Tuesday, March 25, 2014

March Question of the Month

Question of the Month: What are the key terms to know when discussing biodiesel fuel, vehicles, and infrastructure?

Answer: It is important to know how to “talk the talk” when it comes to biodiesel and the associated vehicles and infrastructure. Becoming familiar with the terms below will help you better understand the fuel so you can ask the right questions and make informed decisions.

Biodiesel is a domestically produced renewable fuel that can be manufactured from vegetable oils, animal fats, or recycled restaurant grease. Biodiesel is considered an advanced biofuel under the Renewable Fuel Standard (http://www.afdc.energy.gov/laws/RFS) and is the only such fuel that is commercially available nationwide.

Neat biodiesel, also known as B100, is biodiesel in its pure, unblended form. B100 is considered an alternative fuel under the Energy Policy Act (EPAct) of 1992. B100 fuel is often blended with petroleum diesel. Blends are represented in shorthand as BX, where the “X” is the percentage of biodiesel in the fuel. For example, B2 is 2% biodiesel and 98% petroleum diesel. All blends of biodiesel result in emissions reductions and petroleum displacement, as compared to conventional petroleum diesel. Popular blends include:
·         B20 is the most common biodiesel blend in the United States because it offers a good balance of cost, emissions reductions, cold-weather performance, materials compatibility, and ability to act as a solvent. While B20 is not considered an alternative fuel under EPAct 1992, covered fleets (fleets subject to EPAct and related regulations) may earn EPAct credits for the use of blends of B20 or above.
·         B5 is another common blend that can be used in most diesel passenger vehicles and trucks without violating the vehicle warranty.

Vehicles Types
Biodiesel and conventional diesel vehicles are one in the same. Biodiesel blends can be used in most compression-ignition diesel vehicles without any engine modifications. However, operators should check their warranty to best understand what blend is optimized for their vehicle. The National Biodiesel Board maintains a list of automakers and engine manufacturers’ positions on biodiesel blends in their vehicles, specifically the biodiesel blends supported and encouraged by vehicle manufacturers (http://www.biodiesel.org/using-biodiesel/oem-information/oem-statement-summary-chart).

Fuel Production
Biodiesel is produced by converting oils and fats into chemicals called long-chain mono alkyl esters, also referred to as fatty acid methyl esters, through a process called transesterification. The feedstock reacts with a short-chain alcohol (e.g., methanol) in the presence of a catalyst (e.g., sodium hydroxide) to produce biodiesel and glycerin, a co-product. Raw oils, such as straight vegetable oil or waste vegetable oil, that have not been converted to biodiesel through this process should not be used in vehicles, as they can cause engine damage and void warranties.

Specifications and Standards
ASTM International sets specifications for fuels, including biodiesel. Biodiesel used as engine fuel should meet the following standards:
·         ASTM D6751: Specification for B100, found here: http://www.astm.org/Standards/D6751.htm.
·         ASTM D7467: Specification for B6-B20, found here: http://www.astm.org/Standards/D7467.htm.
·         ASTM D975: Specification for B0-B5, found here: http://www.astm.org/Standards/D975.htm.

The National Biodiesel Accreditation Program, BQ9000 (http://www.bq-9000.org/), is a voluntary accreditation program for fuel producers and marketers that combines the ASTM standards with a quality systems program.

Fueling Infrastructure Components
A biodiesel station includes many of the same components as a diesel station, including the fuel storage tank(s),dispenser(s), and hanging hardware (e.g., hoses, nozzles).

Prior to introducing biodiesel, station managers should thoroughly clean existing components. This is because of the "cleaning effect" of biodiesel, which can dissolve accumulated sediments, cause contamination, and plug filters.

When building or converting existing infrastructure to handle biodiesel, it is important to check for compatibility with biodiesel or biodiesel blends. Underwriters Laboratories (UL) continues to test fueling equipment, including dispensers, aboveground storage tanks, underground storage tanks (USTs), piping, coatings, sumps, and heating equipment for use with biodiesel and biodiesel blends. UL-listed B20 equipment is available from Husky, OPW Fueling Components, Veyance Technologies, Franklin Fueling, and Gilabarco Veeder-Root—in fact, all new dispensers sold by Gilbarco Veeder-Root as of 2014 are UL listed for B20. Equipment vendors can also provide information about the compatibility of their products. In addition, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published Guidance on Compatibility of UST Systems with Ethanol Blends Greater than 10 Percent and Biodiesel Blends Greater than 20 Percent (http://www.epa.gov/oust/compend/biofuels-compat-guidance.pdf), which outlines how UST owners and operators can demonstrate compliance with EPA requirements.

Additional information on biodiesel fuel, vehicles, and infrastructure can be found on the Alternative Fuels Data Center Biodiesel page (http://www.afdc.energy.gov/fuels/biodiesel.html) and on the National Biodiesel Board website (http://www.biodiesel.org/). 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Natural Gas Training

February Question of the Month

Question of the Month: What driver behaviors can help reduce petroleum consumption?

Answer: There are many simple changes fleet managers and individual drivers can adopt to improve vehicle efficiency, decrease fuel consumption, save money, and reduce emissions. In fact, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory found that improved driving behavior can reduce fuel consumption by an average of 10% and up to 20% for aggressive drivers; see the final report at http://www.nrel.gov/vehiclesandfuels/vsa/pdfs/50836.pdf. Below are strategies fleet managers and individuals may consider to improve fuel efficiency.

Fuel Conservation Techniques for Drivers

Both fleets and individual drivers can save fuel by implementing the following practices:

·         Reducing Speeding: Though different vehicles reach optimal fuel economy at different speeds, fuel efficiency generally decreases significantly at speeds above 50 miles per hour. This is because at high speeds, more fuel is needed to overcome resistance from aerodynamics and tire rolling. The fuel economy benefit of reducing your speed is 7% to 14%. The FuelEconomy.gov “What is the speed penalty for my vehicle?” (http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/driveHabits.jsp) tool allows drivers to calculate the fuel economy reduction for their specific vehicle and typical driving behavior.

·         Conservative Driving: Gradual braking and accelerating can improve a vehicle’s fuel economy by 33% on highways and by 5% on city roads. Driving conservatively not only helps conserve fuel and save money, but it is also a safe practice for drivers.

·         Combining Trips: Using one trip for multiple purposes, rather than making multiple trips, can save fuel, time, and money by reducing driving distance and avoiding unnecessary cold starts. When the engine is cold, starting a vehicle can use twice as much fuel.

·         Reducing Load: By offloading unneeded items from the vehicle, drivers can reduce the amount of fuel consumed by up to 2% for each 100 pounds.

·         Vehicle Maintenance: Proper and regular vehicle maintenance can improve fuel economy by 40%. This includes keeping the engine properly tuned, maintaining proper tire inflation, and using the recommended grade of oil. For more information on vehicle maintenance techniques used to conserve fuel, see the Alternative Fuels Data Center (AFDC) Vehicle Maintenance to Conserve Fuel page (http://www.afdc.energy.gov/conserve/vehicle_maintenance.html).

Fuel Conservation Strategies for Fleet Managers

Fleet managers can adopt the following fuel conservation strategies to maximize their fleet’s fuel efficiency:

·         Train Drivers: Driver training courses can teach new and veteran fleet drivers basic fuel conservation techniques (see the above Fuel Conservation Techniques for Drivers section) that they can use to improve their individual fuel economy. These courses teach ways to minimize the negative impacts of idling, speeding, aggressive or frequent accelerating or breaking, improper shifting, and taking unnecessarily long routes. National Clean Fleets Partner Coca-Cola has a successful “eco-driver” training program: http://www1.eere.energy.gov/cleancities/coca-cola.html.

·         Employ Advanced Technologies: Technologies, such as telematics systems, can greatly increase efficiency and fuel savings in fleets. These tools allow fleet managers to:

o   Give Feedback: Fleet managers can use fuel-tracking devices or GPS-based telematics systems to track fuel economy, idle time, vehicle routes, and driver performance to provide drivers with feedback on how to improve. Some systems even provide drivers with instantaneous alerts when they are exhibiting inefficient driving behaviors, such as speeding. Some fleets pair drivers with coaches to critique driver behaviors. Driver feedback may improve fuel economy by 3% to 10%.

o   Optimize Routes: Route optimization technologies help drivers plan routes that can reduce mileage, stops, acceleration events, number of vehicles needed, and time spent in traffic. Fleet managers can view data for individual drivers or for the entire fleet to view their progress and target areas of improvement.

·         Provide Incentives: Incentives, including driver recognition, special privileges, and monetary rewards, encourage drivers to use efficient driving behaviors. Polk County, Florida, provides an excellent case study of a fleet that developed a successful incentive program for its employees: http://www.government-fleet.com/article/print/story/2011/01/incentivizing-drivers-to-conserve-fuel.aspx.

·         Implement Policies: Corporate policies that require drivers to participate in training courses, meet fuel-efficiency targets, comply with a maximum speed limit, and set goals can reduce emissions and improve driving efficiency.

·         Use Fleet Fueling Cards: Fleets that use fueling cards can monitor, control, track, and manage fuel and maintenance costs based on card transactions. One example is the WEX (formerly Wright Express) card (http://www.wexinc.com/). 

More information on adjusting driver behavior to improve fuel efficiency can be found on the AFDC Efficient Driving Behaviors to Conserve Fuel page (http://www.afdc.energy.gov/conserve/driving_behavior.html) and on FuelEconomy.gov (http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/drive.shtml).

Friday, January 24, 2014

New Westport CNG Ford F-150

Think Green for your 2014 New Year’s Resolution with a Ford F-150 with the dedicated Westport™ CNG System

Westport is now offering a dedicated CNG system on 2014 Ford F-150 Pickup Trucks.  The dedicated CNG 3.7L V6 Ford F-150 with the Westport WiNG™ Power System offers a 17 GGE fuel tank providing approximately 250 miles of driving range.  EPA certified, the vehicles undergo the same testing required for all Ford OEM products and are available on a Super Cab short-bed with the choice of a 4x2 or 4x4 powertrain configuration. 

The Ford F-150 Pickup Trucks with the dedicated Westport CNG system are available for order at over200 Westport authorized Ford Dealer / Distributors.

Westport continues to work closely with Ford to make a wide range of CARB and EPA certified bi-fuel and dedicated vehicles available to our customers.  Sign-up here  to be the first to know future Westportvehicle programs as soon as it becomes available. Possible future vehicles may include the 2015 F-150, Transit, Transit Connect. 

Westport has the largest light duty natural gas vehicle market presence and product portfolio in North America.  For more information regarding our vast product offerings, including the new dedicated F-150, please visit us at www.westport.com or call 855-WPT-9464.

January Question of the Month

Question of the Month: What is the current status of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and how do the new 2014 proposed requirements differ from previous years’?

Answer: The national RFS program was developed to increase the volume of renewable fuel blended into transportation fuels. As required by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized RFS1 program regulations, which became effective on Sept. 1, 2007. The Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007 increased and expanded this standard through RFS2, mandating that by 2022, 36 billion gallons of renewable fuel be blended into transportation fuels. Though EISA set final volume requirements, EPA must determine renewable fuel percentage values annually to meet the requirements. Fuels are broken down as follows:

Total renewable fuel: The total amount of renewable fuel required to be blended into the fuel supply each year, which includes conventional and advanced biofuels (defined below). Conventional biofuel volume requirements are simply the total renewable fuel volume requirements minus the advanced biofuel volume requirements. While EISA specified volume requirements for most categories through 2022, the statute allows EPA to reduce these volumes under certain conditions (see below for further discussion).  Each renewable fuel category is described below.
    • Conventional biofuel: Any fuel derived from approved sources of renewable biomass that reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 20% from baseline petroleum GHG emissions. Conventional biofuels are generally produced from starch-based feedstocks (e.g., corn, sorghum, wheat).
    • Advanced biofuel: Any fuel derived from approved renewable biomass, excluding corn starch-based ethanol. Biomass-based diesel and cellulosic biofuel volume requirements fall under this overarching advanced biofuel category. Note that remaining advanced biofuel volume requirements not met by cellulosic and biomass-based diesel can be met with other advanced biofuels, and cellulosic biofuel and biomass-based diesel volumes that exceed their volume requirements also may be used to meet the advanced biofuel quota. Other advanced biofuels may include sugarcane-based fuels, renewable diesel co-processed with petroleum, and other biofuels that may exist in the future. Advanced biofuels must reduce GHG emissions by at least 50% from baseline petroleum GHG emissions.
      • Cellulosic biofuel: Any fuel derived from cellulose, hemicellulose, or lignin. These fuels must reduce GHG emissions by at least 60% from baseline petroleum GHG emissions.
      • Biomass-based diesel: A diesel fuel substitute made from renewable feedstocks, including biodiesel and nonester renewable diesel (diesel produced from animal- and plant-based fats, oils, and greases). It cannot be co-processed with petroleum; however, those fuels fall under the general advanced biofuels category. Biomass-based diesel must reduce GHG emissions by at least 50% from baseline petroleum GHG emissions.

For a list of fuel pathways that qualify under each renewable fuel category, see Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations, section 80.1100-80.1167 (http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CFR-2011-title40-vol16/pdf/CFR-2011-title40-vol16-sec80-1426.pdf).

Obligated Parties
Any party that produces gasoline or petroleum diesel for use as transportation fuel in the United States, including refiners, importers, and blenders (other than oxygenate blenders), is considered an obligated party under the RFS program. Each year, EPA determines the Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) for obligated parties. The RVO is calculated as a percentage, by dividing the amount of renewable fuel (gallons) required by the RFS2 for a given year by the amount of transportation fuel expected to be used during that year.

Volume Requirements and Percentage Standards
While EISA specified most volume requirements through 2022, the law did not address the biomass-based diesel requirement beyond 2012 and left some flexibility on the cellulosic biofuel requirement. The statute also allows EPA to change requirements under certain conditions, including when (1) the projected production of cellulosic biofuel in any year is less than the volume specified in EISA or (2) conditions are met under the general waiver authority provided by the Clean Air Act.

In 2013, EPA requires obligated parties to meet the following volume requirements collectively. Also included are the associated RVO percentages.

Final Volume Requirements for 2013
Cellulosic biofuel
14 million gallons
Biomass-based diesel
1.28 billion gallons
Advanced biofuel
2.75 billion gallons
Total renewable fuel
16.55 billion gallons

On Nov. 15, 2013, EPA published a proposed rule to establish new volume requirements and associated percentage standards for 2014. For the first time, EPA is requesting comments on a range of volumes for each renewable fuel category to determine a final requirement (see table below). Also for the first time, the proposed total renewable fuel volume requirement is lower than statutory levels mandated in EISA to resolve compliance concerns related to the ethanol consumption "blend wall" (discussed below) and renewable fuel production constraints. The table below outlines the proposed new volume requirements and the associated RVO percentages.

Proposed Volume Requirements for 2014
Cellulosic biofuel
17 million gallons
8–30 million gallons
Biomass-based diesel
1.28 billion gallons
1.28 billion gallons
Advanced biofuel
2.20 billion gallons
2–2.51 billion gallons
Total renewable fuel
15.21 billion gallons
15–15.52 billion gallons

Ethanol Blend Wall
The ethanol “blend wall” refers to the difficulty of incorporating an increasing amount of ethanol into the transportation fuel supply at percentages exceeding 10%. Almost all gasoline sold in the United States is E10 (10% ethanol, 90% gasoline). While blends as high as E15 (15% ethanol, 85% gasoline) can be used in some conventional vehicles, these blends are difficult to market on a widespread basis because they can be used only in flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs) and model year 2001 and newer vehicles due to equipment compatibility issues. Additionally, “E85” (51%83% ethanol blended with gasoline) and other mid-level ethanol blends can be used only in FFVs. EPA has proposed the lower advanced biofuel and total renewable fuel volume requirements above for 2014 due to the anticipated inability of the market to supply the Congressionally mandated volume of renewable fuels to consumers in 2014.

In conjunction with the 2014 volume requirements and percentage standards, EPA is also considering a joint petition from the American Petroleum Institute and the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, as well as individual petitions from several refining companies, requesting a partial waiver of the 2014 applicable volumes under RFS2. EPA is collecting comments on both issues through Jan. 28, 2014.

Additional information can be found on the EPA RFS2 (http://www.epa.gov/otaq/fuels/renewablefuels/index.htm) and Alternative Fuels Data Center RFS Program (http://www.afdc.energy.gov/laws/RFS) websites.

Friday, January 3, 2014

2nd Annual Idle Free Fleets Conference AGENDA

Don't forget to register for our 2nd Annual Idle Free Fleets Conference on Tuesday January 14, 2014! Registration ends Sunday January 12th

Register here: http://utahcleancities.org/calendar/jan-14-2014/idle-free-fleets-conference

Idle Free Conference
Join the Office of Energy Development, Utah Clean Cities Coalition and Rio Tinto for the second annual Idle Free Conference. Learn how leading organizations have implemented Turn Your Key, Be Idle Free.
When: January 14th
Where: Hale Theater, 3333 Decker Lake Drive West Valley City, UT
Time: 9am  – 4 pm
The conference will include a keynote address from Alan Matheson, Senior Environmental Advisor from the Governor’s Office, and a special presentation by Ted Wilson, Director of the Utah Clean Air Partnership (UCAIR). There will also be panel discussions with representatives from business, industry, government and education who have embraced anti-idling in their fleets.
Registration is FREE. Please register early as space is limited
 9 AM:  Registration & Networking
10 Welcome:  Utah Clean Cities Coalition
10:15 Introductions: Samantha Mary Julian, Director, Office of Energy Development
10:30 Keynote Address: Alan Matheson. Senior Environmental Advisor, Governor’s Office
11:00 Special Guest Speaker: Ted Wilson, Director, Utah Clean Air Partnership
11:30 Networking Break – Technology Expo
11:45 Lunch Buffet
1: 30PM Break Out Sessions:  
Government & Municipalities

Business & Industry

3:30 Networking & Anti-Idling Technology Expo (A tour of Hale Centre Theatre will be available to interested parties)
Transportation to the Conference: Hale Centre Theatre is conveniently located off the Trax Green Line. To find the best route for you go to RideUTA.com.

If you have any questions please contact:
Sophia Jackson, Communications & Northern Coordinator, Utah Clean Cities
Office:  801-535-7736 Cell: 801-824-8380