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Clarkson University Sustainable Design Team presenting research at National Design competition

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(May 10, 2006) - A group of Clarkson students are in Washington D.C. today to make a presentation on Biodiesel research to the National Academies of Science and Engineering.

Members of the Clarkson P3 Sustainable Design team will present their research titled "Biodiesel as a Sustainable Alternative to Petroleum Diesel in School Buses," as part of a national design competition sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency. The students will be competing for further grants to expand their research.

"I'm extremely proud of the research our students have done," says Andrea Ferro, assistant professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering at Clarkson and one of the team's advisors. "The study shows promise for rewarding benefits and with our current dependence on diminishing oil resources, businesses are looking for ways to find a renewable, cost effective fuel."

Biodiesel is a sustainable alternative fuel that can be locally produced and can both reduce emissions and produce emissions with less toxic components than petroleum-based fuels. The Clarkson study also determined that biodiesel could have an economic impact on the future development of Potsdam and the surrounding region.

During the study, the Clarkson team examined the use of biodiesel as an alternative replacement fuel for school buses operating in the rural, cold climate of northern New York. As part of the project, biodiesel and diesel emission concentrations were monitored near school buses at Potsdam Elementary School. From the data collected, the team found that for both fuels concentrations of exhaust particulate matter were lower than national standards, and that by switching to biodiesel, North Country schools could reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and their operating costs.

Alan Rossner, assistant professor of Biology and Industrial Hygiene, and Susan Powers, associate dean of Research and Graduate Studies in the Coulter School of Engineering and professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering, also advised the Clarkson team, along with Roshan Jachuck, professor of Chemical Engineering and biodiesel expert.

Clarkson and the other teams that have received P3 grants have been invited to Washington, D.C., to present their findings to a panel of judges from the National Academies of Science and Engineering. Winning teams will receive further funding for design development and implementation.

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