With goals of reducing vehicle emissions, extending engine life and meeting federal air quality provisions, Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp. has introduced an alternative fuel in all of its diesel-powered vehicles. B20 biodiesel, a mixture of 80% petroleum diesel fuel and 20% soybean oil, began fueling Central Hudson’s fleet in early June.
“The time is right for Central Hudson to use this alternative fuel,” said Carl E. Meyer, President and Chief Operating Officer. “Over the course of the past several years, the refinement and development of biodiesel has improved in terms of its quality, availability and acceptance in the transportation industry. We also recognized that this fuel has a proven track record and has no negative impact on the operation of diesel engines.”
B20 biodiesel is registered as an alternative fuel and fuel additive with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and meets the requirements of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). Central Hudson is taking advantage of a new biofuel terminal in Albany, NY where many grades of blended biodiesel can be purchased. “So far the transition to biodiesel has been seamless and we expect to use it in the foreseeable future,” Meyer said.
While the cost is about the same as petroleum diesel, biodiesel has less of an impact on the environment. According to the national statistics, the use of B20 in conventional diesel engines reduces unburned hydrocarbons by 20%, carbon monoxide by 12%, and particulate matter by 12%. “In addition to the better environmental results, biodiesel has a beneficial impact on diesel engines because it adds more lubricity than petroleum diesel,” Meyer noted.
Using biodiesel has other benefits for Central Hudson, which follows the utility fleet provisions of the Energy Policy Act of 1992. To meet the alternative vehicle requirement of this legislation, Central Hudson may operate existing heavy-duty vehicles on blends of biodiesel.“Using biodiesel allows us to continue to serve our customers reliably, and at the same time benefits the environment,” Meyer said. “We see it as a winning solution.”