New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY) announced that it will be testing renewable diesel.
Though availability of the alternative fuel still poses concerns—it’s widely available on the West Coast, but not in the East—DSNY, which has one of the nation’s largest municipal truck fleets, is still anxious to begin a pilot program.
“We’ll be testing the fuel for emissions and driveability some time in the next month or so,” DSNY Deputy Commissioner Rocco DiRico told reporters in a press conference Wednesday where he was joined by sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia and Mack Trucks President Dennis Slagle.
“Obviously, if it works and we like what we see, we still have the issue of availability—it’s just not available here yet. But there are very anxious people out there who have provided to us a couple of drums for testing.”
Renewable diesel is not biodiesel. Though both fuels come from the same feedstocks, such as plant and animal waste, they’re processed differently which, in the end, renders two different fuels.
DSNY Fleet Supervisor Spiro Kattan explained to reporters that biodiesel is processed through transesterification, while renewable diesel is produced through hydrotreating, a process used for refining conventional fuels.
“We’re anxious to learn more about renewable diesel and its benefits as a fuel,” Kattan said.
Propel, a renewable diesel retailer in California, states that its Diesel HPR offers a 75 cetane rating, which is 40 percent higher than conventional diesel.
“Renewable diesel provides for a much, much more cleaner tailpipe emission,” DiRicco said.
DSNY will be testing 110 gallons of renewable diesel from a distributor in New Jersey. The department has its own state of the art dynamometer along with lab technicians who will closely analyze the fuel’s emissions and performance characteristics.
The fuel will be tested in a Mack truck. In January, the truck manufacturer announced that it had approved the use of renewable diesel in all of its diesel engines.
DiRico said the department will reveal results once testing is complete. DSNY is home to roughly 5,000 Class 8 trucks.