Today’s the deadline for schools to apply for a program that offers bio-diesel fuel for their schoolbuses. Only about two dozen Iowa school districts currently use biodiesel fuel in their buses. Bev Tierney is the Biodiesel Marketing Coordinator for West Central Coop in Ralston, which has teamed with the Environmental Protection Agency and the School Administrators of Iowa to create the Bus Emissions Education Program, or BEEP. Schools will be chosen by the School Administrators of Iowa for the program, the cost of the diesel fuel for blending would be paid by the school, but the biodiesel portion will be paid for by West Central and the E-P-A grant. Tierney says that 250-thousand-dollar federal EPA grant is important for schools facing tight budgets. Tierney says the fuel will not only make the air cleaner throughout communities, it’ll be especially important for the health of young passengers. She points out that children are especially vulnerable to exhaust and often spend a great part of their day on or near the school buses. Tierney says biodiesel is a healthier option, though the few districts now using a soy blend have it mixed at a ratio of five percent or less with the diesel fuel.These school busses will be using a B-10 or a B-20 formula, she explains, a 10-percent or a 20-percent blend of biodiesel in the busses and that will cut the soot and the particulate matter in diesel by 15-percent and carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons by over 10-percent. Applications for the program were sent out in early September. The deadline, which was today, may be extended by the School Administrators of Iowa. Around 20 applications have been received. Winning schools will be announced in November.
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