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Department of Energy hosts Sustainable Transportation Day

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

The latest near zero emissions and fuel savings technologies were put on display at the US Department of Energy's Sustainable Transportation Day, which was held on 22 June at the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

According to research commissioned by the Diesel Technology Forum, almost one in four heavy duty vehicles ranging from large pickups, to first responder vehicles, urban delivery trucks to large Class 8 tractors are powered by an engine that meets or exceeds the US Environmental Protection Agency's emissions standards for model year 2010.

"Manufacturers have deployed fuel savings technologies along with advanced near zero emission technologies that have saved 21 million bbls of crude oil and reduced carbon emissions by 9 million t since 2010, while eliminating 1.5 million t of emissions of oxides of nitrogen (NOx)," said Allen Schaeffer, Executive Director of the Diesel Technology Forum.

Diesel as a sustainable transportation option

Diesel engines found in vehicles ranging from passenger vehicles all the way to large tractors are capable of operating on blends of high quality, bio based fuel, including biodiesel.

"The US Environmental Protection Agency considers biodiesel an advanced biofuel meaning it delivers at least fifty percent reduction in carbon emissions. Most heavy duty diesel engines are capable of operating on blends up to 20% of biodiesel illustrating that the diesel power train is part of any strategy to reduce fuel use and carbon emissions," said Schaeffer.

Second generation biofuels

Recent announcements from Neste, the leading producer of second generation renewable diesel, in addition to a collaboration between Audi and Sunfire, a renewable diesel fuel producer, show promise for the future of emerging biobased diesel fuels. Second generation renewable diesel fuels further reduce carbon emissions while also improving emissions including NOX, a smog forming compound.

"We were excited to learn about Neste's announcement of a driving challenge across the entire country on just one tank of renewable diesel," Schaeffer said. "This impressive feat will be yet another major demonstration of the fuel efficiency capabilities of the diesel engine that can be further enhanced when running on blends of renewable diesel fuel.

"Renewable diesel fuel is also showing its potential to enhance fuel economy along with near zero emissions technologies as the recent collaboration between Audi and Sunfire demonstrate," said Schaffer. The synthetic e-diesel, which is being developed, is free from sulfur and aromatic hydrocarbons, and its high cetane number means it is readily ignitable. It is suitable for admixing with fossil diesel or, prospectively, for use as a fuel in its own right, according to Audi and Sunfire.

"While e-diesel is still in the research stage, it is another example of the remarkable advancements in developing cleaner and more efficient diesel fuels further contributing to diesel's sustainability credentials" Schaeffer said.

Adapted from press release by Rosalie Starling

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