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ODU Installs New Biodiesel Fuel Tank

Old Dominion University has taken a step toward powering its campus fleet of vehicles in a more sustainable, environmentally friendly manner by installing a new partial biodiesel fueling tank.

Installation of the tank, which is filled with a 5 percent biodiesel/diesel mixture known as B5, is the first step in a plan to increase the proportion of sustainable energy sources used by the university over the next several years. While no timetable is yet in place, ODU plans eventually to raise the percentage of biodiesel used by the university fleet to 20 percent, or B20.

"Virtually all diesel engine manufacturers will warranty their engines to B20 and even higher," said Richard Le Moal, associate director of facilities management.

Made from soybean oil, the biodiesel fuel is supplied by James River Petroleum, based in Richmond. At 5 percent biodiesel, there is virtually no difference in vehicle performance from a 100 percent diesel fuel, according to Le Moal. At levels of B10 and above, vehicles using the biodiesel mixture may require more frequent filter changes. The addition of biodiesel does raise the price of fuel slightly, with B5 currently retailing at $3.97 per gallon versus $3.92 for pure diesel.

The university fleet, which consists of 18 vehicles in all, consumes roughly 72,000 gallons of fuel annually. With the change to B5, ODU will use approximately 3,600 fewer gallons of diesel fuel each year.

This article was posted on: July 28, 2008

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