ST. LOUIS -- The three on-campus shuttles that provide employee transportation around the Monsanto Company world-headquarters campus are now operating on B20 biodiesel fuel, a blend of 20 percent by volume biodiesel with 80 percent by volume petroleum diesel.

The new, smaller shuttles will result in a three mile-per-gallon efficiency increase and a 20 percent savings in fuel costs. The cleaner burning biodiesel will provide a 20-percent reduction of unburned hydrocarbon emissions, and a 12 percent reduction in both particulate matter and carbon monoxide emissions.

Working with the National Biodiesel Board, Monsanto research services manager Kevin Mclean and soybean project manager Beth Calabotta set the change in motion in July of 2005.

"When we decided to bring the shuttle service in-house," Mclean said. "We thought given our involvement in the oilseed business, it would be great if the shuttles could run on biodiesel. It's excellent to be able to support our soybean farmers by using biodiesel fuel."

Mclean approached Monsanto's leasing company to discuss new shuttles. Initially they were hesitant about the idea because although biodiesel fits neatly within existing petroleum infrastructure, it does take some preparation and commitment to good fuel management practices.

"We recognized the importance of making this switch," Mclean said. "By using B20, we are reducing the environmental impact of our shuttle buses while contributing to domestic energy security and the American economy."

Calabotta recognized the opportunity to involve the NBB, the biodiesel industry's trade association, who brought an understanding of what was required to help get the idea off the ground. Monsanto is a member of NBB.

"I think it carries significance that Monsanto, as a leading agriculture technology company, has committed to using biodiesel," said NBB CEO Joe Jobe. "It shows that Monsanto recognizes the value of biodiesel on many different levels ... starting with the oilseed that farmers plant in the soil. The biodiesel market helps make crops more profitable to the farmers that Monsanto services, and this is a great way to demonstrate that commitment to their customers."

Biodiesel could increase farmer-level soybean prices nearly ten percent by 2015 if over 75 percent of the biodiesel demand in 2015 comes from soybean oil, according to a recent economic study.

"Hopefully this will serve as a catalyst for change," Calabotta said.

Monsanto has two shuttles in service throughout the day from 8-5 p.m., and one back-up shuttle. Providing employee transportation on campus, the two in- route shuttles travel a total of about 178 miles per day, and average over 3,300 riders per month. In addition to the three new biodiesel shuttles, the Creve Coeur site also has two biodiesel freight trucks.

Monsanto Company is a leading global provider of technology-based solutions and agricultural products that improve farm productivity.

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SOURCE: Monsanto Company via PR Newswire.