Ford and Georgia Tech partner on 'Green Eco School Bus” - nation's first hydraulic hybrid school bus conversion
Atlanta, May 13, 2011 – 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 an urgent 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 and developed the hydraulic hybrid system for the 16-passenger school bus, and its installation is nearly complete.
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.
“Together with Georgia Tech and Atlanta Public Schools, we are taking innovation from the classroom to the community,” said Jim Vella, president, Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services. “This is a noteworthy example of the types of programs we are bringing to Atlanta as part of our new Operation Goodwill partnership with local Ford and Lincoln dealers with the goal of expanding our engagement with this community.”
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. ”Our students are eager to learn about new ways to care for the environment,” said Brian Mitchell, principal, Mary Lin Elementary. “The Green Eco School Bus turns a theoretical concept into a fun and exciting reality that stimulates their learning.”
# # #
Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services works with community partners to advance driving safety, education and American heritage and community life. The Ford Motor Company Fund has operated for more than 60 years with ongoing funding from Ford Motor Company. The acclaimed Ford Driving Skills for Life program teaches new drivers through a variety of hands-on and interactive methods. Innovation in education is encouraged through national programs that enhance high school learning and provide college scholarships and university grants. Through the Ford Volunteer Corps, more than 25,000 Ford employees and retirees each year work on projects that better their communities in dozens of countries. For more information, visit www.community.ford.com
The Georgia Institute of Technology is one of the world's premier research universities. Ranked seventh among U.S. News & World Report's top public universities and the eighth best engineering and information technology university in the world by Shanghai Jiao Tong University's Academic Ranking of World Universities, Georgia Tech has more than 20,000 students enrolled in its Colleges of Architecture, Computing, Engineering, Liberal Arts, Management and Sciences. Tech is among the nation's top producers of women and minority engineers. The Institute offers research opportunities to both undergraduate and graduate students and is home to more than 100 interdisciplinary units plus the Georgia Tech Research Institute. For more information, visit www.gatech.edu.