Purdue Study Show Biodiesel Benefits in Buses

John Davis

A new study from Purdue University shows that buses that have been running 10 percent biodiesel are reducing pollution without any loss of fuel economy.

This press release from the school says the report, prepared by Gregory Shaver, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering, doctoral student Dave Snyder and undergraduate Chris Satkoski, found that upping that mix to 20 percent would have even greater results:

The university’s Technical Assistance Program at the Purdue Research Park arranged for the engineers to prepare the study for IndyGo Public Transportation Corp., which provides mass transit in Indianapolis. The report was presented to Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard earlier this month at Purdue’s Ray W. Herrick Laboratories in a visit organized by the university’s Energy Center.

The report compared bus operations in April 2006 and April 2007 to determine the impact of switching from standard diesel fuel, referred to as B0, to B10, which contains 10 percent biodiesel. IndyGo switched its entire fleet to B10 in 2007.

“In our assessment, we would recommend going to B20,” Shaver said. “We also saw a significant benefit to using the diesel-electric hybrid buses, so we would recommend increasing the number of hybrids in the fleet. The best bang for your buck might be running B20 in hybrid buses, depending on the initial cost of hybrids compared to standard buses.”

The researchers say switching to B20 could save Indianapolis 360,000 gallons a year, while significantly reducing its carbon footprint.