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Biodiesel Stands Its Ground, Won’t Back Down: New B20 Vehicles, Emissions Cuts, Highlight NBC 2018

Submitted by on February 7, 2018 – 6:25 pmNo Comment

by Jim Lane (Biofuels Digest)  The makers of the world’s favorite advanced biofuel — a/k/a the biodiesel industry — descended upon Texas to mingle, make and renew ties at the 2018 National Biodiesel Conference. And, to champion new ideas and find new supply chain and distribution partners.

Bummer that there wasn’t a biodiesel tax credit extension on offer. Bummer that diesel’s getting a bad rap in the press.

In a world of coal cars running electric drivetrains, biodiesel still brings the power, the thrill, and the real thing on emissions.

A Ford Flivver in a Fuel Economy First — and B20 ready

Several automakers’ new 2018 diesel models were featured and a highlight was Ford’s first first-ever Ford F-150 diesel with a targeted EPA-estimated 30 mpg highway rating and  full B20 support.

The Ford F-150 joins the F-250/350/450 Super Duty and F-650/750 medium duty trucks as well as the Transit van to round out Ford’s strong line-up of diesel models supporting the use of B20 biodiesel blends.

But let’s not overlook General Motors, which is also bringing a strong lineup of 20 different diesel vehicle options to market in the 2018 model year, spanning the car, truck, van and compact SUV categories.  General Motors supports B20 in all 20 of its diesel models. 

The important off-road equipment market was highlighted by John Deere’s 5075E with a B20-supported PowerTech turbocharged diesel engine. John Deere was one of the first original equipment manufacturers to get involved with biodiesel, and this year the company is celebrating an important anniversary of its own – the 100th year since the first John Deere tractor was built.

Going for B100? In the after-market, there was Optimus Technologies, whose technology enables B100 use even in the coldest climates. With its controller and second heated B100 tank system, Optimus is providing fleets an easy and cost-effective way to use pure B100 biodiesel in their existing vehicles and reduce carbon by 80 percent at a fraction of the cost of conversion to other fuel alternatives being considered that don’t provide as much carbon reduction, like compressed natural gas.

Today over 80 percent of the diesel vehicles coming off production lines fully support the use of B20, and OEMs are beginning to look into higher blends as well.

Emissions reductions

Highlight from the week was a new study from the United States’ Argonne National Laboratory on biodiesel’s lifecycle energy and greenhouse gas emission effects found  biodiesel compared to petroleum diesel reduces GHG emissions by 72 percent and fossil fuel use by 80 percent.

This study represents the first time Argonne National Laboratory has published a lifecycle assessment of biodiesel including indirect land use change. 

Roughly half of the biodiesel used in the US is made from soybean oil. The other half is produced from sources like used cooking oil, animal fats, and other fats and oils. The authors of this study began by collecting the latest data on the energy and emissions from farming soybeans. Soybeans are grown primarily to produce protein meal for livestock feed. So, the first processing step after soybeans leave the farm is to a soybean crush facility where 80 percent of every soybean is used to produce livestock feed. The volume of oil that remains after protein extraction exceeds demand for feed or food, (i.e. salad dressing, frying and baking, etc.), so a portion of that oil that we cannot eat or export is used to produce biodiesel.  READ MORE

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