UBC Undergraduate Research

An investigation into sustainable transport options for the University of British Columbia farm Huang, Gary; Mui, Leslie; Law, David; Park, Jae Hyun


The truck on the UBC farm is nearing the end of its life. It has reached the point where continued maintenance is more costly than the purchase of a replacement. A replacement vehicle that is either a ten passenger van or a small pickup truck is required. Three options were considered to meet this requirement: joining a car co-op and sharing a vehicle over a longer period of time, purchasing a used vehicle that meets the requirements and purchasing a used diesel vehicle that is converted to run on fuel consisting of 20% biodiesel or more. Economically and environmentally, joining a car co-op is worse than buying a used vehicle and there is little if any social benefit. The overall costs were found to be greater than using an used vehicle and the availability of vehicles was poor. Buying a used gasoline vehicle is much cheaper initially than a diesel vehicle, but does not allow for any future conversion to a more environmentally fuel source. Buying a used diesel vehicle and using it without modification allows for the use of B5 biodiesel from plant ops. Conversion to biodiesel allows for the use of higher blends but the benefit of any blend above 20% is overshadowed by the cost and lack of biodiesel sources around campus. A blend of 20% is only provided by UBC’s CHBE Sustainability Club, and is a newly emerging source of biodiesel; however, the biodiesel has not yet reached the market. The recommendation therefore, is to purchase a used diesel vehicle and to use it without modification. If at a future point in time higher blends of biodiesel become economically viable and readily available, the option to modify the vehicle is still open. 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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