In the Fall 2019 semester, the ESW Biofuels team at Cornell created a special taskforce, the Biodiesel Engine Project (BEP). The goal of the project is to install a Vector System (VS) onto a diesel tractor so it can also run on biodiesel, and then analyze its practicality. If the project proves to be practical, then Cornell may allow the team to implement the vector system onto other tractors, and Cornell grounds vehicles. One more step towards meeting Cornell's 2035 climate goals. In collaboration with Optimus Technologies, the team successfully installed the vector system, which lets the tractor run on both traditional diesel and of pure biodiesel (B100).
The project is only practical if its net emissions are less than the net emissions from using diesel, which means that the entire life-cycles of both biodiesel and diesel must be analyzed and compared. The team uses GREET, a life cycle analysis software, to estimate emissions from pre-combustion processes such as resource extraction and transportation to Cornell. To measure emissions from the tractor itself, the team has installed a PEMS (portable emissions monitoring system) unit. BEP will combine the GREET and PEMS data to perform comparative life cycle analyses on the biodiesel and diesel pathways, which was then used to analyze the project's practicality before presenting a memo to CTech in March 2021.
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