Various vehicle fleets begin fueling with biodiesel

By | December 01, 2004
Fleet operators across the United States continue to realize the benefits of using cleaner-burning biodiesel. The following is a look at some of those fleets that have made the switch:

Earthwise Excavation of Snohomish, Wash., began using a biodiesel blend for its construction fleet in November 2002 before switching to B100 in May 2003. According to owner Albert Postema, Earthwise uses more than 18,000 gallons of B100 annually. The company uses an anti-gel additive during the winter months in 18 vehicles. Earthwise Excavation recently purchased a biodiesel processor and hopes to produce about 200 to 400 gallons of biodiesel per month from waste vegetable oil by mid-2005.

The North Carolina Solar Center recently awarded over $90,000 worth of grants through the North Carolina Alternative Fuel Incentive Project to several biodiesel projects. Forsyth County Automotive Services Department is using the grant to add approximately 30,000 gallons of B20 into its fleet. The North Carolina Zoological Park in Asheboro will begin to utilize B20 in its diesel trams and buses. North Carolina Alternative
Fuel Incentive Project Manager Anne Tazewell said the grant is for accelerating the use of all types of alternative fuels.

Knoxville Area Transit (KAT) has increased its mass transit fleet's use of biodiesel to a B20 blend in more than 100 diesel buses and other vehicles. Barry Greenberg, KAT Director of Maintenance, said he started using B5 in June 2004 and now has only B20 in three 18,000-gallon underground tanks. Greenberg said KAT has installed its own B100 tank and will begin splash-blending its own fuel.

Shelby Public Schools is one of 12 Michigan school districts to receive a $5,000 grant from the Michigan Soybean Promotion Committee to offset half the cost for an alternative biodiesel fuel that uses soybean oil. Shelby Transportation Director Rod Stevens said the school started using B20 in 30 vehicles this fall. Fremont Co-op provides the fuel. Other school districts include Bay City Public Schools, Catholic Secondary Schools of Greater Grand Rapids, Durand Area Schools, Goodrich Area Schools, Napoleon Community Schools, Olivet Community Schools, Ovid-Elsie Area Schools, Tahquamenon Area Schools, Traverse City Area Public Schools, Tuscola Intermediate School District and West Branch Rose City Area Schools.

Manchester Community Schools in Manchester, Mich., received a $10,000 grant from the EPA for B20 biodiesel. The school gets its biodiesel from G.E. Wacker Inc.

According to the Indiana Soybean Board, Indiana's Bartholomew County approved a measure that would put B20 soy biodiesel in the tank of every Bartholomew County Highway Department diesel vehicle. This marks the first county highway department in the state to utilize a B20 blend.

A $100,000 state grant from the U.S. DOE and the Maryland Energy Administration is being used in Queen Anne's County in Maryland to convert the county's entire fleet of 180 vehicles to soy-based biodiesel. County Administrator Paul Comfort said three B20 pumps are being installed and should be operational by early 2005. This is the first fleet to switch to biodiesel in the state, according to Comfort.
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