Managing Early Adoption of Biodiesel by Commercial Fleets
Commercial carriers are being confronted with a variety of decisions regarding long-term petroleum dependency and near-term state and federal policies aimed at increasing the use and content of biodiesel. The purpose of this study is to help members of the Iowa Motor Truck Association identify problems regarding the use of biodiesel blends in trucks. The participating trucking company provided two trucks that ran on similar routes, one truck using regular diesel fuel (B0) and the other one using a 2% biodiesel blend (B2). Complete mileage data and special maintenance concerns were recorded over a period of approximately one year. Iowa State University researchers analyzed and interpreted the field data in terms of fuel economy, variations in maintenance, and seasonal performance. Data acquired from July 2006 through May 2007 were analyzed. Special attention was paid to the concern of fuel filter plugging resulting from using B2. During the period of this study, the B0 truck accumulated approximately 160,000 miles and the B2 truck accumulated about 120,000 miles. Field results indicate that both fuels provided similar miles per gallon numbers, even for different trip lengths. The average miles per gallon were 6.0 for the B0 truck and 6.1 for the B2 truck. Overall, the fuel economies of the two engines using B0 and B2 were very similar. In addition, no fuel filter plugging incidents in the B2 truck were found, even during the winter months. The final data are encouraging in terms of using B2 as an alternative fuel for trucks.
For more on this project and other project reports from InTrans, please visit http://www.intrans.iastate.edu