Six Tips for Adding Biodiesel to Your Fuel RFP
Public entities at the local, state and federal level are expected to deliver and report on increasingly aggressive lower carbon targets each year — including GHG emissions reductions. With an estimated 27% of U.S. emissions coming from transportation, a big focus for many government entities is to reduce emissions from their fleets. This has led to more Requests for Proposals (RFPs) for alternative fuels such as biodiesel and renewable diesel. But not all suppliers are created equal, and an effectively written RFP can make all the difference.
Early in the RFP process, keep in mind that the best qualified supplier might not have the lowest bid. High-quality fuel and service are important factors to consider when choosing a supplier.
Here are six tips from Chris Schmale, Chevron Renewable Energy Group’s Senior Fuel Sales & Bid Administrator, to deliver an effective RFP.
Chevron Renewable Energy Group’s Senior Fuel Sales & Bid Administrator
1. Include the essential details in your RFP template
- Fuel delivery details: Include the location where you want the fuel to be delivered.
Gallons needed: List the total gallons to bid on, either based on an annual or monthly basis.
- Key dates: Be specific about when the RFP is due, awarded and when it begins.
- Storage tanks: Specify the number of storage tanks and gallons per tank in your bid. Also include location of the tanks, such as if they are outside tanks or inside tanks and whether the tanks are heated or unheated.
2. Keep biodiesel blend rates in mind
Allow some flexibility for blend rates. If you are bidding on No. 2 diesel, be sure to include the blend ratio for renewable fuels. For example, build in a component that allows for a biodiesel blend ratio of at least 20%. That provides an option to blend at higher rates if needed. This doesn’t mean all of your fuel will be a B20 biodiesel blend – some may be higher; some may be lower.
3. Keep communication open with the biofuel suppliers
Communication is important during the RFP process to ensure the time and resources of both parties are used efficiently. One way to make sure both parties are on the same page is to use an electronic communication format such as a web portal or email. This will make the process more efficient, improve accuracy and allow for quicker feedback.
4. Understand your fuel specifications
ASTM is the national minimum standard for No. 2 diesel fuel quality in most RFPs. Examples of specifications that should be bid on include:
- #1 Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel Fuel – ASTM D975-20c, or most current published specification
- #2 Low Sulfur Diesel Fuel – ASTM D975-20c, or most current published specification
- B6-B20 biodiesel fuel blends – ASTM D7467-20a, or most current published specification
- Magellan’s Cold Flow Improver Additive (X1) or approved equivalent
In California, fuel specifications should allow for renewable diesel and biodiesel blends of up to at least 20% — for instance, a blend of 80% renewable diesel and 20% biodiesel.
5. Consider rack location, or allow your fuel supplier to select for the best biodiesel price
You can choose either a rack location or terminal location to base your price on and include that information in your RFP. In larger metropolitan areas, there may be more than one location and multiple companies that supply rack pricing. However, it may be more advantageous to put in the bid requirements that the fuel supplier has the ability to find the most competitive pricing for you — something Chevron Renewable Energy Group can help with.
6. Consider the added value each fuel supplier provides
The value of a supplier partnership goes far beyond price. It’s important to include a section for the bidder to elaborate on the intangibles and value-added services they deliver in a partnership. There are a couple options for how to work this information into your RFP such as limiting the response to a text-only area having a word count restriction or allow attachments like specification sheets or sales collateral.
You may find that one vendor stands out in an area that puts them above the others such as one that offers flexible logistics, fuel testing services or access to fuel and fuel systems technical experts.
Frequently asked questions
Still not sure if you’re ready to incorporate biodiesel into your RFP? Check out this FAQ to get answers to some of the most common questions we get about the transition.
|How does biodiesel engine performance compare to petroleum diesel?
With biodiesel, your fleets can maintain performance year-round while lowering carbon emissions and managing costs. There are several engine performance benefits when using biodiesel:
- The ASTM specification for biodiesel requires a minimum Cetane number of 47, compared with the petroleum diesel spec of 40. Higher Cetane provides for a shorter ignition time which can lead to better performance.
- Biodiesel enhances the lubrication of engines and is easily blended with petroleum diesel.
- Biodiesel generates lower particulate matter, which can help reduce diesel particulate filter (DPF) clogging and regenerations — an impact that could reduce engine maintenance costs and increase longevity.
- Stringent ASTM standards and continuous product innovations have led to meeting and exceeding the specifications fleets need on fuel metals content, cold soak filterability, oxidation stability and more
|Biodiesel in cold weather – how does it perform?
Biodiesel can be a year-round fuel. Fleets have driven millions of miles in cold weather on biodiesel blends up to B20. Proper storage, handling and additive use can help fleets run confidently on biodiesel blends during the winter.
Check out our cold weather resource guide for more information.
|Will biodiesel void our OEM warranty?
All major OEMs support up to B5, meaning the fuel is 5% biodiesel and 95% petroleum diesel. Nearly 90% of medium- and heavy-duty truck OEMs support B20 biodiesel without any sort of biodiesel conversion kit needed.
|How can we maintain fuel quality during biodiesel storage?
After you have purchased quality biodiesel from an accredited producer, there are steps you can take to maintain product quality — and it starts with clean tanks. Clean tanks are critical, both for your business and your customers.
- Clean, inspect and repair your tanks before filling with biodiesel blended fuel. Have older tanks cleaned professionally to remove particles and deposits that might contaminate the fuel supply.
- Keep storage tanks and fuel systems water-free at all times. Water can promote fuel system corrosion and microbial growth, which can compromise fuel quality.
- Monitor hoses, fills, vents, seals and gaskets for leaks.
- Check tanks monthly for water by obtaining a tank bottom sample. A sample should be taken before and after every fuel delivery — especially if fuel is not delivered frequently.
|Can you use biodiesel in a regular diesel engine?
Biodiesel blends and renewable diesel are drop-in solutions that work in virtually all petroleum diesel engines and fueling infrastructure without additional capital expense or upgrades. In fact, if a driver of a diesel vehicle has filled up at a convenience store or truck stop recently, there’s a good chance they’ve already used biodiesel.
|How does biodiesel price compare to diesel?
While prices fluctuate throughout the year, B20 biodiesel and B5 biodiesel have generally remained consistent with the price of diesel for the last two decades.*
|Can Chevron Renewable Energy Group help us report our carbon reduction?
Yes, our industry leading compliance and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) expertise can help you navigate regulation complexities and work toward your ESG targets. Besides offering you one of the most economical forms of lower carbon fuel solutions, we also share regular reports on estimated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions so you can see the potential economic and societal benefits of their fuel choices.
Learn more about carbon emissions reporting.
|How do bio-mass based fuels compare to electric?
Fleets interested in reducing carbon emissions have more alternatives to diesel than ever before — some more widely available and cost effective than others.
Recognize that the fuel solution may not be a single fuel. With an integrated energy management approach, fleets can evaluate all viable fuels and pick the ones that best fit their needs.
A fuel solution that is available at scale today is biodiesel. In addition, minimal investments are needed to begin using biofuels.
Bio-based diesel products reduce emissions similar to electric vehicles, but Chevron Renewable Energy Group’s fuel solutions are available now for use while electric vehicles are still being developed for the market, and much of the infrastructure to charge EVs is still dependent on fossil fuels.
|How do we blend biofuel or renewable diesel with our existing fuel infrastructure?
Biodiesel is a drop-in, liquid fuel solution that can be used in virtually all existing diesel engines and fueling infrastructure without additional capital expense. In fact, if a driver of a diesel vehicle has filled up at a convenience store or truck stop recently, there’s a good chance they’ve already used biodiesel.
A seamless, cost-effective switch. With biodiesel, fleets can usually use their existing diesel vehicles and fueling infrastructure. It’s also readily available from suppliers and at truck stops and travel centers, so supply is not an issue.
Need help with your RFP? Contact us today.
Our experts are on hand to answer your questions and help you get one step closer to a lower-carbon future.