From passenger vehicles to bulldozers, from street sweepers to school buses, from snow plows to tractor trailers, and even in boats and home heating systems, the use of biodiesel is helping thousands of fleets and motorists reduce carbon emissions and
clear the air. Biodiesel is here and now, powering vehicles and equipment across the country in all kinds of weather and conditions. Here are just a few examples.
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When Washington D.C. issued a 2050 goal of 80% greenhouse gas reduction, fleet managers at the D.C. Department of Public Works knew they would need to address one of the biggest challenges towards sustainability - diesel guzzling garbage trucks.
“DPW’s diesel refuse trucks cause the highest amount of emissions per vehicle in the entire District fleet,” explains DPW Director Chris Geldart. “We needed a solution that would maximize emissions reductions while minimizing any effect on our budget and operations.
The DPW found that solution in biodiesel, 100% pure biodiesel to be exact. The department has enabled a large portion of its fleet to run on B100 biodiesel, a switch that was enabled by installing a fuel system manufactured by Optimus Technologies, a Pittsburgh-based NBB member.
Using B100 reduces up to 86% of the trucks’ greenhouse gas emissions, which means the Department has exceeded their 2050 goals today. Officials calculated that using biodiesel has prevented more than 1,600 tons of carbon from entering the atmosphere in 2019 alone. They also note that these environmental benefits are being achieved with no impact to vehicle performance, operation, or maintenance.
“At the Department of Public Works, we are committed to operating our fleet in a sustainable manner without compromising performance, says DPW’s Associate Administrator Ryan Frasier. “The transition to using B100 has been seamless, even with the cold weather usage of biodiesel over the past two winters.”
The success of the alternative fuel has led the DPW to fully commit to sustainable biodiesel. The Department recently mandated that all future heavy-duty trucks will be B100 capable, and intends to have close to 100 trucks upgraded with the Optimus fuel system within the next year.
In 2004, Harvard became the first Ivy League school to power its diesel vehicles with cleaner burning biodiesel. Since then, Harvard’s biodiesel program has not only grown, but its leadership has paved the way for others to follow its lead.
Harvard uses approximately 2,000 gallons of biodiesel per week, for a total of more than 100,000 gallons a year. Their diesel fleet includes about 75 service vehicles – such as shuttle buses, solid waste and recycling trucks, mail delivery vehicles and more – and about 25 pieces of off-road equipment.
David E. Harris Jr., Harvard’s Director Transit and Fleet Management, who serves as a volunteer Biodiesel Ambassador, has educated fleets throughout New England on the benefits of biodiesel and how it can help achieve sustainability and greenhouse gas emission reduction goals.
“The use of biodiesel here has resulted in a cost savings. Because biodiesel has more lubricity, we’ve had a cutdown in the number of times we are cleaning and replacing injectors and fuel injection pumps. It’s great to have American fuel support American jobs and the American economy,” said Michael Bernich, Fleet Manager, Lambert-St. Louis International Airport.
With its advantages, instantly obvious to even the most recent acquaintance, biodiesel provides significant carbon reduction, improved operational characteristics, domestic jobs, and with its source of renewable agricultural products, long term sustainability unmatched by the fuel it naturally replaces. This publication contains stories shining the light on individuals and organizations that have been instrumental in creating the biodiesel industry.