Truck demonstration makes the environmental case for biodiesel

By | May 11, 2009
As more customers demand green transportation alternatives along with environmentally friendly products and services, truck fleets using biodiesel can now provide more concrete data about how the fuel is helping them be eco-friendly.

Compared to petroleum diesel, biodiesel reduces direct carbon dioxide emissions by 78 percent, over its entire lifecycle. At this year's Mid-America Trucking Show, NBB and the Nebraska Soybean Board revealed the results of a trucking demonstration that modeled exactly the carbon dioxide reductions for truck fleets that use biodiesel.

Over the course of six months, California-based fleet States Logistics ran four trucks on B5 and three on B99. The demonstration showed using biodiesel instead of petroleum diesel reduced States Logistics' carbon output by 72.9 tons. "We were really pleased to see the quantified reduction of CO2 and other pollutants," said Ryan Donovan, vice president of operations and business development at States Logistics. "This is something that we can take to our customers, like Clif Bar and Co., who can show their customers.
We all benefit from having this information available to show the efforts being made to reduce the carbon footprint throughout the supply chain."

Chicago-based Indigenous Energy, LLC, developed the program used to calculate the carbon reduction. It compares the entire lifecycle carbon output based on gallons of fuel consumed and allows fleets to measure carbon savings related to biodiesel.

Biodiesel significantly reduces most regulated emissions. While tailpipe carbon dioxide emissions for biodiesel and petroleum diesel are comparable, biodiesel's environmental benefits start long before the fuel hits the tank and the tailpipe. Therefore, carbon reduction was measured over the fuel's comprehensive lifetime compared to petroleum diesel.

In addition, NBB and Kentucky Soybean Promotion Board ran an online survey of Owner Operators, independent, and company drivers. Of 276 responses, eight percent were not familiar with biodiesel; 75.8 percent did have a positive impression of biodiesel; 57 percent have at least tried biodiesel and 94 percent would use biodiesel in the future.

Supporting American farmers was the main concern regarding the use of biodiesel by 59 percent of those surveyed, which was followed by concerns for energy independence representing 40 percent.
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