Multi-fleet renewable diesel pilot underway in NYC

A large renewable diesel pilot program is underway in New York City which includes fleet vehicles from sanitation, police, fire, transportation, environmental protection and parks and recreation.

Iowa-based Renewable Energy Group, a longtime supplier of biodiesel for agency fleets throughout the city, is supplying 900,000 gallons of REG 9000 renewable diesel for more than 1,000 city vehicles.

Renewable diesel is produced from the same feedstocks as biodiesel, yet it undergoes a hydrotreating process which produces a cleaner burning fuel with a higher cetane value (see REG charts below).

Greenhouse gas emissions are reduced by over 60 percent when compared to conventional petroleum-based diesel, according to Renewable Energy.

New York City’s Department of Sanitation, which has also conducted a pilot on diesel substitute dimethyl ether, has looked forward to testing renewable diesel.

“It’s our mission to keep New York City healthy, safe and clean, and having a modern, green fleet that uses renewable energy complements that,” said Kathryn Garcia, commissioner of the NYC Department of Sanitation. “Today, our entire diesel fleet runs on 20 percent biodiesel fuel and we’ve reduced unleaded fuel by nearly half since 2005. We’re proud to stand with other city agencies in expanding the use of alternative fuel sources like renewable diesel and making our City fleet the greenest and cleanest in the country.”

When comparing conventional diesel prices today on, REG 9000 is actually cheaper than several brands offered throughout the city.

“The city is paying $3.79 per gallon premium for renewable diesel, although this price will change weekly based on index pricing,” said Jonathan Ells, director of fleet sustainability at New York City’s Department of Citywide Administrative Services.

The city’s renewable diesel pilot kicked off in May and will draw to a close in September.

“Success of the pilot will be determined by minimal operational impact on vehicles and underground storage tanks, as well as confirmation of greenhouse gas benefits,” Ells said.

Renewable diesel use has largely been confined to the West Coast where Neste, the world’s largest renewable diesel suppler, continues to import the fuel from overseas.

Domestic producer Renewable Energy Group stepped up to help meet increasing demand for renewable diesel and recently launched a blended biodiesel and renewable diesel fuel called REG Ultra Clean Diesel.

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