Vehicles Switching to ‘Green’ Fuel

Vehicles Switching to ‘Green’ Fuel
Miguel Cabrera-Sanchez cuts grass growing in the field near AGRIscapes.

Diesel engines at Cal Poly Pomona are making a healthy switch to biodiesel. Facilities Planning & Management recently installed a 500-gallon biodiesel tank that will supply fuel for all landscape equipment, including tractors and mowers, and the diesel engine street sweeper. In addition, one of the Bronco Express shuttles will run on biodiesel.

The tank was installed in April, and after some final tests and inspections, it began operating in May.

“Although the cost of using biodiesel is slightly higher than regular diesel, it's important to invest in initiatives that have a positive impact on the environment,” says Walter Marquez, director of Administrative & Energy Services.

Unlike diesel, which made from petroleum, biodiesel is a clean burning alternative that's produced from renewable sources, such as vegetable oil or soybeans. Biodegradable and nontoxic, it also produces significantly fewer air pollution emissions. The university's vehicles will start with B20, a blend of 80 percent diesel and 20 percent biodiesel. Ultimately, the goal is to have diesel engines in every department switch to 100 percent biodiesel.

“The B20 blend is a good starting point for the campus. We want to analyze the impact B20 has on our equipment and more importantly the positive impact on the environment,” Marquez says. “In order to achieve our goal and protect the campus equipment, we are taking a phased approach. We want to be certain campus equipment is not damage during this transition.”

The switch to biodiesel is part of the Presidents Climate Commitment, which President Ortiz signed in 2007. For more information, visit