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Green Your Fleet

From Scrap Magazine. Written by Jim Fowler

Every day, drivers for Used Beverage Container Recovery (Wixom, Mich.), a subsidiary of Schupan & Sons (Kalamazoo, Mich.), use the company’s fleet of 16 trucks to pick up aluminum cans, PET containers, and glass bottles from reverse vending machines at 600 Michigan locations. Each truck runs for two 10-hour shifts on routes that can reach 400 miles in length, and each is registered at 54,000 pounds gross combination weight. Powering the M2 112, single-axle (4 x 2) Freightliner tractors are Cummins 8.9-liter ISL G engines that generate 320 hp and 1,000 foot-pounds of torque—and that operate without a drop of diesel fuel. Instead, UBCR claims it’s the first scrap recycling company in the United States to have converted its entire dieselpowered truck fleet to operate on compressed natural gas.

The Reality About Bio-Fuels

Some people thought that biodiesel is an experimental fuel that has not been comprehensively examined and developed. However, on the market, biodiesel can be considered one of the most thoroughly tested alternative fuels. Many studies have been conducted independently by the U.S. Department of Energy, National Renewable Energy Lab, Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute, Southwest Research Institute, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Stanadyne Corp., the largest diesel fuel injection equipment manufacturer in the United States. According to theses studies, biodiesel performs as well as petroleum diesel yet provides greater benefits to the human health and environment. Because of the fallouts of diesel fuel, Chicago and many states in the U.S. consider bio-fuel as the best alternative.

In contrary to the belief that there is no objective biodiesel fuel standard, for more than 15 years the biodiesel industry has been exertive for setting quality standards for biodiesel. ASTM specifications for diesel fuel exists and biodiesel fuel blends from 6 to 20 percent (B6 – B20 (D7467-09)). Biodiesel blends up to B5 to be utilized for on- and off-road diesel applications (D975-08a) and home heating and boiler applications (D396-08b). In December 2001, the original specification for pure B100 (D6751) was approved by ASTM. Regardless of the feedstock materials utilized to form the fuel, the performance-based ASTM specifications are implemented.  You can view the specifications from ASTM at

The assumption that biodiesel does not work comparable to diesel has proven to be false. A major asset of biodiesel is the certainty that it can be consumed in most prevailing diesel engines and fuel injection equipment in blends up to 20 percent with minimal impact to the operation. In fact, compared to U.S. diesel fuel, biodiesel has a higher cetane number. B20 showed similar horsepower, torque, haulage rate and fuel consumption as conventional diesel fuel in more than 50 million miles of in-field demonstrations. In terms of lubricity, biodiesel has proven to be superior having the highest BTU content of any alternative fuel.

In any blend, biodiesel is compatible with the new 2010+ diesel engine technologies. In the 2010+ vehicles, the new engine emission control systems are all still basically adaptable with blends up to at least B5. Rumors regarding incompatibility have been circulating due to the concerns about the potentiality of increased engine oil dilution that can come into play with the use of higher biodiesel blends in the few light-duty diesel vehicles that utilize an emissions control system with in-cylinder post-injection technology. Nevertheless, latest research studies from Volkswagen and the National Renewable Energy Lab both resolved that the oil viscosity levels still stayed in an uncritical range with no bad impacts on vehicle emissions, engine performance or parts as an effect of the biodiesel usage in spite of the higher oil dilution levels with biodiesel blends above B10. Users can still fuel up confidently with blends up to B20 without concern for engine performance as long as proactive oil change service intervals are implemented and the responsible use of high biodiesel blends meet ASRM specifications. Additional research and development of higher blends of biodiesel are being designed in the times to come.

There is a myth that biodiesel voids manufacturers’ engine warranty coverage. Nonetheless, all major U.S. automakers and engine manufacturers have considered usage of up to at least B5. A number of major engine companies have formally declared that the utilization of high quality biodiesel blends up to B20 will not void there warranties. You can try to visit the National Biodiesel Board web site if you want to view a listing of particular statements from the engine companies at

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has released a study showing that the biodiesel industry has significantly met fuel quality standards. Based on the demonstrations that study from NREL, plants certified under BQ-9000 have systematically attained the quality mark. Regarding BQ-9000, it is a voluntary fuel quality assurance program that matches the bases of generally recognized management systems with the biodiesel product specifications (ASTM D6751). Included in the coverage of the program are storage, sampling, blending, distribution, testing and fuel management patterns.

If you think that biodiesel does not work in a cold climate, think again. When managed properly, high quality blends can be utilized productively even in coldest of weathers. Just like what happens to a regular #2 diesel, biodiesel will gel in super-low temperatures. While pure biodiesel has a higher cloud point than #2 diesel fuel, distinctive blends of 20 percent biodiesel are handled with similar management practical method as #2 diesel. Those blends with five percent biodiesel and less have nearly no effect on cold weather functionality. For a cold weather guide, you could check out the website

Biodiesel is considered more environment-friendly and does not greatly impact the burdens of greenhouse gases. Depending on the source, in the U.S., biodiesel cuts lifecycle carbon emissions by 60 to 80 percent making it the most beneficial carbon reduction tool of any fuel in liquid form commercially available. It is considered as the first to make it out in the market among advanced biofuels. Furthermore, it has the highest energy balance of any fuel because for every unit of fossil energy necessary to produce it, 4.5 units of energy are returned.  Another good thing is in formulating biodiesel you do not need new cropland for the reason that is generally produced from co-products of crops already being grown. Soybean acres in the U.S. stayed nearly the same while soybean acres in Brazil decreased when U.S. biodiesel production climbed from 25 million to 700 million gallons during 2004 to 2008. Surplus stocks of U.S. fats and oils are adequate to fulfill medium term biodiesel target volumes.

For the climbing up of the prices of food, biodiesel should never be considered as a contributor. It is the most diverse fuel in the planet considering it is made from a variety of renewable resources, including: recycled grease, plant oils, algae and fats. The oil component of the soybean is only one used when developing biodiesel from soybeans, leaving all the protein available to nourish livestock and humans. This effect gives a positive effect on the world’s food supply when producing soybean-based biodiesel. Regarding this notion, we can increase the supply of protein-rich meal for livestock and human consumption by making a new market for soybean oil, and thus leading to a more cost-effective food and feed source. If Illinois will be consistent in producing and using soybean-based biodiesel fuels instead of diesel fuel, the entire state will benefit significantly.

Please visit for further information regarding sustainable biodiesel


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