June 06, 2012
The National Automotive Technician Education Foundation officially awarded the Automotive Service Excellence accreditation to the National Biodiesel Board's Biodiesel for Diesel Technicians curriculum. NATEF is the body responsible for accrediting schools and curriculum nationwide. The Biodiesel for Diesel Technicians curriculum is intended to provide technically sound information to mechanics and overcome misconceptions."NBB had the foresight to recognize that educating diesel technicians early is critical to its mission of increasing public acceptance of biodiesel, a relatively new fuel," says Rachel Burton, a diesel technician who leads the NBB program. "Knowledge is power." The NBB program has had a partnership with Universal Technical Institute, a provider of entry-level technicians, since 2009. Burton has led more than 300 instructors through the biodiesel curriculum at UTI's 10 campuses nationwide.Now, schools like UTI, Lincoln College of Technology, and Ivy Tech can officially use this biodiesel program as core curriculum for diesel technicians. They can offer a biodiesel class that counts for credits towards a degree. It will also count for Continuing Education Units. The Iowa Biodiesel Board was an early partner with NBB, implementing the NBB Biodiesel for Diesel Technicians curriculum with more than 1,000 students at community colleges in Iowa since 2009. Before taking a course in biodiesel led by instructors trained under the program, just 33% of students felt "fairly knowledgeable" or "very knowledgeable" about biodiesel. After the course, 74% classed themselves in those categories."People listen to their automotive technicians, and if there is an information gap there, techs are not likely to recommend biodiesel to their customers," says Randy Olson, executive director of the Iowa Biodiesel Board. "We've already seen this program having an impact in Iowa. It really is mission-critical to the future of biodiesel's success. We hope other states will be able to replicate what we have done in Iowa."Biodiesel reduces carbon emissions alone by 80%, making it the nation's only commercially available EPA certified "advanced biofuel" under the federal Renewable Fuels Program.