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Biodiesel Fleet Trials and Adoption

The number of organizations either testing or just adopting various blends of biodiesel continues to grow. Among the latest are:

  • The Manatee (Florida) County School District is now using a soy B20 blend to power its fleet of 254 diesel buses and 50 other diesel vehicles. The district began testing the fuel on Nov. 12.

  • TriMet, the transit agency for the Portland, Oregon, Metro area is testing a B5 blend in 75 of its LIFT buses, which provide door-to-door service for the elderly and people with disabilities. Tests will run until next spring; if everything works out, they will convert the remainder of the 135 LIFT buses and consume about 70,000 gallons of biodiesel a month. The next step would be to look into the feasibility of converting its 611 regular buses. TriMet will get its biodiesel from Carson Oil, which plans to begin buying from the new SeQuential Biofuels plant in Salem.

  • The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) is running a biodiesel Pilot Fleet Program at its maintenance facilities in Knoxville and Johnson City. During the pilot program, more than 130 on-road vehicles including dump trucks, snowplows and HELP trucks will use a soy B20 biodiesel blend. The department plans to include off-road construction equipment in the study early next year.



what exactly do they "test out" when phasing in biodiesel? I would think that with a blend as low as B5 there wouldn't need to be any extensive testing.


Were I a beancounter involved, I'd want to know:
* the aggregate MPG before and after the switch
* the wear and tear on engine parts
* the costs in hose and other engine part replacements
* the availability of Bxx, both in terms of marketplace and my fueling station -- could I buy it? would it pump properly?

I'd also be interested in quality issues, such as:
* did drivers notice a difference in handling?
* did customers (bus riders, etc) notice a difference in smell or other offensiveness of exhaust

Sure, most of these answers are generally known beforehand. But, if you're going to deviate from the norm, you'd better be able to head off potential critics at the pass with good data for your specific project.


thanks for info. i guess my main question was why bother when most of these questions have seemingly been answered...but what you said makes sense.

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