California Biodiesel Alliance News
California's Biodiesel Industry Trade Association
Corn Oil ONE
Krause & Nagy Environmental Solutions, LLP, and Sylvatex joined CBA as
new Bronze Business members this month, and we are pleased to welcome them and include their logos and company descriptions in our Membership section below.
This issue begins with an article on AB 1032, which will resolve the off-road dyed diesel tax problem, and includes more about new bills introduced in the state legislature in the following article. The Policy and California Industry sections have lots of substance, including an update on CBA's Biofuels Initiative, which has brought together a coalition of groups working to procure funding from Cap and Trade auction proceeds for production and infrastructure, so don't miss them.
The Federal Issues section in Policy below has breaking news on the Argentinian biodiesel issue. It asks us all to w
rite, write, write to urge action on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and has links to inspire and inform. Here's more grist for that mill:
A recent New York Times article presented information about a study on respiratory health among Southern California children done over 17 years. It shows that the children's lung development became "more robust" as emissions regulations got stricter and the air improved. The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, also showed a notable decline in the percentage of children with significantly impaired lung function.
To view back issues of this newsletter and CBA Email Alerts
click on the "View CBA Email Newsletter Archive" button on our Home page.
AB 1032 to Benefit Biodiesel
by Solving the Dyed Diesel Tax Problem
CBA is working on behalf of AB 1032, an amendment to the Diesel Fuel Tax Law introduced by Assemblymember Rudy Salas, which would help solve a tax problem affecting our industry and level the playing field for biodiesel in California. The Diesel Fuel Tax Law, which imposes a tax on diesel fuel, currently provides for a reimbursement for the amount of that tax to entities who have used that tax-paid fuel in certain nontaxable uses (for which it is dyed red).
However, because clear biodiesel is currently transported to terminals for blending by truck rather than pipeline, biodiesel producers, who have paid this Diesel Fuel excise or "road tax," must charge the refiner/blenders for the tax, but the refiner/blender is not currently able to recoup the funds for the tax paid on the biodiesel fuel portion of dyed blended diesel fuel removed from the terminal. We believe that allowing for a reimbursement (through a claim for refund), when the supplier can show that they have paid the tax on that biodiesel removed from an approved terminal, is a necessary and widely agreed upon solution to this problem.
Our industry estimates that the current problem may be effectively preventing biodiesel from being blended into 15-30% of the diesel volume depending on how much dyed diesel that terminal is handling. The problem affects every terminal and refinery rack in the state that is blending, or contemplating blending, biodiesel. These would include facilities owned by Kinder Morgan, Chevron, Tesoro, Petro-Diamond, Chemoil, IMTT and others.
AB 1032 goes before the Committee on Revenue and Taxation on April 13th.
New Industry-Related Bills Introduced
in the California Legislature
Below is a list of some of the new bills introduced this year with brief excepts from the Legislative Counsel's Digest. CBA is engaging with bill authors and will report on our activities in future newsletters.
AB 1032, as introduced, Salas. Diesel Fuel Tax Law: reimbursements
"This bill would allow a claim for refund for amounts of tax paid on the biodiesel fuel portion of dyed blended biodiesel fuel removed from an approved terminal at the terminal rack, as provided, to the extent a supplier can show that the tax on that biodiesel fuel has been paid by the same supplier." (See also lead article above.)
AB 655, as introduced, Quirk. Inedible kitchen grease: transporters: additional fee
This bill would increase the additional fee not to exceed $350 per year per vehicle that is operated to transport kitchen grease. By increasing this additional fee, which is required to be collected and deposited into a continuously appropriated fund, the bill would make an appropriation. The bill would also make related findings and declarations.
AB 692, as introduced, Quirk. Low-carbon transportation fuels
"This bill, commencing January 1, 2017, would require the Department of Transportation, the Department of General Services, and any other state agency that is a buyer of transportation fuels to each procure an unspecified percentage of the total amount of fuel purchased from very low carbon transportation fuel sources. The bill would require the percentage to be increased each year thereafter. The bill would define low carbon transportation fuel for these purposes."
AB 1074, as amended, Cristina Garcia. Natural gas: Alternative fuels: infrastructure
"This bill would state the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation to ensure that there is sufficient natural gas infrastructure and refueling infrastructure to accomplish the goals of the Natural Gas Act and the energy management plans described above. add a definition of "alternative fuel" and would provide that it is the policy of the state to help accelerate the adoption of vehicles using alternative fuels throughout the state by increasing the amount of charging and refueling options needed to facilitate electric, hydrogen, and natural gas vehicles traveling along all passenger and goods movement corridors on federal and state highways. The bill would, require the commission to conduct an assessment and develop an intergrated strategy to maximize the benefits and scope of an alternative refueling infrastructure, as defined, to help the state achieve its climate change, air quality, and economic goals and this newly stated policy." (Includes biodiesel.)
AB 1176, as introduced, Perea. Vehicular air pollution
"This bill would establish the Advanced Low-Carbon Diesel Fuels Access Program, to be administered by the state board, for the purpose of reducing greenhouse gas emissions of diesel motor vehicles by providing capital assistance for projects that expand advanced low-carbon diesel fueling infrastructure in communities that are disproportionately impacted by environmental hazards and additionally where the greatest air quality impacts can be identified.
This bill would require the commission and the state board to allocate no less than 50% of the available moneys under the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program and the Air Quality Improvement Program to projects that provide direct benefits to or serve or are located in disadvantaged communities.
This bill would authorize the commission as part of the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program, to amend a contract, grant, loan, or other agreement or award to extend the terms of that contract, grant, loan, or other agreement or award by 2 years if the moneys are reprioritized by the commission to apply toward a project that provides benefits to disadvantaged communities."
AB 808, as introduced, Ridley-Thomas. Automotive fuels and products
"(1) Existing law regulates the sales of motor vehicle fuels and lubricants. Existing law requires the Department of Food and Agriculture to establish standards for motor vehicle fuels and other petroleum products that are offered for sale in the state and requires the department, through the Division of Measurement Standards to enforce regulations and standards for motor vehicle fuels and lubricants. A violation of this law and those regulations and standards is a crime.
This bill would revise and recast those provisions and would additionally subject the retail sale of electricity for the purposes of transferring electricity to, or storing onboard electricity, an electric vehicle primarily for the purpose of propulsion and other alternative fuels. The bill would authorize the department to establish interim specification for alternative fuels, as defined, until specified conditions are met. The bill would require the Secretary of Food and Agriculture to establish the method of sale of motor vehicle fuels and lubricants sold at retail to the public." (Includes alternative fuel definitions, which CBA has engaged with DMS on, and other provisions.)
Realizing the Vision to Reclaim, Recycle, Refuel
With help from Viesel Fuel, Novozymes and Tactical Fabrication, Buster Halterman, the CEO of Buster Biofuels, is on the cusp of fulfilling his mission in cutting-edge ways by building the first enzymatic biodiesel plant on the West Coast.
By Ron Kotrba | January 06, 2015
Like so many in this industry, Buster Biofuels CEO Weldon "Buster" Halterman's entrance into the commercial biodiesel world was fueled by frustration and passion. The frustration arose from his homebrewing experiences. His passion stemmed from a deep-rooted desire to tread lightly on this planet by reducing emissions-and empowering others to do the same.
"This all started when I became frustrated with making my own fuel," Halterman says. "It was time-consuming and surely not saving me money, but I was passionate about it and wanted to continue using biodiesel. Stopping my 50-gallon batches would mean that I'd have to stop refueling my vehicles since there was only one station-Pearson Fuels-in San Diego selling biodiesel. This was too far away.
Meanwhile, Halterman, a former professional skateboarder who held full-time positions in various corporate management and consulting roles, reached out to the market and spoke to friends, everyday consumers, companies and organizations such as the San Diego Padres and Legoland that care about the environment and product choices available. They all loved the idea of biodiesel but wondered, "Where can I get it?"
"Through my desire to make biodiesel more available to companies and consumers, Buster Biofuels was born," Halterman says.
Since late 2009, Buster Biofuels has been growing its feedstock collection base in the San Diego area with the mission to reclaim, recycle and refuel. "Since we were handicapped and unable to make biodiesel at a facility of our own, we chose to launch a pilot program to prove our ability to fulfill our mission," Halterman tells Biodiesel Magazine. The company outsourced production to a few biodiesel plants, which enabled it to deliver fuel in limited volumes to select, local entities such as the Padres, Legoland California and San Dieguito Union High School District. "We figured it wasn't going to make us any money at the time, but it was about showing both ourselves and our alliances that it was possible and within our means, no matter what adversity stood in front of us," he says. "It definitely boosted company morale at a time when our in-house plant was not in the foreseeable future." He says, in the end, it was fun creating marketing videos with key companies and individuals who believed in Buster Biofuels' entrepreneurial spirit.
Today Buster Biofuels' feedstock collection has spread to Los Angeles, and the company is nearing the end of a construction project that will establish the first enzymatic biodiesel production facility on the West Coast. Construction officially began in October 2013 when Buster Biofuels broke ground for the concrete foundation on which its "tank jungle" was built. "I call it a tank jungle because real estate was extremely tight and our tanks are tall and skinny," Halterman says. Nearly two years before a shovel was put in the ground though, Halterman had selected Tactical Fabrication to build his plant.
"At the time we were contacted, Buster had already completed the site selection and was working on his infrastructure and other permitting," says Franklin "Frankie" Mathis, owner and CEO of Tactical Fabrication. "Our scope was limited to the process vessels involving methanol recovery, glycerin separation and similar processes. We began designing Buster's facility as a traditional project." During this period, Tactical Fabrication had also begun working with Stuart, Florida-based Viesel Fuel LLC, a biodiesel producer seeking early entry into enzymatic biodiesel production partnering with Danish enzyme maker Novozymes.
Tactical Fabrication entered the biodiesel space in 2005 as a result of Hurricane Katrina. The two principals, Franklin and his son Garrett, were given the responsibility to ensure regular fuel supplies for a contractor who was providing demolition and emergency infrastructure repair in Louisiana. Petroleum fuels were hard to obtain and deliveries were irregular. To help solve this problem, the two partnered with a small biodiesel producer outside of the destruction zone and quickly learned how to improve the efficiency and quality of the biodiesel, increasing production to a level that could meet the needs of the contractor. "In a matter of weeks we had converted a 6,000-gallon-per-week plant into a nearly 10,000-gallon-per-day plant," Mathis says. "That experience, together with the need for renewable and sustainable energy supplies, led Tactical Fabrication to focus on biodiesel from that point forward."
Tactical Fabrication began by providing maintenance and support to its biodiesel clients, but as its experience became more varied and its knowledge increased, the company began constructing, fabricating and assembling vessels and expanding existing plants. "Tactical Fabrication has now grown to a point where we have the ability to fabricate and erect entire biodiesel plants," Mathis says. "Further, all vessels we construct or plants we build can be fully automated." Tactical Fabrication has provided its services to biodiesel clients in the U.S., Europe and South America, including Patriot Biodiesel, Triangle Biofuels Industries, Coastal Biofuels Inc., Synergy Biofuels, Mother Earth Energy Inc. and EBM Technologies, to name a few.
Halterman says at the end of 2011, Tactical Fabrication brought to his attention Viesel Fuel and its progressive direction with an enzymatic process. "Our original equipment and design has always kept enzymatic in mind in hopes that we could incorporate it, if and when the process seemed commercially ready," Halterman says, adding that lines of communication were kept open between Viesel Fuel, Tactical Fabrication and his team. This meant project updates from both sides and multiple site visits. "Eventually, it just made sense for us all to commit to each other and the enzymatic process on the West Coast," he says. Mathis adds, "The enzymatic process being developed by Viesel is so cutting-edge and state-of-the-art that we redesigned Buster's facility to be enzymatic."
Mathis says, after years of experimentation and testing with Novozymes, Viesel Fuel and with the assistance of Purolite Corp., "We were able to improve the enzymatic process using a proprietary resin whereby no caustics are used and the FFA are converted to biodiesel with a minimum of losses. There is no question in our minds that this is the cutting-edge technology for the manufacture of biodiesel."
In December, Novozymes announced it is making its Eversa enzymatic solution commercially available to the industry after years of working with select plants to prove out the technology. "Viesel actually developed the final version of the enzymatic process using the Eversa enzymes," says Stu Lamb, CEO of Viesel Fuel. "We have been working almost exclusively with Novozymes to perfect this process," on which Lamb says Viesel has a patent pending.
Feedstock quality has long been an issue in biodiesel production. Tactical Fabrication developed a mechanical pretreatment process to make low-quality feedstock suitable for the enzymatic process. Water and high free fatty acid (FFA) content are not problems for enzymatic processing as they are for base chemical catalysis. Mathis says Tactical Fabrication has also developed a mechanical treatment for sulfur removal so even feedstock high in sulfur, such as brown grease, can be used in the enzymatic process.
"Since most of the other elements of a traditional biodiesel plant are similar to an enzymatic plant, we can install this new process in existing facilities relatively seamlessly," Mathis says. "Upon conversion, the enzymatic process runs at an operating temperature of approximately 95 degrees Fahrenheit, which is a fraction of the energy requirements of a traditional plant. Further, there are no high pressure operations as most of the enzymatic processes function at atmospheric pressure with no special tank or mixing requirements. The downstream polishing process is very traditional in requiring methanol recovery, glycerin separation, and ion exchange, which all traditional plants do now."
Lamb says the capital costs for equipment using the enzymes are far less than conventional plants, but the operating costs are about the same. "The real savings is being able to use cheaper, high-FFA feedstocks such a brown grease, fish oil and more," Lamb says. "In many cases, these feedstocks are $1 per gallon cheaper than conventional feedstocks such as used cooking oil or soybean oil. And the return on investment is remarkable."
Tactical Fabrication built its functioning skids in Georgia and transported them to San Diego for installation and commissioning at Buster Biofuels. "These skids make it possible to plug into a traditional facility, install the enzymatic process or otherwise expand a facility, and then dramatically increase production," Mathis says.
While Viesel Fuel spin-off company Viesel Skunk Works LLC and Tactical Fabrication have recently developed a continuous flow enzymatic process, Buster Biofuels is utilizing a modified batch approach.
In addition to Tactical Fabrication, Buster Biofuels is using equipment from vendors including Eaton, Parker Boiler, Autrol and Central Valley Tank. Mathis says beyond Novozymes, Viesel Fuel and Purolite, his other partners include Industrial South for automation and attorney James M. Vernon for legal support. The principals of Tactical Fabrication are also involved and have an ownership interest with Vernon in the Florida-based engineering firm Renewable Fuel Consultants and Engineers Inc., which provides full site and process engineering services
Buster Biofuels will be the first commercial-scale facility to use the Viesel Enzymatic Process, and the first enzymatic plant on the West Coast. Lamb says while Buster Biofuels is the first plant installing its process, it's not the only one. "We are working on a 20 MMgy project in Boston as well as a 10 MMgy plant in Indiana," he says. When asked why Buster Biofuels ultimately decided to go enzymatic, Halterman says, "Our engineers and the Buster Biofuels team were continually challenged by traditional esterification. My partner Brian Sachau and I wanted to get on board with a more advanced process instead of traditional esterification and transesterification. We detested the thought of using sulfuric acid-from a safety and environmental perspective-and being selective in our feedstock purchasing due to FFA restrictions. I would say these two things were driving forces that helped us make the decision."
To help make Buster Biofuels' vision of operating a cutting-edge plant in San Diego a reality, the company received a $2.64 million grant from the California Energy Commission in 2013 to help construct its 5 MMgy facility. "Since we were self-funded to date, the CEC grant enabled us to pull the trigger on construction and surely gave our private investors and owners more confidence in Buster Biofuels' vertically integrated model," Halterman says.
The road Halterman has taken from his days of homebrewing and gauging the market years ago to nearly completing his advanced biodiesel processing facility has been a long one. "We have been growing with this foundation and desire as best we can at what seems to be a snail's pace as we bounce with the political and regulatory punches," he says. "Our mission is 'Reclaim, Recycle, Refuel.' This mission, or vision, gives us purpose on a daily basis."
The most important lessons Halterman and Sachau have learned about building a biodiesel plant are patience and perseverance. "This is one of the most challenging things that my partner and I have ever taken on," Halterman says. "I, personally, have learned that staying true to what you believe in is the best policy. In other words, keep the eyes on the prize. Sadly, and unfortunately, in the past five years-more than ever-I've learned that most businesses and most people think first and foremost about the mighty dollar instead of doing the right thing. It seems obvious that most are driven by money, right? However, it is a whole new level running a 'green' business that often requires educating and recruiting support from the mainstream. It is crazy how many people just don't care about the environment or doing the right thing. I'm sorry, but doing the right thing is rarely cheaper-and I can almost guarantee it won't be convenient."
Author: Ron Kotrba, Editor, Biodiesel Magazine, 218-745-8347, email@example.com
Note: This article was published in the 2015 Edition of Biodiesel Magazine: View the original article here: http://biodieselmagazine.com/articles/265452/realizing-the-vision-to-reclaim-recycle-refuel.
(National Biodiesel Board)
Consumers Everyday Tasks Help Cut Carbon on National Biodiesel Day
America's Advanced Biofuel "Plants" 1.9 Billion Trees
March 18, 2015
Since 2004, 8.2 billion gallons of biodiesel have replaced petroleum diesel to cut 75.5 million metric tons of carbon pollution. That's the equivalent of removing 15.9 million cars from American roadways OR planting 1.9 carbon-absorbing trees
OR preserving 61.9 million acres of mature forests.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - Today is National Biodiesel Day, and there is much to celebrate!
National Biodiesel Day is celebrated on March 18 -- the anniversary of Rudolf Diesel's birthday. Diesel, born in 1858, was a true pioneer. When Diesel developed the first diesel engine it ran on a biofuel, peanut oil. In fact, he envisioned a time when vegetable oils would one day be as important as petroleum among transportation fuels.
In the U.S. today, diesel engines move approximately 90 percent of the nation's goods. Last year nearly 1.8 billion gallons of cleaner burning biodiesel was in the mix, replacing petroleum diesel, and working with clean diesel technology to reduce carbon emissions even further. As a result, consumers, just doing what they do - buying stuff, eating stuff, using stuff - helped support biodiesel and reduce carbon.
But those who want to do more to support the advanced biofuel can. It is as easy as joining the Biodiesel Alliance. Alliance members range from farmers to fleet managers, and from trade organizations to municipal agencies and local businesses. Biodiesel Alliance members have easy access to news and information about biodiesel and related topics. Sign up is free and a click away.
"Biodiesel works behinds the scenes to deliver a better alternative. It is here now, working today across the country to improve our environment, support our economy and protect energy security," said Steven J. Levy, Chairman for the National Biodiesel Board. "It is impressive what we have achieved in ten years and clear that responsible policy and industry innovation is working to expand access to America's Advanced Biofuel while benefitting consumers."
New Oregon Gov Ends Sunset on Clean Fuels Law
Posted on March 16, 2015 by John Davis
The new governor in Oregon has signed a measure that ends the sunset on the state's clean fuels law, something which is seen as a boost to biodiesel and ethanol on the West Coast. Governor Kate Brown cited global warming concerns and neighboring areas' own rules on alternative energy for signing the Clean Fuels legislation:
"I strongly support SB 324's goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It is difficult to deny that we are seeing the effects of a warming planet. This year, 85 percent of our state is experiencing drought, with 33 percent experiencing extreme drought. This directly impacts 1.5 million
Oregonians, hitting our rural communities the hardest. With California, Washington, and British Columbia moving forward with their own clean fuels programs, which will shape the West Coast market, it is imperative not only that Oregon does its part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions but also that we build a program that meets the needs of Oregonians.
"I appreciate the years of work by countless Oregonians who helped develop this law, and I applaud the Oregon Legislature for its thorough examination of these issues. The work begins now to ensure this program is well implemented and well managed."
The measure ending the sunset of the Clean Fuels program passed by a very narrow margin in the state legislature. It also comes on the heels of the Oregon Environmental Quality Commission approving earlier this year phase two of the Oregon Clean Fuels Program. The new rules, developed by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, went into effect February 1st.
Biodiesel Industry Weighs in on Clean Cities Program Strategic Plan
This month, CBA submitted a letter in support of comments from the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) to the Department of Energy's Clean Cities Program weighing in on the Clean Cities Program strategic plan. NBB participated in the DOE Clean Cities five-year strategic planning meeting in Washington, DC, and as a follow-up the comments were focused on strengthening the role of and support for biodiesel.
According to NBB, recent Clean Cities funding opportunities have disproportionately benefited other alternative fuels and have not included funding for needed infrastructure, educational tools, training and outreach that support biodiesel. See the Clean Cities website for more information on the Strategic Planning Workshop and to download the briefing paper, Status and Issues for Biodiesel in the United States, and the biodiesel presentation.
Biodiesel industry members are encouraged to send their Clean Cities coordinators content on biodiesel including new fleets, facility openings, and other developments of note. It's free press and outreach and a way to help coalitions provide more material on biodiesel. Click here to find your Clean Cities Coordinator.
NBB continues to work with regional coordinators across the country to leverage biodiesel information with their stakeholders and CBA looks forward to further engagement with Clean Cities going forward.
CALIFORNIA INDUSTRY NEWS
Propel Launches North America's First Retail Rollout of High Performance Renewable Diesel Fuel
Propel's Diesel "HPR" Outshines Petroleum Diesel in Performance, Emissions and Value
SACRAMENTO, CA (March 18, 2015) - Propel Fuels (propelfuels.com) has launched California's most advanced diesel fuel: Diesel HPR (High Performance Renewable) at Propel locations across Northern California. Propel's Diesel HPR uses Neste Oil's (nesteoil.com) NEXBTL renewable diesel, a low-carbon renewable fuel that meets petroleum diesel specifications for use in diesel engines while realizing the benefits of better performance and lower emissions.
Diesel HPR will be available at 18 Propel locations in Sacramento, San Jose, East Bay, Redwood City and Fresno. Locations, directions and real time pricing can be found on Propel's mobile app available in the Android and Apple app stores. A complete list of locations is also available at dieselhpr.com/locations.
"Diesel HPR exceeds conventional diesel in power, performance and value," said Rob Elam, CEO and Co-Founder of Propel. "Propel is committed to offering Californians the most advanced low carbon fuels that meet our high standards for quality and value."
Incorporating diesel refined from renewable biomass through Neste Oil's advanced hydrotreating technology called NEXBTL, Diesel HPR meets the toughest specifications required by automotive and engine manufacturers, enabling the fuel to be used by any diesel vehicle.
Diesel HPR is designated as ASTM D-975, the standard for all ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel in the U.S., and is recognized as "CARB diesel" by the California Air Resources Board. Diesel HPR provides increased engine power and torque, as well as significant reduction in harmful tailpipe emissions, NOx emissions and particulates (PM).
"This renewable diesel joins a growing suite of new, cleaner transportation fuels in California thanks to our Low Carbon Fuel Standard and forward thinking companies like Propel," said California Air Resources Board Chairman Mary D. Nichols.
"We are pleased to see the introduction of a low carbon fuel at California retail fueling stations," said Tim Olson, Energy Resources Manager for the California Energy Commission. "Our state needs several options to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector and this cooperation between Propel Fuels and Neste Oil provides a tremendous opportunity to de-carbonize diesel fuel and help achieve our climate change goals."
According to the U.S. Department of Energy's Alternative Fuels Data Center, renewable diesel's high combustion quality results in similar or better vehicle performance compared to conventional diesel, while California Air Resources Board studies show that renewable diesel can reach up to 70 percent greenhouse gas reduction compared to petroleum diesel.
"As California continues to lead the world in clean fuels, we need to insure that the benefits are shared by everyone. Renewable diesel provides significant immediate reductions in emissions that damage our health and change our climate, providing lasting health benefits for the disadvantaged communities that currently suffer the most from petroleum diesel pollution," says Bill Magavern Policy Director for the Coalition for Clean Air.
"We congratulate Propel Fuels on their initiative to introduce Diesel HPR to consumers in California and are excited to be their supplier of choice with our NEXBTL renewable diesel," said Kaisa Hietala, Neste Oil's Executive Vice President of Renewable Products Business Area. "NEXBTL renewable diesel reduces emissions as well as enhances engine performance leading to lower maintenance and service costs. It also has excellent low-temperature properties which result in better vehicle reliability during the winter," continues Hietala.
Another milestone for the introduction of a new, low carbon fuel in the United States
SAN DIEGO, Calif. (February 26, 2015) Oberon Fuels, Inc. ("Oberon"), the first company to produce fuel-grade dimethyl ether ("DME") in North America, announced today that DME is now approved for use as vehicle fuel in the state of California. This latest approval builds on earlier approvals and ongoing work by other regulatory bodies, including the US Environmental Protection Agency, the California Air Resources Board, and ASTM International, and will help accelerate commercial adoption of this low carbon fuel.
"The use of fuels like DME will reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, improve air quality and lead to a positive impact on California and the environment," said Kristin Macey, director of the Division of Measurement Standards at the California Department of Food and Agriculture, which issued the latest approval of DME fuel.
DME is a clean-burning, non-toxic fuel that can be derived from renewable sources. Its high cetane number and quiet combustion, as well as its inexpensive propane-like fueling system, make it an excellent, inexpensive diesel alternative.
"The State of California's approval builds upon the growing body of certifications that demonstrate DME is a low carbon fuel that meets both industry standards for performance and environmental standards for compliance," said Rebecca Boudreaux, Ph.D., president of Oberon Fuels. "These approvals are a key step in increasing confidence among distributors, engine manufacturers and fleet owners that DME is ready for commercial markets, which will benefit Oberon as we build out a global supply of DME fuel."
The State of California's legalization of DME for use as vehicle fuel is the latest milestone for the growing DME industry. Earlier this month, the California Air Resources Board published their Multimedia Assessment Tier 1 report on DME, which evaluates publicly available data on the effect of DME on air, soil, and water.
Last August, the EPA approved biogas-based DME for inclusion under the Renewable Fuel Standard and made it eligible for Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) credits based on EPA findings that the fuel achieves a 68 percent reduction in greenhouse gases.
In February 2014, ASTM International, a globally recognized organization that develops technical standards, released a specification for DME as a fuel. ASTM D7901 provides guidance for fuel producers, engine and component suppliers, and infrastructure developers on DME purity, testing, safety, and handling.
"This certification is a major step forward in developing the market for DME, especially for California-based heavy-duty fleets," said Susan Alt, Volvo Group North America's senior vice president of public affairs, which has been collaborating with Oberon on commercial vehicle demonstrations. "Volvo Trucks is continuing to invest in DME because it delivers diesel-like performance with propane-like handling and will provide a faster ROI for truck customers than other alternative fuels. Each certification increases their confidence that the fuel is good for trucks and the environment."
Clean Diesel, Hybrid Registrations Post Double-Digit Gains
March 19, 2015
Clean diesel car and SUV vehicle registrations increased by 13.5 percent in 2014 over 2013, while hybrid car and SUV registrations increased by 15.1 percent, according to the latest data compiled by IHS Automotive for the Diesel Technology Forum.
California (23.74 percent), Massachusetts (21.01 percent), and Nevada (17.76 percent) were the fastest-growing states for registrations of clean diesel cars and SUVs in 2014, the forum announced.
Large population states Texas (893,553), California (650,252), and Florida (333,593) were the top states with the highest number of diesel car, SUV, pickup truck, and van registrations in 2014. These three states were also the top states in 2013 registrations.
California was the only state with more hybrid registrations (826,468) than diesel registrations in 2014. Nearly every state and the District of Columbia showed increases in diesel and hybrid registrations in 2014 compared to 2013 - except Georgia, which displayed a 4.6 decrease in hybrid registrations.
The analysis looked at registration data for cars, SUVs, pickup trucks, and vans