Campus Mixes-it-up with 20 percent Biodiesel Blend

The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s fleet of diesel-fueled vehicles will begin to fill its tanks with a blend of sulfur diesel and a soybean-based biodiesel fuel in an effort to improve air quality on the campus.

“This new fuel mix will result in significant reductions in the emissions of a number of pollutants,” says Chancellor John D. Wiley, noting that the campus will begin using the ultra-low sulfur diesel more than a year before federal regulations require it. “This is an important part of our commitment to achieve the best air quality possible.” Sulfur diesel and biodiesel will be mixed to allow a 20 percent concentration of biodiesel in the fleet’s fuel. The biodiesel in the university’s fuel mix means that its physical plant fleet will get better emission reductions that other fleets even after federal regulations require the use of ultra-low sulfur diesel. Rob Kennedy, senior transportation planner for the university, says the new fuel blend will lead to a 15 percent reduction in particulate matter, also known as soot. In addition, use of the new mixture will result in a 13 percent reduction in hydrocarbons, an 8 percent cut in carbon monoxide and a 16 percent decline in emissions of carbon dioxide, which is the primary gas responsible for global warming. The university is a founding partner in the Dane County Clean Air Coalition, which has brought together government agencies and businesses to voluntarily help reduce emissions and avert stricter regulation that accompanies higher ozone levels. UW-Madison has also offered to pay for a $20,000 gas-can exchange program as part of an agreement to offset emissions at the new West Campus Cogeneration Facility, and in its continuing commitment to control the release of ozone-causing pollutants. The university is working with Dane County and the city of Madison on that program, which will distribute 4,400 environmentally friendly gas cans to homeowners.

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