MTD Transitions Diesel Fleet to Renewable Diesel

MTD Transitions Diesel Fleet to Renewable Diesel title=
MTD Transitions Diesel Fleet to Renewable Diesel
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Source: MTD Santa Barbara

As of December 2nd, Santa Barbara MTD has stopped purchasing petroleum diesel and will now fuel the agency’s diesel fleet with renewable diesel (RD). This transition requires no infrastructure changes and the new fuel can be dispensed into the same tank that held the old fuel.

Different from biodiesel, renewable diesel is refined from a mix of more than 10 different wastes and residues and various vegetable oils. Around 92% of this fuel comes from a combination of used cooking oil, waste animal fat, waste fish fat, and residue oils. Renewable diesel is odorless, and emits 33% lower fine particulates that aggravate asthma.

While not zero-emission, renewable diesel represents an 80 percent reduction in emissions and carbon intensity from petroleum diesel. The carbon intensity of renewable diesel is about one-third of that of a battery-electric vehicle charging on the California grid.

Santa Barbara MTD’s Board of Directors set a goal in November 2018 to transition the entire MTD fleet to 100 percent battery-electric by 2030. This transition to renewable diesel speeds up a reduction in emissions fleetwide, and takes the opportunity to green the remaining diesel fleet.

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a-1576002514 Dec 04, 2019 02:21 PM
MTD Transitions Diesel Fleet to Renewable Diesel

"Renewable" diesel is a hydrocarbon mixture nearly indistinguishable from diesel that is refined from crude oil. Making and transporting the feed for the renewable diesel process takes energy- which produces CO2. Also renewable diesel requires high-purity hydrogen to manufacture. Manufacturing hydrogen generates a large quantities of CO2 (see steam methane reforming). It's therefore not clear that there any environmental advantages at all due to renewable diesel. If it is more expensive than regular diesel, as is likely, then there are no economic advantages either. MTD is a good service. However the most effective way to reduce its environmental impact is to increase ridership.

Icre84U Dec 04, 2019 01:26 PM
MTD Transitions Diesel Fleet to Renewable Diesel

True cost to taxpayers is going to be difficult to figure out. One year ago USA Bioenergy was predicting a sustainable $7.63 per gallon price; based upon $2.80 energy value, $2.72 Federal EPA "RIN" (Renewable ID Numbers, Federal Fuel Credit) and finally $2.11 California LCFS (Low Carbon Fuel Standard) (outgrowth of the "Cap and Trade" program). So $4.83 in artificially supported costs, which we're all paying for one way or another by taxing ourselves to death. Also the "Cap & Trade" policies which are unique to California, we're increasingly isolating ourselves against the rest of the US and making ourselves an "island." And this doesn't include CA Road Taxes which are significant. EB85 in the midwest is running about $2.03 per gallon. Remember, Iowa is an early primary state!

PitMix Dec 04, 2019 02:03 PM
MTD Transitions Diesel Fleet to Renewable Diesel

Sounds horrible. I don't want to die by being over-taxed. We should all get out while the getting is good. Will the last one please turn out the lights on their way out?

Chip of SB Dec 04, 2019 12:26 PM
MTD Transitions Diesel Fleet to Renewable Diesel

I did a little digging, and it looks like MTD uses approximately 600,000 gallons of diesel every year. Increasing the cost by a dollar or two could result in an extra $1 Million + in expense per year. If the "renewable diesel" costs the same as normal diesel, I don't see any harm in making the change. If it costs $1 Million per year for the new fuel, I don't see the benefit of making the change. That kind of money could do a lot to address our drug addiction crisis, or clear land to mitigate fire hazards, or build infrastructure to protect against flooding, etc.

a-1576002514 Dec 04, 2019 09:59 AM
MTD Transitions Diesel Fleet to Renewable Diesel

Willie Nelson has been doing this for years at a place south of Dallas, TX. I believe he one quipped that it runs clean, "as long as you don't mind the smell of French fries".

jak Dec 04, 2019 09:02 AM
MTD Transitions Diesel Fleet to Renewable Diesel

Can’t comment accurately for Goleta but in the rural south farm diesel is running about $1.75, road diesel about $2.75 (almost half the extra cost is road taxes and the rest is expensive lubricant additives to protect fuel systems from damage due to the poor lubricating properties of ultra low sulfur road diesel) and biodiesel is$3.00 to 5.00 depending on grade. All these prices are per gallon for small quantities. Discounts are usually available for fleet and contract customers who buy more than a few hundred gallons a day. Note that cheap biodiesel tends to smell bad, produce stinky exhaust, and gunk up engines. The pricey stuff is great at normal coastal California temperatures.

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