vehicles that will burn E85. Diesels will use a B2 soy biodiesel blend.

This follows on a 20 May executive order by Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman for all state agencies using fleet vehicles to use E85 and biodiesel (whenever available within a reasonable distance) while operating the state’s flexible-fuel or diesel-powered vehicles.

Nebraska was the first state to mandate the use of E10 in its fleet vehicles, beginning in 1980.

Nebraska has the third largest ethanol production capacity in the nation, at 523 million gallons annually, from 11 operating ethanol plants consuming nearly one-fourth of Nebraska’s annual corn crop. While ethanol production has become the second largest use of Nebraska corn—more than 200 million bushels annually—this market barely existed 25 years ago.

UNL scientists are pursuing a number of biofuel-related research projects including quantifying ethanol’s energy balance, evaluating the economic benefits of ethanol production, genetically engineering soybeans to enhance their use as biodiesel feedstock, identifying the optimum blend of soy oil and fossil fuels for biodiesel, and exploring the feasibility of producing biodiesel in Nebraska.

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