UBC Undergraduate Research

Triple bottom line assessment of transport options for the UBC farm Abraham, Aaron George; Friday, Evan; Chang, Jay; Aggarwal, Rushil


This report investigates and analyzes viable vehicle options to be used at the UBC Farm using Triple bottom line assessment. These options include powering the vehicle with the traditional fossil fuels, natural gas, biodiesel, or use a hybrid or battery powered electric vehicle. After collaborative research on these methods, this report recommends the use of Biodiesel blended with petroleum diesel with a ratio of 1:4 as the fuel source, which is the most economical, social and sustainable choice with optimal performance. In order to make a decision, a few assumptions were made which were the main contributing factors in the final decision of the report. The assumptions were that the truck will be used on a rough terrain which suggests that a four wheel drive system is high recommended, and that the vehicle must have a descent amount of power so it can tow trailers and such. Another assumption made was that the financing for this vehicle is limited. These assumptions along with few specified requirements for the vehicle were the deciding factors in the conclusion. The problem states that the truck must at least be operational for next three years thus the economical decision was made based on the average cost of the different options for the vehicle over the span of three years. This eliminates the electric and natural gas vehicles due to their high initial over head cost in comparison to a regular fuel vehicle. Diesel and gas vehicles lack the social and environmental aspect of the assessment thus leaving biodiesel as the top choice. After some research it was found that using 100% biodiesel can have a small initial over head charge as well and also few issues with maintenance. In order to overcome these issues, it was decided to use a 20% blend of biodiesel and petroleum diesel (also called B20) since it eliminates any over head charge for modifying most of the vehicles manufactured after 1993 and it also eliminates few issues B100 (100% biodiesel) might have. The B20 blend provides a cleaner and more sustainable fuel source while keeping the performance of the vehicle intact. Using biodiesel also provides the farm with an opportunity to work with the UBC’s CHBE Sustainability Club. In conclusion, biodiesel is the most optimal choice when considering all three aspects of a triple bottom line assessment: environmental, economical and social. 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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