Portland Water Bureau Fleet Shifts To Primarily B99 Biodiesel; City Directs Solid Waste Haulers to Use B20
Effective 26 September, the Portland (Oregon) Water Bureau switched its fleet of diesel-powered vehicles to B99—a fuel more than 99% bio-diesel. The 84-vehicle diesel fleet is the largest in the country running on B99, according to Portland Commissioner Randy Leonard.
In the winter months, the Bureau will modify the percentage of biodiesel to ensure that vehicles and equipment do not experience fuel gelling problems in colder weather.
The Water Bureau vehicles converting to B99 (B50 at the Bull Run maintenance yard) are the workhorses of municipal public works: backhoes, dump trucks, graders, excavators, water service trucks, welding and crane trucks, pick up trucks, compressors, forklifts, tractors, mowers, generators, work vans, passenger vans and some passenger vehicles. Some older vehicles will remain on B20.
The city has been one of the more aggressive in using biodiesel. All city-owned diesel vehicles and equipment that use the City’s fueling stations have been powered by a B20 biodiesel blend since 2004. Each year the City uses about 600,000 gallons of B20 in approximately 373 trucks, 166 pieces of construction equipment (backhoes, graders, excavators, etc.) and 62 towed units (compressors, generators, etc.).
The conversion to a biodiesel blend began in 2001, when the City of Portland & Multnomah County’s Sustainable Procurement Strategy identified three target areas for improvement: biodiesel, hybrid vehicles, and vehicle purchasing performance standards. Soon after, Multnomah County conducted a one-year pilot study on the use of B20 in their fleet, showing promising results. By the August of 2004, both the City and the County had converted their diesel fleet vehicles to B20.
In July 2006, the Portland City Council voted to approve a citywide renewable fuels standard requiring that all diesel sold in Portland contain 5% biodiesel (B5) and all gasoline contain 10% ethanol (E10), effective July 2007. In an effort to maximize the City’s own use of renewable fuels, they also created a binding City Policy formally requiring that all City-owned:
- Diesel vehicles use a minimum of B20;
- Gasoline vehicles use E10; and
- Flex-Fuel Vehicles use fuel containing 85% ethanol (E85).
The city is now also requiring all solid-waste hauling franchisees—businesses awarded franchises by the city for the collection of solid waste—to use B20 biodiesel blends in their refuse vehicles.