4 Ways Biodiesel Can Improve Fleet Performance


Biodiesel has positive effects on engines – so much so that every Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) in the U.S. producing diesel vehicles approves of biodiesel blends up to 5 percent (known as B5) And, according to Biodiesel.org, nearly all medium- and heavy-duty truck OEMs support the use of B20 blends with their products.

 Here are four ways biodiesel helps improve fleet performance:

1. Cetane — The ASTM specification for biodiesel requires a minimum Cetane number of 47. The ASTM diesel spec is 40. Higher Cetane equals a shorter ignition time and better performance.

2. Lubricity — Removing the sulfur in diesel fuel to create ULSD took most of the lubricity out of the fuel. Blending as little as 2% biodiesel replaces that lubricity. This is critical for performance. Modern diesel engines rely on fuel to aid in the lubricating process and provide protection against wear and damage. Proper lubricity management can also help engines run smoother, cooler and more quietly.

3. Drop-in fuel — Biodiesel blends don’t require any vehicle or infrastructure upgrades. Want to start running your tractor trailer or work truck on B20? Just pump it into your tank.     

4. Lower carbon intensity — Biodiesel is a lower-carbon fuel with significantly lower emissions than ULSD. That’s important for fleets with sustainability goals of their own or that haul goods for customers with reduced emission plans. It also may be a requirement for fleets that operate in jurisdictions with carbon-reduction policies, like the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) Programs in California and the Clean Fuels Program in Oregon.

First-hand results

Ruan Transportation Management Systems, headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa, started running its fleet on biodiesel blends in 2016.

“Ruan wants to help reduce emissions,” says Steve Larsen, the company’s Director of Procurement and Fuel. “We are also very customer-focused, and a lot of our customers have sustainability goals, and we want to support them by being a cleaner supplier."

Ruan’s fleet of 4,000 tractors and 9,500 trailers travels over 350 million miles per year. The cost savings and performance benefits of biodiesel are evident, and Larsen hopes to continue biodiesel use at Ruan.

 “At this point, I’m going to be more surprised if I hear somebody is running vehicles that don’t have biodiesel, especially Class 8 trucks,” Larsen says. “For Ruan, it simply comes down to emissions reductions, strong performance and cost savings.”

Learn more about the company’s experience with biodiesel by watching this short case study video.




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