AGRICULTURE

Biodiesel gets top marks with schools

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Farm Forum

As many people know, biodiesel can be used in anything with a diesel engine, from farm equipment to trucks and boats. But some people may not realize that more and more school districts use biodiesel to fuel their vehicles, including school buses. This helps drive demand for U.S. soybean oil, which is the primary feedstock for U.S. biodiesel.

Olympia Community Unit School District 16 in Stanford, Ill., one of the largest school districts in the state, began using a two percent biodiesel blend in 2002. Olympia Transportation Director Trent Keller recently explained to Beyond the Bean Online why he’s such a big fan of biodiesel.

“We use 90,000 gallons of biodiesel each year in our 35 school buses and 15 other vehicles. We use it in a few tractors that we have as well,” says Marek. “We get better fuel mileage with biodiesel. It also gives our buses much more power with a lot less exhaust. Our fuel and operating costs have also gone down.”

The soy checkoff funds a large portion of biodiesel research, including studies to prove the fuel’s performance and environmental benefits. As a result, the fuel is one of the most tested renewable fuels on the market.