Historic Utah town burns B20

By | August 01, 2006
Thirty-two miles east of Salt Lake City, the historic town of Park City, Utah, is merging the old with the new. The ski resort community of roughly 7,000 residents has a rich history of silver mining and remarkable resilience after several fires in the 19th Century almost caused its demise. Now, Park City joins other forward-thinking municipalities by burning B20 in all of its compression ignition vehicles, driven by the contemporary push to lessen dependence on petroleum-based fossil fuels. Nearing press time, the switch was scheduled to officially occur June 30, according to Eric Nesset, manager of the town's vehicle fleet.

Park City began B20 trial runs in some fleet vehicles last summer. The town's pilot demonstration program utilized the community's Main Street trolley for initial evaluations of the blend. Maintenance costs, vehicle reliability and consumption rates-compared to regular No. 2 diesel-were assessed. The municipality found no evidence of increased maintenance intervals, interruptions in vehicle performance or increased fuel consumption in the B20-burning trolley trials. When the city first started this pilot demonstration last June, however, the trolley was only two months old, Nesset said. "We didn't experience any filter pluggings, but we anticipate the older vehicles using B20 will require more frequent [fuel] filter changing for the first couple of months," he said, explaining that the solvent properties of biodiesel may naturally strip buildup in vehicles' fuel systems deposited by petroleum diesel.

With positive pilot demonstration results in hand-and the desire to become a more sustainable and environmentally friendly community-the city decided to use B20 in all of its vehicles. Nesset told Biodiesel Magazine that the city's diesel-powered fleet consists of 32 transit buses, and approximately 30 more pieces of on- and off-road equipment such as snow plows, front-end loaders and backhoes. Approximately 215,000 gallons of fuel per year is consumed by the city's diesel fleet, most of which is used by the transit buses.

Jardine Petroleum is distributing the B20 blend to Park City, Nesset said.
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