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Corn+Soybean Digest

Biodiesel Buses and Beyond

A unique celebration was held in the Medford (NJ) Town- ship school district last October. The district was recognized for its 10th anniversary of using biodiesel in its bus fleet — the longest of any school district in the country.

Joseph Biluck, director of operations and technology for the school board, explains that the school's commitment to a biodiesel program was started because of the 3,500 students transported on buses in their district every day.

He says, “It has been proven that biodiesel improves air quality both outside of the bus and in the interior, and that's the No. 1 reason for starting this program. But that's not the only benefit we are receiving from using biodiesel in our buses. We're helping with energy security by displacing hundreds of thousands of gallons of petroleum diesel fuel and have experienced significant cost savings through reduced maintenance costs in our bus fleet.”

According to Medford officials, over the past decade the district's school buses have traveled over 4 million miles, consumed over 615,000 gal. of biodiesel, displaced over 123,000 gal. of diesel fuel, and eliminated 127,000 lbs. of hazardous emissions and 428 lbs. of particulate matter while reducing the overall cost of fleet operations by $80,000/year.

That in itself is a great biodiesel success story, and explains the growing popularity for biodiesel — 450 million gallons were sold last year compared with 25 million in 2002.

Promoting Biodiesel

Some special venues are promoting the benefits of biodiesel to further expand its use. For instance, 2008 marked the second summer that the United Soybean Board (USB) and the soybean checkoff have co-sponsored the National Tractor Pullers Association pulling circuit to promote the use of soy biodiesel and demonstrate the great engine performance soy biodiesel provides.

In addition to sponsoring six events in the National NTPA Championship Pulling Series, soy biodiesel is also supplied to power pulling sleds at these events and fuel official NTPA transport vehicles throughout the pulling season. Special signage on the sleds and vehicles puts awareness for soy biodiesel center stage throughout the events.

Biodiesel powers a mobile museum exhibit titled “Abraham Lincoln: Self-Made in America.”

The biodiesel-fueled, 53-ft. tractor -trailer exhibit opened at the Illinois State Fair in August and will travel the country through August 2010, visiting bicentennial celebrations, major sporting events, schools, colleges and other venues.

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