MNTRC Newsletter Vol. 21, Issue 2: Fall 2014

Biodiesel tests show possible use in transit buses


Ashok Kumar, PhD, Chair, Department of Civil Engineering

Gas chromatograph in laboratory

Gas chromatograph (GC)

UNIVERSITY OF TOLEDO NEWS – Biodiesel is an alternative renewable fuel with growing use in transportation.In fact, the Toledo Area Regional Transportation Agency (TARTA) has moved its entire bus fleet to biodiesel. Because of this growing interest, the University of Toledo (UT) has been involved in research on biodiesel emissions for the last nine years. Currently, UT is working on the “Combustion Chemistry of Biodiesel for the Use in Urban Transport Buses” and has been making several presentations to share its incremental discoveries.

Testing continues to add value

So far, the research team has completed several phases of its testing:

  • Characterization of emissions (CO and CO2 so far) from different biodiesel types produced from soybean oil, animal fat, and waste cooking oil
  • Characterization of physical properties of different biodiesel types produced from soybean oil, animal fat, and waste cooking oil
  • Effects of combustion temperature and pressure, blends, and type of feed stocks on emission compositions
  • Image analysis of particulate matter (PM) collected from laboratory experiments and TARTA buses running on ultra-low-sulfur diesel (ULSD) fuel blended with 20% soybean oil, by volume
  • Elemental analyses of PM collected from TARTA buses
  • Analyses of elemental carbon and organic carbon in the PM emissions

Outreach shares the results

As part of their outreach activities, the research team gave several professional presentations:

Flash point test

Collecting samples at TARTA

Conference Papers:

  • H. Omidvarborna, A. Kumar, D.S. Kim, “Analysis of Particulate Matter (PM) from the Exhaust of Biodiesel Transit Buses under Idling Conditions” (Paper 31870),  presented as a student poster at A&WMA Conference, Long Beach CA, June 2014
  • H. Omidvarborna, A. Kumar, D.S. Kim, “Experimental Evaluation of a Biodiesel Combustion Model using a Laboratory Reactor” (Paper 31867), presented as a technical poster at A&WMA Conference, Long Beach CA, June 2014
  • S.K. Kuppili, D.S. Kim, A. Kumar, “Biodiesel Properties Depending on Blends and Feedstocks: Cloud point, kinematic viscosity and flash point” (Paper 33261), presented as a technical poster at A&WMA Conference, Long Beach CA, June 2014

Presentations:

  • Kumar, D.S.  Kim, and H. Omidvarborna, “Characterization of Exhaust Particulate Matter from Transit Buses in Toledo, Ohio,” Environmental Seminar, Department of Civil Engineering, Aligarh Muslim University, March 13, 2014.
  • D.S. Kim, Biodiesel Research, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand, 2014.

US DOT funds research

The research is funded by a grant from the US Department of Transportation, Research and Innovative Technology Administration through Mineta National Transit Research Consortium (MNTRC). Project director is Ashok Kumar, PhD, Department of Civil Engineering, with Dong-Shik Kim, PhD, Department of Chemical & Environmental Engineering. Mr. Hamid Omidvarborna and Mr. Sudheer Kumar Kuppili are participating in the project for their PhD work.