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A Glossary of Alternative

Busing Terms 

 

BY SCOTT LAFEE

BIODIESEL: Made from vegetable oils, such as soybeans, or animal tallow, such as grease. It’s usually blended with petroleum diesel, but it can be used in a pure state with certain engine modifications. Blends range from 2 to 20 percent, which are known by their acronyms: B2, B20, etc.

CLEAN DIESEL: Sometimes called ultra-low-sulfur diesel. The “clean” refers to lower levels of sulfur (90 percent of which is extracted during the refining process) and the extra oxygen added to the combustion air supply, which causes the fuel to burn more completely and produce substantially lower emissions. The extra oxygen, however, destroys conventional catalytic converters, requiring vehicles to use special engines with compatible converters.

ELECTRIC: Vehicle operates entirely upon power stored in onboard batteries. The major challenge has been increasing power storage while simultaneously decreasing the cost and weight of the batteries. Electric vehicles produce zero emissions.

HYBRID: Vehicle employs two or more power sources combined in a single drivetrain. Typically, it’s a conventional fuel engine coupled with an electric motor. The latter moves the vehicle at low speeds and boosts conventional fuel-engine efficiencies. The operation of the conventional engine recharges the batteries powering the electric motor. Plug-in hybrids are recharged by connecting to a stationary power source.

NATURAL GAS: Mixture of hydrocarbons, mainly methane, extracted from gas wells or crude oil. It is stored either as compressed natural gas or liquefied natural gas (also known by its primary constituent, propane). 

 

 

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