UBC Undergraduate Research

An investigation into biodiesel as fuel for UBC Plant Operations vehicle fleet : final report Alabbas, Anwar; Lu, Michael; Gill, Jasmeet; McEwan, William


The purpose of this report was to investigate the feasibility of fueling the small utility vehicles used by UBC Plant Operations with biodiesel made from waste vegetable oil produced from on campus food outlets. The report discusses the social, economic and environmental benefits and impacts of such a plan, as well as the analysis methodology, with conclusions and further recommendations. Key economic issues were found relating to the current university fuel supply contracts. The current 5% biodiesel blend being supplied from Chevron must be used or else the warrantee will be voided. There are high costs associated with creating a production facility, and the costs are greater than the expected benefits are worth. The environmental benefits from switching to locally refined biodiesel include reducing the overall carbon footprint of plant operations by reducing the amount of fuel being delivered and the amount of waste being driven away from campus, and a small reduction in some harmful tailpipe emissions over conventional diesel vehicles. Socially, making the switch to UBC produced biodiesel can bring benefits by showing that UBC is striving to be at the forefront of green technology, while not making any drastic changes to the way UBC operates. In conclusion, it is recommended that UBC should not pursue the implementation of a waste biodiesel program for the plant operations vehicles fleet, as the high costs and current arrangements with fuel and vehicle suppliers make it impossible to implement such a program economically, despite the possible environmental benefits. Currently, these conditions make it difficult to implement the proposed fuel program, but it is recommended that UBC continue to research biodiesel on a small scale so that it can eventually be reliably produced to the standards that are required for fuel commercial vehicles. 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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