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EVS 300


Environmental Science and Policy


The United States is responsible for a disproportionate amount of the world’s petroleum consumption. Our contribution to the air-borne health and environmental risks incurred by the combustion of petroleum products is therefore unacceptably high. Smith College officially recognized the need reduce its contribution to the global issue of climate change and deteriorating environmental and human health when it signed the Clean Air- Cool Planet document, pledging to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote “awareness among its students, faculty and staff of the importance of responsible environmental stewardship”. Using biodiesel is one way in which Smith College could significantly reduce its yearly volume of diesel emissions, both greenhouse gas and other. This soybean-based fuel is EPA certified and could be used in all 20 diesel engine vehicles used to maintain the Smith College campus. Through conducting interviews and making calculations this project compares the change in emissions volume generated by Smith Grounds Crew vehicles at three biodiesel concentrations, and assesses the cost-feasibility of such a move. The major findings were that all EPA regulated and unregulated emissions showed a reduction when compared to diesel fuel except for nitrogen oxides. Additionally, although the upfront cost of biodiesel is greater than that of petroleum diesel, the reduction in long term maintenance costs due to the high lubricity of biodiesel, as well as the opportunity to support campus sustainability could offset this price significantly enough to make it a feasible and attractive option for Smith College.


© 2004; Miriam Mick