Last week, elementary students from Atlanta's Mary Lin Elementary School put the finishing touches on a project that college students from Georgia Tech have been working on to make Atlanta school buses greener.

The Green Eco Bus project converted an existing school bus - donated by Atlanta Public Schools (APS) - into a hydraulic hybrid that uses biodiesel made from used vegetable and cooking oil as a renewable energy source.  The conversion will lower the bus' overall green house gas emissions and hopefully reduce transportation costs for the school.

Michael Leamy, Georgia Tech assistant professor of mechanical engineering, and his students designed and developed the hydraulic hybrid system for the 16-passenger school bus.  Thie project included a cost-benefit analysis of the large-scale conversion of school buses to hydraulic hybrid powertrains.  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.”

Students at Mary Lin Elementary School made the Green Eco Bus true to its name by painting the bus green last week.  The students are also organizing a drive to collect used cooking oil for processing into biodiesel.  

The Green Eco Bus project was financed by a $50,000 Ford College Community Challenge Grant.

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