Additional new vehicles expand the total number of trucks running B100 in the DC Water fleet to 31. - Photo: DC Water 

Additional new vehicles expand the total number of trucks running B100 in the DC Water fleet to 31.

Photo: DC Water 

Through funds granted by the EPAs Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) program, the Greater Washington Region Clean Cities Coalition (GWRCCC) and DC Water have secured funds to purchase an additional 12 trucks equipped with Optimus Technologies' 100% biodiesel (B100) advanced fuel system technology. Using B100 allows DC Water to reduce their Scope 1 CO2 emissions in their heavy-duty fleet vehicles by over 90%. Following an initial pilot project of 10 Optimus equipped vehicles launched in 2020, and a previous DERA funding award for nine B100 vehicles, the 12 additional new vehicles expand the total number of vehicles running B100 in the DC Water fleet to 31.

Tim Fitzgerald, fleet director for DC Water and recent recipient of GWRCCC’s DC Visionary Award, said the company went from using B10 to B20 and is now at B100. Biodiesel is a cleaner burning fuel, and there’s no degradation in terms of fuel or operations. Biodiesel reduces many of the harmful pollutants, irritants, and carcinogens associated with petroleum-based fuels.

Optimus Technologies upgraded 10 existing DC Water dump trucks in 2020 as part of a pilot program to test the viability of B100 in heavy-duty vehicles in year-round operations with the DC Water fleet. The Optimus Vector System heats and conditions B100 to be used in modern DPF and SCR equipped engines regardless of how cold it gets outside. 

Following the successful pilot, DC Water used funds from a previous DERA award to purchase nine new vehicles that came equipped with the Vector System already installed. The option to purchase new vehicles equipped with the Optimus technology, as well as retrofitting existing fleet assets, allows for flexibility and choice when deciding how to best implement Optimus’ carbon reduction technology in fleet operations. 

With 575 light-, medium-, and heavy-duty vehicles in the DC Water Fleet, it’s important to attack emissions with methods that make the most sense. In light-duty vehicles, electrification and renewable natural gas work great. However, for heavy-duty applications, the power of biodiesel shines.

B100 and the Vector System help DC Water reduce emissions in vehicles, like dump trucks and Vactor trucks, that are difficult to decarbonize with current competing technologies. DC has established goals of 50% carbon reduction by 2032 and carbon neutrality by 2050 for all city operations, and the carbon reductions DC Water achieves with these heavy-duty assets places them well on the path to achieving their goals.

Additional partners on the DC Water project include the biodiesel fuel supplier Renewable Energy Group (REG), public outreach partners, Metropolitan Washington Council of Government, National Biodiesel Foundation, and National Biodiesel Board, as well as Equnival Partners, a community engagement firm based in Washington, DC.

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