JUNE 2011
                                        

Ford partners on nation’s first hybrid school bus conversion

The Ford Motor Company Fund and the Georgia Institute of Technology are partnering on the nation’s first conversion of a traditional school bus to a hydraulic hybrid vehicle that runs on recycled biofuel. Atlanta Public Schools (APS) donated the bus for the project.

Conducted by Georgia Tech, the project is financed by a $50,000 Ford College Community Challenge Grant, one of five given annually for a student-led project that matches university resources with community need related to sustainability.

This project focuses on converting existing school buses into hydraulic hybrids, which could lower greenhouse emissions and reduce transportation costs for schools.

Michael Leamy, Georgia Tech assistant professor of mechanical engineering and his students, have designed the hydraulic hybrid system for the 16-passenger school bus.

Students at Mary Lin Elementary School are painting “the Green Eco School Bus” green and organizing a drive to collect used cooking oil for processing into biodiesel, a renewable energy source.

This project includes a cost-benefit analysis of a large-scale conversion of a school bus fleet to hydraulic hybrid powertrains designed to recover lost braking energy. Leamy said, “We expect our research will lead to cleaner, more efficient school buses that will help school districts like APS significantly reduce fuel costs and greenhouse gas emissions.”

Atlanta Public School officials are using the project to educate the next generation about green energy.