The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is joining with state education officials in hopes of schooling the rest of the country on the benefits of soydiesel fuel. D-N-R Air Quality specialist Brian Button says a federal grant will pay for four-thousand gallons of pure soy oil for use in the program. He says that’ll be blended down to a 10 or 20 percent mix with regular diesel fuel. He says that’ll give them about 34-thousand gallons of biodiesel — or enough to run and average size fleet of schoolbuses for an entire year. Button says this will let more schools try the fuel. He says there are a couple of districts using the mix already — but it’s not as common as the two and five percent soydiesel mixes. Button says this will showcase the fuel for other districts in the state, as well as nationwide. Button says biodiesel burns a lot cleaner than straight diesel. He says the blends will cut the harmful soot output by about 15-percent and also cut the hydrocarbons by 10-percent as well as cut the sulfur and carbon monoxide as well. The federal grant is for 250-thousand dollars and Button says part of it that money will be used to retrofit older buses with emission control devices. He says they buses they’ll focus on are the 1990 to 1994 model years and there are roughly 14-hundred in that category our of the five-thousand total buses in the state. Button says they’ll put what’re called diesel oxidation catalysts on the busses to help cut emissions. He says the devices will cut the black smoky soot from the buses by at least 20-percent and some models by 35-percent. He says it’ll also cut the hydrocarbons by 50 percent and a 40-percent cut in carbon monoxide. Button says one other part of the program will provide money for districts to completely replace the engines in some buses. The grant was provided to the Bus Emission Education Project or “BEEP” — which is a partnership of the School Administrators of Iowa, the Iowa Association of School Boards, the D-N-R, the Department of Education and the Iowa Pupil Transportation Association.
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