The US Department of Defense (DoD) has begun field testing of a new ethanol/biodiesel blend developed by O2Diesel. A demonstration fleet at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, Nevada, is now using the new fuel, O2Biodiesel, which consists of 28% renewable sources: ethanol, biodiesel, and a proprietary biomass-derived stabilizing additive.
Earlier emission testing at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas, demonstrated the synergy between the additive package, ethanol, and biodiesel with respect to the key regulated air pollutants: particulate matter and oxides of nitrogen (NOx).
While further emissions testing continues, the new fuel will undergo real-world operational challenges under military spec. These include storage and handling, and use in extreme conditions of heat, cold, humidity, and variations in types of use.
O2Diesel fuel is a blend of 7.7 vol% ethanol treated with the company’s stabilizing additive.
In December 2006, O2Diesel Corporation received an additional $1 million in funding from the DoD to continue its existing demonstration projects and develop a new fuel with at least 20% renewable sources. (Earlier post.)
Testing of the O2Diesel/B20 biodiesel blend is also underway at Ben Franklin Transit (BFT) in Richland, Washington. The 210-day operational test there, which began in January, is using 20 vehicles that represent four different chassis manufacturers running six different diesel engines ranging in age from 1988 to 2006.
Operational data will span winter and summer months.
One effect of combining ethanol and biodiesel is the lowering of the pour point (the temperature at which the fuel begins to gel). Conventional practice for winter blends has been to mix No. 2 diesel with No. 1 diesel to lower the pour point. The use of e-diesel may reduce the need to blend No. 1 diesel into winter blends (depending upon the ethanol content and other additives).