Penn State’s Venture into Biodiesel Proving Effective

John Davis

pennstate.jpgOfficials at Penn State University say there has been no negative effects on tractors that they moved up to running on 100 percent biodiesel. The school started running its tractors on B20 in 2002 and more recently began testing three New Holland tractors (out of the 100 the school uses) on the B100.

This story by the college’s newspaper, The Daily Collegian quotes Glen Cauffman, Penn State manager of farm operations and facilities, as saying there’s been no degraded performance or power in the two years they’ve been testing the higher biodiesel content:

“[Using biodiesel] is the right thing to do because it is contributing to the greening of Penn State,” Cauffman said.

The stress to the environment is apparent in the black exhaust flowing from petroleum-based diesel fuel. The exhaust contains tiny carcinogenic particles, which are harmful to the environment and to people, Cauffman said.

“Petroleum diesel emits particles out of the exhaust of vehicles that are hazardous to the environment,” he said. “Those particles are especially bad for humans because when they get in your lungs, they are very difficult for the body to get rid of.”

The use of biodiesel fuels can translate from farming machinery into the lives of most Americans, said Andre Boehman, professor of fuel science and engineering.

“It could make big difference. A lot more companies are going to start to produce more diesel cars in the next decade,” Boehman said.

Boehman cited a test Volkswagen did on its vehicles, displaying the effectiveness of diesel fuels. The diesel-fueled car got twice the mileage per gallon in comparison, he said.

“We all should be driving diesel vehicles. They are anywhere from 30 to 100 percent more efficient in miles per gallon,” Boehman said.

Biodiesel, New Holland