Biodiesel is a renewable, clean-burning diesel replacement that can be used in existing diesel engines without modification. It is the nation’s first domestically produced, commercially available advanced biofuel. No matter the size of your operation, biodiesel can work for you.

Large: New York City Municipal Fleet

When the largest municipal fleet in the country needs a reliable fuel that is environmentally sustainable, it turns to biodiesel. New York City’s current fleet policy calls for B20 (a blend of 20 percent biodiesel with 80 percent diesel) in non-emergency vehicles for most of the year, with a B5 (five percent biodiesel with 95 percent diesel) standard in winter. The standard allows emergency departments to use straight petroleum diesel, but some are voluntarily adopting biodiesel, such as the Police Department, which has opted for B10.

Biodiesel adoption started in 2005, when the Parks and Recreation Department began pilot-testing fuel blends in some of its vehicles. Usage surged a few years later when the Sanitation Department, the municipality’s largest consumer of diesel, piloted and then adopted B5.

There is no need to change out vehicles or fueling infrastructure. More than 150 types of vehicles and equipment use biodiesel blends in the New York City fleet, including garbage trucks, mowers, beach-cleaning equipment, tractors, light towers, and generators. Even with application in 11,000 vehicles, the City has experienced virtually no fuel related problems, according to Keith Kerman, Deputy Commissioner, Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS).

Medium: Franklin County Fleet

Biodiesel has also helped local fleets reduce their carbon footprint without losing performance. In 2019, the Franklin County Engineer’s Office made the switch to B20 for the majority of the year. The Engineer joined the Municipal Equipment Maintenance Association, which helped introduce them to Clean Fuels Ohio and the Midwest Green Transportation Forum and Expo. The Engineer and Clean Fuels Ohio continue to work together to ensure the success of their B20 deployment.

County Engineer, Cornell Robertson, emphasized how important it is to consider the environment and explore ways to protect it. “We realize how important it is to be green. It’s not easy,” he said with a smile, making a reference to Kermit the Frog. “But it can be done.” According to Franklin County Fleet Manager Jeff Markusic, the Engineer’s Office had to make zero technical changes to their fleet in order to start using B20 blend biodiesel. This easy switch is one of the reasons they were drawn to biodiesel in the first place.

“Biodiesel was the lowest hanging fruit. We cleaned out all of our tanks, educated our mechanics on it, spoke with industry personnel and then we started with B20,” Markusic explained. “We didn’t have to change our fleet so we could do it without a big investment.”

He said their office did hear some negative stories surrounding biodiesel but decided to make the switch anyway after getting the facts. “We have had no identifiable issues related to B20 at all,” he said. “We have plans to go to B20 year-round hopefully.”

Small: Crawford County Farm

At 1,300 acres, Steve Reinhard’s Crawford County farm is hardly small, but he does run biodiesel in a much smaller fleet of vehicles and equipment. “We decided to use biodiesel on our farm, basically because it’s a product that’s renewable.  It’s something that we raise here beginning with the soybean itself,” Reinhard said.

He explained that in the 10 years they have used biodiesel on their farm, they have been able to reduce the amount of smoke that comes from the equipment, especially under a heavy load.

A Solution Without Sacrifice

No matter the size of your fleet, a biodiesel blend will likely provide your operation with a diesel alternative solution. Your vehicles need little to no adapting to run on a biodiesel blend, it is affordable, and made from renewable, clean-burning biomaterial that is better for the environment and air. Learn more about adopting biodiesel today by contacting the Ohio Soybean Council or Clean Fuels Ohio.