600,000-mile test indicates B100 viability

B100 – 100 percent renewable biodiesel – is a step closer to viability for commercial fleet operations thanks to a pilot project testing the renewable fuel in heavy-duty over-the-road trucks. The trucks running 100 percent biodiesel were retrofitted with Optimus Vector fuel systems. Company CEO Colin Huwyler says the 18-month pilot was intended to test the fuel system technology that enables the trucks to run on pure biodiesel.

“[The test] consisted of ten trucks in total,” said Huwyler. “Those trucks accumulated roughly 1.3 million miles and they were split almost exactly evenly between a control group of five trucks just operating on traditional diesel and five trucks that had been upgraded to run on 100 percent biodiesel.”

Manufacturers currently allow their engines to run on up to B20, petroleum diesel blended with 20 percent biodiesel, but Huwyler says the results of this project indicate trucks with The Vector System installed can operate environmentally cleaner.

“As we look at the ability to deploy B100 as a carbon reduction strategy in commercial fleets, the key takeaway here for commercial operators is that there’s no impact on the performance or the operation of your commercial activities,” he said. “That’s hugely successful from the standpoint of commercialization.”

The Vector System is an advanced fuel system technology integrating into existing operations to facilitate a seamless transition to low-carbon fuels, enabling diesel engines to operate on 100 percent biodiesel.

Optimus’ Vector System is in use with leading municipal and private fleets throughout the country such as DC Public Works and ADM. The use of The Vector System has enabled these fleets to achieve near-zero carbon emissions, while also reducing their fuel and fleet operating costs.

It’s Huwyler’s view that carbon reduction efforts would be well served, and at a much lower cost, by fitting trucks to use 100 percent biodiesel.

“What we’ve seen from this test is you can deploy 100 percent biodiesel, you can achieve substantial carbon reductions, more so than you could get from a hydrogen or an [electric vehicle] today,” said Huwyler. “In terms of what that means for biodiesel, for the industry, it really elevates the status of biodiesel as the obtainable go-to strategy for commercial operations to see a reduction in carbon any time within the near term.”

The program was partially funded by the soybean checkoff. The five trucks running on B100 totaled almost 625,000 miles, using more than 73,000 gallons of B100. Operations were in temperatures as low as 23 below zero with zero operational challenges being reported, according to the manufacturer of the Optimus Vector system, which was deployed on the control group of five trucks.

“The one thing that is very clear,” Huwyler concluded about the trucks using B100, “across the board, there was no impact on the operation or performance of the vehicles.”