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A case study of real-world tailpipe emissions for school buses using a 20% biodiesel blend

Mazzoleni, C., Kuhns, H.D., Moosmuller, H., Witt, J., Nussbaum, N.J., Chang, M.C.O., Parthasarathy, G., Nathagoundenpalayam, S.K.K., Nikolich, G., Watson, J.G.
The Science of the total environment 2007 v.385 no.1-3 pp. 146-159
field experimentation, biodiesel, schools, gas emissions, vehicles, reference standards, diesel fuel, petroleum, particulate emissions, winter, spring, remote sensing, carbon monoxide, nitric oxide, hydrocarbons, lidar, product quality, Idaho
Numerous laboratory studies report carbon monoxide, hydrocarbon, and particulate matter emission reductions with a slight nitrogen oxides emission increase from engines operating with biodiesel and biodiesel blends as compared to using petroleum diesel. We conducted a field study on a fleet of school buses to evaluate the effects of biodiesel use on gaseous and particulate matter fuel-based emission factors under real-world conditions. The field experiment was carried out in two phases during winter 2004. In January (phase I), emissions from approximately 200 school buses operating on petroleum diesel were measured. Immediately after the end of the first phase measurement period, the buses were switched to a 20% biodiesel blend. Emission factors were measured again in March 2004 (phase II) and compared with the January emission factors. To measure gaseous emission factors we used a commercial gaseous remote sensor. Particulate matter emission factors were determined with a combination of the gaseous remote sensor, a Lidar (light detection and ranging), and transmissometer system developed at the Desert Research Institute of Reno, NV, U.S.A. Particulate matter emissions from school buses significantly increased (up to a factor of 1.8) after the switch from petroleum diesel to a 20% biodiesel blend. The fuel used during this campaign was provided by a local distributor and was independently analyzed at the end of the on-road experiment. The analysis found high concentrations of free glycerin and reduced flash points in the B100 parent fuel. Both measures indicate improper separation and processing of the biodiesel product during production. The biodiesel fuels used in the school buses were not in compliance with the U.S.A. ASTM D6751 biodiesel standard that was finalized in December of 2001. The U.S.A. National Biodiesel Board has formed a voluntary National Biodiesel Accreditation Program for producers and marketers of biodiesel to ensure product quality and compliance with the ASTM standard. The results of our study underline the importance of the program since potential emission benefits from biodiesel may be reduced or even reversed without appropriate fuel quality control on real-world fuels.