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In addition to the move from larger vehicles for grounds care activities to smaller, more versatile utility vehicles on the Arizona State University campus, Newell points to the adoption of alternative fuels as an essential — and successful — shift for the department.
"The B99 program has been very successful," she says, referring to the use of bio-diesel fuel that is 99.9 percent biodiesel and 0.1 percent diesel. Biodiesel is a clean burning, premium diesel fuel produced from oil bearing plants and recycled oils and greases. Using biodiesel in diesel engines can help reduce the overall vehicle emissions by about 50 percent.
"I had done some research, and a number of us had done research and knew it was successful," she says. "But there were some doubters. They've been converted and realize now that it's not a problem. It has done very well. (We've been using the bio-diesel fuel) for a little over a year. We did some experiments about two years prior, but now we've got this other equipment that we've been using it in for a little over a year."
Eight of the department's 10 utility vehicles run on B99, which comes from used fryer oil that is collected on campus, Newell says. A local company removes the glycerine and turns it into bio-diesel fuel that ends up at a fueling station on campus. The department's two remaining utility vehicles use regular gasoline.
The ability to use B99 in the department's newest utility vehicles was a central factor in Newell's purchasing decision.
"As we go forward, that's going to be a very key consideration," she says, adding it is important enough that the department is proceeding without the manufacturer's support. "The manufacturers are not always so supportive of the B99, so we've actually chosen to use it, even though it voids our warranty, because we believe that strongly in it."
Alternative Fuels Essential Change for Arizona State Grounds Department