UBC Undergraduate Research

An investigation into sustainable transport options de Beaupre, Nick; Londry, Michaella; While, Miles


The University of British Columbia (UBC) prides itself in being a national leader of sustainable development and studies. The UBC Farm is a center for sustainable learning and teachings. Therefore, it is critical that thorough investigations into sustainable options are completed before the farm makes major purchases. The UBC Farm has asked teams of the APSC 261 course to look into a triple bottom line assessment of sustainable transport options. UBC Farm needs to replace its aging gasoline operated farm and delivery vehicle. The UBC Farm is looking for a new vehicle to use to transport produce to the market, relocate machinery, and transport employees around Vancouver. Requirements given include: must reliably run for at least 3 years, is highly fuel efficient, able to be maintained by the university, by plant-ops garage staff specifically, and is either a small truck or a 10 passenger van. Due to personnel and time constraints three options were investigated: using a car co-op’s services, purchasing a diesel engine vehicle, and purchasing a diesel vehicle and using bio-diesel. The investigation has found that purchasing a diesel vehicle and fueling it with bio-diesel is the recommended choice of action. While Modo has offered discounts on their services, the inconvenience of traveling off campus to find and retrieve a vehicle out ways the potential cost savings and the ability to spread the knowledge of car sharing. Diesel engines are more efficient than conventional gasoline engines, and used vehicles are relatively inexpensive; emissions are a concern with older models. Bio-diesel is available on campus, at the same price as conventional diesel, and has less emission problems as conventional diesel. Furthermore, the bio-diesel is partially renewable and a diesel engine truck will not need to be converted if the model year is after 1994. Investigating all the options, bio-diesel is ultimately the best choice economically, environmentally, and socially. Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS provides students with the opportunity to share the findings of their studies, as well as their opinions, conclusions and recommendations with the UBC community. The reader should bear in mind that this is a student project/report and is not an official document of UBC. Furthermore readers should bear in mind that these reports may not reflect the current status of activities at UBC. We urge you to contact the research persons mentioned in a report or the SEEDS Coordinator about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report.”

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