Chicago Public Schools have launched a pilot program to replace the traditional diesel fuel used to power school buses with O2Diesel, a blend of ethanol-diesel. The program is initially being tested in 27 school buses owned by Falcon Transportation serving 18 Chicago Public Schools.
The pilot is part of the City Home Program, a national air quality initiative that lets municipal transit systems and school bus operators make the switch to O2Diesel at no additional cost. The costs of conversion are shared by corporate sponsors. CityHome was launched in 2005 with the StarTran System in Lincoln, Neb. with the conversion of 67 diesel-powered transit buses to O2Diesel. In September, the city of Spearfish, South Dakota became the first school district to convert its entire fleet to O2Diesel.
The CityHome school bus initiative is intended to expand quickly in the Midwest with several pilot programs through the joint efforts of O2 Diesel and the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council.
“The environmental benefits of ethanol-diesel fuel over traditional diesel fuel are significant,” said Sadhu Johnston, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Environment. “Ethanol captures and delivers renewable energy, reduces greenhouse gas and reduces harmful school bus emissions.”
A 2005 study on a fleet of 75 transit buses in Johnson County, Kansas predicted emissions reductions of six tons per year by switching to O2Diesel.