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Low Carbon Fuel Standards (LCFS) compliant Renewable Diesel (R99) is a leader in the sustainable fuel market
Renewable diesel (RD) is a growing market – for a good reason. Renewable diesel can be produced from a variety of organic waste oil and virgin oil streams using a hydrogenation process. The result is a fuel with the chemical equivalency of petroleum diesel, providing equal, or better, vehicle performance and fuel efficiency – but with the benefit of significantly reduced emissions. Many forward-thinking public agencies and companies are exploring RD to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and meet regulatory and business-based climate goals.
As of 2013 imported RD made up 60 percent of the US renewable diesel market. Many imported suppliers use a waste oil feedstock containing palm oil – a source with a questionable record of sustainability. Not surprisingly, in Oregon, renewable diesel containing palm oil has been given the same carbon intensity rating as petroleum diesel. Carson is actively developing domestically produced supplies of renewable diesel to meet Oregon and Southern Washington’s growing demand for this cleaner fuel source. Currently, Carson’s RD is derived from a domestic supplier, East Kansas Agri Energy (EKAE). It’s a byproduct from their ethanol production utilizing corn oil – a waste stream from the process. This RD meets the requirements of Oregon’s Low Carbon Fuel Standards (LCFS) and has been issued a temporary pathway by Oregon’s DEQ with a Carbon Intensity score of 49.9.
Oregon takes steps toward 2020 goals with Renewable Diesel
According to the Oregon Department of Energy, transportation accounts for about one-third of Oregon’s energy use. Municipal fleets and heavy-duty vehicle (HDV) contractors are already required to use a fuel with a mix of 5 to 20 percent biodiesel under Oregon’s Clean Fuels Program which went into effect in 2016. Portland’s Metro trash haulers were the first to adopt the B20 standard, and they are projected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 1,200 metric tons per year (the equivalent to taking 240 cars off the road).
Through a pilot project with Clean Cities Initiative, local jurisdictions did a trial of renewable diesel in 2015 and 2016. Leading the charge were four fleets, Eugene Water & Electric Board (EWEB), City of Portland, Lane County, and Deschutes County. The City of Corvallis, the City of Eugene and Lane Transit District (LTD) soon followed.
In Eugene, EWEB fleet manager, Gary Lentsch, was one of the original advocates of renewable diesel. He is a prominent figure nationally for promoting alternative, sustainable fuel choices, and his leadership has earned the EWEB several awards for environmental conservation. The EWEB is projecting to exceed their 2030 fossil fuel reduction target of 40 percent by as early as next year. A RD pilot program in 2016 put them on an even more accelerated pace. “But using a mixture of readily available alternative fuels, such as E10, E15, E85, and R99 and we hit 54.9% reduction,” said Lentsch.
Some state and government agencies like EWEB, ODOT, and multiple school districts in Oregon and SW Washington are using renewable diesel in their fleets when they can get it. “Big fleets use a mix of R99 and biodiesel contingent on price, location, and availability,” explained Brian Trice with the Clean Cities Initiative. “But the pilot fleets that had a chance to run for a chunk of time on just renewable diesel had a huge success. Biodiesel is a great step in the right direction but is still gets code flags. With RD, regens on the bigger trucks were less. Combined with the number of reduced emissions, the wins are positive all around. It’s like this magical dream drop-in fuel. You don’t have to do anything to see results.”
As of March 2018, Trice estimated RD usage was helping to remove 41 million pounds of carbon annually from Oregon and Washington – the equivalent of keeping 4360 passenger cars off the road. Compared with other states for all fuel types, Oregon ranks third with 125 alternative fuel stations per million vehicles registered for roadway use, making projections positive for a consistent RD supply soon.
Meeting sustainability goals with a cleaner, greener fuel
In 2010, the Statewide Transportation Strategy (STS) called for a plan to reduce Oregon transportation sector GHG emissions by 75 percent by 2050. Vehicle, engine, and fuel technology were identified as the major contributors to reaching the strategies’ goals.
In 2012, Governor Kitzhaber released his 10-Year Energy Action Plan. The Governor’s plan breaks energy into three major categories, with transportation being one class. In the plan, the Governor acknowledges that transportation is the single most significant contributor to Oregon’s carbon dioxide emissions and a substantial source of air toxics. To accelerate the market transition to a more efficient, cleaner transportation system the plan proposes a 20 percent conversion of large fleets to alternative fuel vehicles over the next ten years
Renewable diesel is a fuel derived from biomass that meets registration requirements established by the Environmental Protection Agency under the Clean Air Act. It attains the strictest quality standards set by engine manufacturers and ASTM D975. Renewable diesel significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions (PM, NOx, CO, HC) with no upfront infrastructure development or engine modification. In fact, it burns cleaner and cooler than petroleum diesel, reducing engine maintenance and downtime.
Private industry leaders like UPS, Google, and others with significant hauler fleets have also successfully adopted RD. Vehicle manufacturer, Cummins has produced extensive trials on RD as it pertains to vehicle performance and engine adaptability, resulting in a positive report in 2017, and approval of RD with their B6.7 and L9 engines. Additional equipment manufacturers Mack Trucks, Volvo Trucks North America and Volkswagen approved the use of RD for all of their engines. The companies credited the fuel’s reduction in GHG and particulate emissions as well as decreased maintenance costs for their support of renewable diesel. For Volkswagen, the RD evaluation program was part of a global strategy to position the company as one of the world’s most environmentally friendly automakers by the end of this year.
Converting your fleet to Renewable Diesel with Carson
“Renewable diesel is one of the most exciting fuels I’ve seen come out that costs the user nothing to attain,” said Trice. “We’ve had so much success with RD in government fleets which have to work under so many restrictions and meet so many mandates, that private fleets can take advantage those learnings and adopt the fuel without taking any of the risks.”
HDV companies ready to get a jump on regulations and improve upon their own sustainability goals can easily make a switch to renewable diesel. Used as a drop-in fuel for all HDV diesel engines, fleets experience superior performance and fuel economy in addition to reducing emissions.
Contact Carson today to learn more about how you can get clean burning, high-performance renewable diesel delivered to your tank or fleet. 541.688.6300 ext. 3000
- RD is suitable for cold weather conditions, outperforming traditional biodiesel
- RD can be used alone in combination with fossil diesel
- RD is fully compatible with existing diesel engines having the same chemical composition as fossil fuels and can be used as a drop-in replacement in existing, in-use HDVs
- High cetane number (75-90) means less noise and smoother starts
- RD can be stored at length without deterioration
- RD does not require more oil changes like traditional biodiesel
- RD give customers an option for reducing their emissions footprint without additional capital investment: meets and exceeds ASTM D975 and CARB diesel specifications
- RD is gentler on engines and diesel particulate systems reducing fleet costs in repairs and replacements
- RD has nearly equivalent energy content and lubricity to petroleum diesel
- RD is domestically produced and represents a clean, stable, local fuel market
- RD meets and exceeds rising municipal sustainability requirements, reshaping pre-conceived notions about the impact of transportation on the environment
- RD provides a safer, healthier work environment supporting a sustainable and positive organizational culture
- RD profoundly improves greenhouse gas emissions up to 90 percent
- LCA/Carbon intensity approximately 60 percent less than petroleum diesel
- RD is produced from a broad range of renewable raw materials, including residues and vegetable oils absorbing waste and repurposing it into clean energy
- RD is 100 percent renewable and sustainable, emitting fewer than 10 pounds of greenhouse gases per gallon vs. 20 pounds per gallon of regular diesel
- RD is sulfur, oxygen, and scent-free
- RD reduces “engine-out” emissions of sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, and carcinogenic waste