A Feat of Efficiency

Illinois organization finds success with B20 trials
By Erin Voegele | May 01, 2012

Biodiesel has obvious benefits for the environment, but ongoing B20 trials in the Peoria, Ill., metro area are also benefitting fleet operators through increased efficiency. Farm cooperative AgLand FS has been helping local fleets explore the use of biodiesel blended fuels. One trial, completed with the Greater Peoria Mass Transit District (CityLink), involved the continuous use of B20 in 89 buses over the past two and a half years.

According to Kevin Lockart, an energy consultant with AgLand, the trial has been highly successful. The fleet has experienced a fuel efficiency increase of 6.5 percent. Considering it consumes an estimated 700,000 gallons of fuel per year, those savings are significant.

The CityLink trial has also been highly successful in terms of operability. “We haven’t had a single problem,” Lockart says. “It has gone so smooth that we were actually a little bit surprised. There are 89 buses in the fleet, and every single one of them runs B20 year round. We’ve never had an issue with cold weather.” In fact, Lockart notes that only one filter has been plugged through the course of the two-and-a-half year trial.

According to Lockart, CityLink’s interest in the use of biodiesel was originally driven by the need to reduce emissions. The program has been highly successful in that regard. He says that he expects the transit system to continue to use B20 regardless of price.  

AgLand offers fuel through retail locations, but is also active in bulk delivery and serves as a wholesaler to large fleets and municipalities. According to Lockart, his company supplies a B20 fuel mix that contains the proprietary fuel additive Dieselex. The additive, he says, is a multifunction package that has been on the market since 1952. While Dieselex was originally designed for No. 2 diesel, Lockart says his company has found that it also works well to address some of the challenges associated with biodiesel, including corrosion and water. “We think overall it helps maintain the stability of the B20 mix,” he says.

AgLand’s work with biodiesel has also expanded to other fleets. Overall, Lockart estimates that the B20 Dieselex fuel mix is now fueling approximately 700 trucks in the Peoria area. “We’ve had a lot of people jump onboard,” he says. “A lot of people have reached out to ask if they can be part of the program.”

—Erin Voegele

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