Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro) will donate the last of its dirtiest emissions transit buses to Biodiesel University, a nonprofit affiliated with the University of Maryland, which is dedicated to providing hands-on renewable energy experiences and inspiring students to pursue careers in science and technology.
The four buses will be recycled into mobile teaching laboratories and will travel to schools, colleges and public events in the Washington, D.C. region and beyond.
“The mobile labs we are building will be part classroom, part hands-on science center, and part theme park ride, packaged in a field trip that comes to you,” said Dan Goodman, Biodiesel University founder and executive director.
Each lab will include a hands-on feedstock section, where visitors learn about dozens of renewable sources for biodiesel. An on-board, state-of-the-art biodiesel processing unit will manufacture up to 250 gallons per day. This fuel will power the mobile lab as well as other vehicles and equipment at the sites it visits.
Students from regional colleges and universities, including the University of Maryland and the Maryland Institute College of Art, have been designing the mobile labs and their contents since late 2006 as part of a multi-institutional collaboration.
The first lab is projected to be operational by the end of 2008.