Friday, December 9, 2011

District Bus Fleet to Reduce Carbon Footprint With Biodiesel

bus San Diego Unified School District Trustees voted to use biodiesel or an alternative fuel to be used in the tanks of school buses and the diesel fleet by the end of the 2014-15 school year at their Dec. 6 meeting. The resolution was introduced by Trustee Kevin Beiser.

Mandating that the fleet of more than 500 buses "come clean" will help reduce pollution in the San Diego region, helping the kids that ride the bus possibly avoid diseases such as asthma and cancer. According to the Board resolution on the topic, biodiesel is the only alternative fuel that complies with the federal Clean Air Act.

"It's our duty as trustees of the next generation to do everything we can to make their environment safe," said Kevin Beiser, Board of Education member. "This step will not only make the environment better, we will be doing our part toward energy independence by using a renewable resource."

San Diego Unified has already taken an interim step. In 2009, the district finished modifications to its fleet to create "clean diesel" buses, installing equipment that reduced particulates. Federal stimulus funds and help from the US Environmental Protection Agency, California Environmental Protection Agency and the local Air Pollution Control District made that
conversion possible. Students from district automotive technology programs also helped with the conversion.

"As this equipment ages, we have to look at alternatives," said Beiser. "This resolution gives the Superintendent clear direction that this Board is dedicated to reducing pollution."

Biodiesel mixes standard diesel fuel with fuel distilled from renewable resources such as soybeans or waste vegetable oil. The alternative fuel conversion can produce lower emissions including reductions in carbon monoxide, nitrogen and carbon dioxide. The use of biodiesel will not void any warranties that the district has on current vehicles, and create local jobs supporting the local bio-diesel industry in San Diego.

"Aside from the environmental and health benefits, the use of biodiesel fuel will be cost neutral, which is equally important during these difficult economic times," said Beiser.