Eastern United States favors biodiesel fleet use

By | July 01, 2005
Once again, Biodiesel Magazine offers its readers the latest news on some of the many diesel vehicle fleets making the change to biodiesel blends. Here's a sampling of what's happening in the eastern half of the United States:

In Macomb County, Mich., the county road commission recently began testing B20 in 10 out of 80 of its 60,000-pound gross vehicle weight dump trucks, said Phil Frame, Macomb County's public affairs director. "Each truck uses about two tanks a week, so for the 10 trucks, that comes to about 1,000 gallons a week," Frame said. Bob Hoepfner, the commission's chief engineer, said Blue Flame in Richmond, Mich., is supplying the soy oil-derived biodiesel. Hoepfner told Biodiesel Magazine that testing would last approximately one year while mileage, filter changes and driver inputs are monitored. "We're excited about the whole process," Hoepfner said.

In Charlottesville, Va., the University of Virginia's (UVA) parking and transportation department began testing B20 from soy methyl esters in two of its 30 campus buses and one recycling packer truck, according to department director Rebecca White. "Our test started May 1 and will run through August 1," she said. "If there are no maintenance or fuel efficiency concerns, we would convert the entire fleet to B20." She said

UVA is getting its biodiesel through a state contract from Whiting Oil Co. in Culpeper, Va.

Pitt County Memorial Hospital (PCMH) in Greenville, N.C., recently made the switch to run its 35 diesel fleet vehicles-including ambulances, service and utility trucks, and shuttle buses-on a soy-based B20 blend, said Barbara Dunn, public relations coordinator for PCMH. The hospital has even merged its eco-friendly use of biodiesel with efficiency; PCMH has installed a B20 pump on campus for fast and resourceful dispensing of Aurora, N.C.-based Potter Oil's premixed B20, Dunn said. In eastern North Carolina, farmers are looking for alternatives to tobacco, and soybeans offer such an option, according to Dunn. She also said the hospital understands the improvements in using B20 and wants to be a leader in such changeovers. The reduction of particulates also played a role in the decision to burn B20. "The switch has gone extremely well, and from my personal experience, I can't even notice the diesel fumes anymore," Dunn said.

Ernest DeCamp, director of communications for the Springfield City Utilities (SCU) in Springfield, Mo., said that the SCU transit fleet of 30 buses-plus some "rolling stock" of various numbers-has made the switch recently to soy oil-based B2. The biodiesel blend is procured through a local supplier. DeCamp said, "Being that we are in the power industry, using renewables is the responsible thing to do."
-Staff Report
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