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.

Service Tech Sees 'Huge Difference' With Bioheat® Fuel

If Steven Calvaruso hasn’t seen it all in the heating oil industry, then he’s seen darn near all of it.

He’s been a heating system service technician in New York City since 1984. Calvaruso wasn’t expecting much of a change when his employer, Cohler Fuel Oil Co. in Brooklyn, switched a few years ago from traditional heating oil to heating oil with biodiesel blended into it — a product known as Bioheat® blended fuel.

"Bioheat fuel maintains consumer independence from the big utilities, and it has the safety, comfort and service advantages that traditional oil heat has been known for but is so much cleaner and is the gateway to a renewable energy future."
Steven Calvaruso, Cohler Fuel Oil Co.

He was wrong

“As a technician, I noticed a huge difference in the equipment and how it ran,” Calvaruso says. “I explain to customers that it is a wonderful product compared to what they were using.”

Bioheat blended fuel helps fight what Calvaruso considers the No. 1 problem affecting the efficiency of a heating system: carbon accumulation on the surfaces of heat exchangers.

“Since we started using biodiesel, there's been a noticeable drop-off in carbon-related service calls and of carbon on the heat exchanger surfaces,” he says. “They've been much cleaner, and that translates into better efficiency for the system. That makes everybody happy — customers and us.”

The switch to Bioheat blended fuel from traditional heating oil is simple, according to Calvaruso. Heating systems require no equipment modifications. In the first few months, filters need to be changed more frequently, but that’s because the biodiesel is cleaning out the carbon left behind by traditional heating oil. After the first season or so, oil filters are much cleaner for customers who have their burners tuned-up every year.

Residential users also are eligible for a state tax credit for using biodiesel blends. Cohler Fuel Oil delivers a B5 blend to its customers. The results have been so impressive that Cohler Fuel Oil owner Allan Cohn is advocating for a pilot program to encourage Bioheat blended fuel usage and heating oil–compatible systems in new homes and those in need of new heating equipment.

Bioheat fuel is the future

Bioheat blended fuel is a hit with Cohler Fuel Oil customers. And who can blame them? They have cleaner-burning systems that require less service because of an environmentally friendly fuel that also carries a financial incentive.

"I explain to customers the benefits of using biodiesel and how it translates to a more efficient system and how that, in turn, translates to savings for them. That, of course makes them very happy. So the customers have had an overwhelmingly positive attitude towards it."
Steven Calvaruso, Cohler Fuel Oil Co

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