Not North America: Daimler says renewable diesel for Mercedes-Benz trucks only

Quimby Mug Bayou Florida Headshot

It may be one step closer, but it’s still not a complete endorsement.

Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz trucks have been approved for renewable diesel. However, that approval does not extend to trucks that Daimler markets and sells in North America.

When Hard Working Trucks contacted Daimler Trucks North America about its stance on renewable diesel this week the company responded, “This only applies to Mercedes-Benz Trucks which are not marketed and sold in the U.S.  This is a Mercedes-Benz Trucks topic.  COM Manager copied.  No further comment from DTNA.”

Mercedes approved the use of the hydrotreated biofuel in its heavy duty OM 470 and OM 471 engines as well as medium duty OM 936 and OM 934 variants.

Though components vary, trucks in North America do share some of the same engine blocks as their European counterparts.

For instance in January, 2013 Mercedes reported that the engine block used in its then new OM 473 had undergone “extensive testing in North America, where for the past five years over 100,000 units of the same engine block have already been in use as Detroit Diesel DD 16 and 15 with two different engine capacities (15.6 liter and 14.8 liter).”

But the block may be one of the few things that the engines share in common.

“In Europe, only the larger 15.6 liter variant is used. It differs from the American powerplants by more than 200 parts. The different manufacturing plants – the units for Detroit Diesel are produced in North America – make the distinctions clear,” the Mercedes press release states.

Renewable diesel has been gaining traction in the U.S.

The State of California announced in December that its state-wide fleet would be using renewable diesel in place of bio diesel.

Mack and Volvo Trucks approved the fuel earlier this year. UPS has been using renewable diesel for over a year and besides being pleased with its lower emissions the company reports that the fuel possess beneficial synthetic properties similar to synthetic motor oil.

Neste, the largest provider of renewable diesel in North America, states that their fuel lowers greenhouse emissions by up to 90 percent when compared to conventional diesel.

Unlike biodiesel, the complex refinement that renewable, or synthetic diesel undergoes renders it into a fuel that meets all U.S. emissions standards. Since its chemical structure matches conventional diesel, it can be used directly as a substitute. No retrofitting is required.