Q & A: How Biodiesel Can Reduce Lifecycle Carbon Emissions Now

We are exploring the benefits of biodiesel and how this lower carbon fuel solution can help reduce lifecycle carbon emissions right now. 

Dr. Dave Slade
Chief Technologist

Ivan Iazdi
Engine Business Strategy Director
Cummins Inc.

The world population has grown to nearly 8 billion people and is anticipated to reach 9 billion people by 2040. With that growth, global energy demand is expected to increase by 15% in the coming decades.1

That means all available fuel solutions will be needed in order to meet the increased demand for affordable energy. Biodiesel is one of those solutions.

Today, more companies are focusing on the environment and demonstrating scalable, lower carbon intensity business practices. They are looking at how lower carbon fuel solutions can help their companies reach lifecycle carbon emissions targets and also using them as a way to potentially gain and competitive edge in the marketplace.

As the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, commercial transportation is a critical segment in this paradigm shift.2

Logistics companies and shippers find themselves in the spotlight, tasked with leading the way in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.3

That’s why this is an exciting time for biodiesel and the various engine technologies that are playing a role in helping the transportation sector work toward their targets.

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Q: Biodiesel is available as a lower carbon fuel option for Cummins diesel products, but it’s really great to see even further commitment to renewable fuels for future Cummins products. What does that mean for biodiesel use in diesel engines today?

A: Dave Slade: Biodiesel is commonly seen as having a limited-blend opportunity to play.

Chevron has been proving that biodiesel can be blended at almost any level with both traditional petroleum diesel and renewable diesel.

We are grateful that Cummins is willing to go along with us on this journey and look into the possibility of getting more biodiesel out into fleets today.

I think that companies often consider long-term options, but biodiesel is really the one option that’s available today in quantities that haven’t yet been exploited.

So, we consider 20% biodiesel blended into petroleum diesel, which is commonly known as B20, to be a level that many people are comfortable with today.

Cummins is already there with recommending B20 in their products, which is great, but we’re looking to find ways—for those in areas where biodiesel is available — to use more than 20%.

We don’t see 20% as a blend wall, in the way that is sometimes associated with ethanol having a blend wall. We think this is really just a preferential limit based on historical fuel quality. What’s been great in North America is that we’ve seen the modern quality of biodiesel actually surpass anything that could have been imagined 15 years ago.

Q: How does Cummins see the benefit of using biodiesel in your engines and what role does this fuel play in your Destination Zero strategy?

A: Ivan Iazdi: Cummins’ Destination Zero strategy is all about decarbonization. Cummins business, as a whole on the engine side, is introducing new engines to help accelerate carbon reduction.

Internal combustion engine, or ICE technologies, are an important transitory step for the trucking industry.

Cummins will be launching our fuel-agnostic engines and, in the coming years ,will support Destination Zero to deliver a product to help customers reduce emissions as part of the fuel-agnostic platforms. We have kept a focus on advanced diesel solutions, and each of these diesel engines benefit our acceleration to zero emissions by continuing to meet stringent emissions regulations and providing a familiar technology for customers.

The reduction of emissions from these engines is amplified with the use of biodiesel that will be available on future platforms and has actually been available with our on-highway products dating back to 2007.

We do not see decarbonization as a “light switch” event; we need to take advantage of the opportunities that are available now.

Key highlights from this webcast:

  • Biodiesel is a standard offering in Cummins North American on-highway engines for past, present and even future products. Biodiesel blends up to B20 have been approved for use in Cummins engines dating back to 2007.
  • Chevron’s high-quality biodiesel can help lower lifecycle carbon emissions and can improve engine performance. Biodiesel is a drop in fuel solution that's available today.
  • Biodiesel can be blended at virtually any level with petroleum diesel and renewable diesel.


1 The energy transition needs solutions, scale and speed. Interview with Mike Wirth https://www.chevron.com/sustainability/environment/energy-transition

2 https://www.epa.gov/greenvehicles/fast-facts-transportation-greenhouse-gas-emissions.

3 https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/sources-greenhouse-gas-emissions#:~:text=Transportation%20(28%25%20of%202021%20greenhouse,ships%2C%20trains%2C %20and%20planes