Calif.’s Santa Barbara MTD has stopped purchasing petroleum diesel and will now fuel the agency’s diesel fleet with renewable diesel (RD). The transition requires no infrastructure changes and the new fuel can be dispensed into the same tank that held the old fuel.
Different from biodiesel, renewable diesel is refined from a mix of more than 10 different wastes and residues and various vegetable oils. Around 92% of the fuel comes from a combination of used cooking oil, waste animal fat, waste fish fat, and residue oils. Renewable diesel is odorless and emits 33% lower fine particulates that aggravate asthma.
While not zero-emission, renewable diesel represents an 80% reduction in emissions and carbon intensity from petroleum diesel. The carbon intensity of renewable diesel is about one-third of that of a battery-electric vehicle charging on the California grid.
Santa Barbara MTD’s Board of Directors set a goal in November 2018 to transition the entire MTD fleet to 100% battery-electric by 2030. The transition to renewable diesel speeds up a reduction in emissions fleetwide, and takes the opportunity to green the remaining diesel fleet.