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ROUSH CleanTech launches first available near-zero emissions engines fueled by renewable propane

ROUSH CleanTech, an alternative-fuel technology company, revealed that its 0.02 grams per brake horsepower-hour engine can operate on renewable propane. It’s the first available engine for renewable propane that brings emission levels to “near-zero” as defined by California Air Resources Board.

When commercial vehicles are equipped with our ultra-low NOx engines and fueled by renewable propane, they achieve near-zero emissions while still being financially viable for fleets. These clean-operating, medium-duty trucks, vans and buses enable fleets to take a giant leap toward meeting their state’s clean air standards, especially in California.

—Todd Mouw, president of ROUSH CleanTech

Renewable propane is a non-fossil fuel that is produced from 100% renewable raw materials, such as waste, residue and sustainably produced vegetable oils. There is growing interest in renewable propane (also known as biopropane) due to its near-zero emission levels, reduced greenhouse gases and ability to help meet growing demand for cleaner products. It can be used as a “drop-in” replacement fuel because it’s chemically nearly identical to conventional propane.

Companies in the US and around the globe are developing renewable propane technology, with some production in commercial volume as a byproduct of renewable diesel plants.

ROUSH CleanTech unveiled the usage of renewable propane during a three-city roadshow in California this week. The event also covered federal and state funding opportunities available for near-zero emission vehicles.

Earlier this year, ROUSH CleanTech received California Air Resources Board certification for its ultra-low NOx 6.8L V10 3V propane engines for Class 4-7 vehicles. When fueled by traditional propane autogas, the engine is 90-percent cleaner than national emissions standards.



There aren't any biological processes which yield propane, so in what way is this "bio"?

A quick search turned up this PDF from the Propane Council which states in part:

Biomass gasification technology to produce cleanburning hydrocarbon fuels such as biopropane could be commercialized within the next three to five years.
Promising production methods include catalytic cracking of acylglycerides, partial-oxidation gasification technologies...

The first is hydrodeoxygenation, a la Neste oil.  Where does the hydrogen come from?  The small supply of viable feedstock is another issue, and the major product is not propane but "renewable" diesel (what's left of the fatty acids after the ester links are cleaved and the oxygen removed); only the glycerine backbone is converted to propane.

The second is just Range Fuels all over again, but making propane (more likely synthetic LPG via Fischer-Tropsch) instead of ethanol.  That is an extremely lossy process which throws away most of the carbon and energy in the feedstock to yield a small quantity of fuel.

This is straight inside-the-box thinking and can't change anything.  That's probably why it's getting financial and publicicity support, while things which can change the status quo are starved of oxygen.

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