Biodiesel Driving Business to National Fleet

The sustainability trend has swept across the transportation and fuel industries in recent years. Biodiesel has helped G&D Integrated, a for-hire carrier, meet its own environmental goals and win business. 

Helping the Environment and Profits

G&D Integrated has found that sustainability is not only about its own goals, but also what it can do to meet its customers’ goals to be environmentally friendly.

“We’ve noticed that there are more and more customers asking us to participate in their sustainability efforts,” says Vince Buonassi, group manager of transportation programs at the for-hire carrier. “We’ve actually been awarded freight based on our biodiesel usage.”

Those customers are found worldwide and do business in heavy equipment manufacturing and parts fulfillment, agricultural machinery, automotive parts and components, food containers and food packaging.

Located in central Illinois, G&D Integrated’s services include transportation, warehousing, and distribution and logistics. On the transportation side, it offers point-to-point hauling, dedicated contract carriage, ocean container drayage and freight brokerage.

Its fleet of 430 vehicles travels up to 26 million miles annually. The diesel-powered units run year-round on a blend of 20 percent biodiesel and 80 percent petroleum diesel, which is known as B20.

Biodiesel has been key not only in the company’s sustainability efforts but also in growing its business. For instance, biodiesel usage is showing up in some RFPs and, Buonassi says, has been “directly related” to the company winning bids. It also has helped G&D Integrated strengthen its relationship with East Coast ports that want to reduce their carbon footprint.

“Many of our customers analyze their entire supply chain for environmental impact, and some have even gone as far as incorporating sustainability into their purchasing departments,” he says.

Significant carbon reduction

The reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from G&D’s use of biodiesel is equal to nearly 230,000 fewer gallons of gasoline consumed each year. Particulate matter is reduced by 2,854 pounds annually. The numbers come from the B20 Club, a program from the Illinois Soybean Association and the American Lung Association.

“We’re talking a material difference here,” Buonassi says.

G&D Integrated started using biodiesel several years ago after its fuel supplier, Ag-Land FS Inc., introduced the company to the fuel.

“They were claiming that this product would not only cost us less money but also would not result in any efficiency losses,” Buonassi says.

He has found that to be true and says biodiesel has not caused G&D Integrated to increase its rates.

Fuel that performs

G&D Integrated started with a B11 blend before quickly moving up to B20. Each time, it rigorously tested the fuel.

“What we observed was there was absolutely zero degradation in performance,” Buonassi says.

In fact, biodiesel added lubricity. It has also performed well in cold weather. Buonassi credits partnering with a quality vendor like Ag-Land FS to getting a good product. The fuel comes from REG.

“A company like REG has production facilities that make top-of-the-line, quality-controlled biodiesel,” he says. “And they’re sourcing different forms of feedstock that go through testing before being converted to the end product.”

It’s an end product that Buonassi credits with helping G&D Integrated stay ahead of the curve.

“There’s really no sense in fighting the tide of sustainability,” he says. “A lot of other truck carriers will. At G&D, we feel it's our duty to be good environmental custodians, and it makes business sense for us.”

The Bottom Line

Environment

G&D Integrated's biodiesel use reduces:

  • Carbon dioxide emissions by the equivalent of 230,000 gallons of gasoline annually
  • More than 2,800 pounds of particulate matter

Performance

No drop in fleet performance compared with petroleum diesel.
Uses up to a B20 blend in cold weather.

Business

G&D Integrated has been awarded business because of biodiesel use.

Watch: G&D Integrated Explains Biodiesel Benefits

Before G&D Integrated fully embraced biodiesel, it extensively tested how it's fleet performed. See the results.

How Proactive Tank Management Promotes Better Quality Fuel

Ag-Land FS, Inc., provides more than 1,000,000 gallons of reliable biodiesel every year thanks to an integrated quality assurance process.

Clean tanks are critical to biodiesel’s success.

John Papenhause, energy consultant at Ag-Land FS, Inc., believes that a successful biodiesel blended fuel program begins with clean tanks.

“If you have existing bulk plant storage tanks, I strongly recommend thoroughly cleaning the tanks,” says Papenhause. “Next, make sure your customer fuel tanks are clean.”

The Ag-Land FS sales team inspects and cleans customer fuel storage tanks before biodiesel blended fuel or straight No. 2 ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) is delivered to a farm or commercial account. Then they inspect customer tanks twice annually — in the spring and fall — to proactively identify potential issues.

“If we make sure that tanks are good and clean, we know we’re not going to have problems downstream,” says Papenhause. “There are a lot of ins and outs related to tank maintenance, and it cannot be taken for granted. We make the effort to check the tanks. If we need to clean them, we clean them.”

Fuel filtering leads to higher quality products.

Ag-Land FS goes one step further to ensure they deliver the highest quality fuel by filtering all fuel in and out of their bulk plant using a 10-micron filter. Plus, they added filters to delivery trucks, ensuring the biodiesel blended fuel delivered to customers meets their strict quality standards.

Front line employee training is key to customer relationships.

Ag-Land FS provides training on biodiesel to their sales team and delivery truck drivers. Because they are on the front line with customers, it’s critical that they understand every aspect of the biodiesel program.

“From our perspective, the training wasn’t difficult,” says Papenhause. “We demonstrated that we’re bringing in a quality product, the B99 is stored in a heated tank, the blended fuel was going into clean tanks, and it would be filtered in and out of the bulk plant and delivery trucks. The sales and delivery team trusted us, and we followed through on our commitment. That’s what has led to our success.”

"Back in 2002, we began offering biodiesel blended fuel to our customers and it was so new that we had to handle the biodiesel in 5 gallon buckets. We’ve learned a lot over the years, and we strive to ensure we maintain stringent fuel standards."
John Papenhause, Energy Management Specialist, Ag-Land FS, Inc. 

Yellow Arrow
LIKE WHAT YOU READ?

REG delivers insightful content like this to your inbox in our e-newsletters. Sign up today.