The fleet industry stands at a crossroads where environmental responsibility and operational efficiency intersect.
As concerns about greenhouse gas emissions and sustainability intensify, fleet managers are seeking innovative solutions to reduce their carbon footprint while optimizing the performance of their work trucks.
Enter renewable diesel, an alternative to traditional diesel that promises a greener future and enhanced operational advantages for work truck fleets.
It has key environmental and performance benefits, and transitioning is simple for fleet managers.
Environmental and Truck Performance Benefits
Renewable diesel offers a range of benefits for fleet managers seeking to positively impact both the environment and their bottom line, according to Carrie Song, North American VP of Renewable Road Transportation at Neste.
- Immediate Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction: Neste's renewable diesel takes a holistic approach to environmental impact, delivering up to a 75% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions over the entire fuel lifecycle compared to fossil diesel. Every step, from sourcing raw materials to the final combustion, is scrutinized for its environmental footprint.
- Reduced Non-CO2 Emissions: Beyond CO2 reductions, renewable diesel contributes to decreased non-CO2 emissions, including nitrogen oxides and particulate matter. These reductions vary based on the year and model of the vehicles in the fleet.
- Lower Maintenance Costs: The cleaner-burning nature of renewable diesel translates to reduced engine maintenance needs, leading to cost savings and longer maintenance cycles for fleet managers.
- Cold Weather Performance: With excellent cold weather performance and a high cetane number, renewable diesel minimizes particle filter regeneration requirements and exhaust emissions, ensuring optimal truck performance in various conditions.
- Stability and Storage: Neste's renewable diesel also has beneficial storage properties. Its resistance to water absorption minimizes the risk of product quality deterioration and microbial growth.
Seamless Transition: A Drop-in Replacement
Song stated that one of the most significant advantages of renewable diesel is its "drop-in" nature, making it a seamless transition for work truck fleets. Fleet managers can reap the benefits without significant disruptions:
- Chemical Equivalence: Renewable diesel shares the same chemical composition as fossil diesel, eliminating the need for blending or modifications. It can be used neat or blended at any ratio with traditional diesel.
- Engine and Infrastructure Compatibility: Since the fuels are chemically identical, renewable diesel works harmoniously with existing engines and fueling infrastructure, requiring no additional investments or adaptations.
Total Cost of Ownership and Financial Considerations
While Neste's renewable diesel is popular in regions like California and Oregon due to state-level incentives, its cost-effectiveness is evident even without them.
The reduced maintenance costs, extended maintenance cycles, and improved fuel efficiency contribute to a favorable total cost of ownership.
Several companies have embraced Neste's renewable diesel and witnessed tangible improvements:
- TITAN Freight: This Oregon-based company reported a 1.5 cent per mile savings in exhaust systems maintenance costs.
- Cox Petroleum: Through transitioning to renewable diesel, Cox Petroleum experienced over 90% reduction in maintenance costs and over $30,000 in yearly savings, primarily attributed to decreased exhaust-related maintenance expenses.
Renewable Diesel Challenges and Solutions
Neste acknowledges that awareness remains a hurdle, with renewable diesel often conflated with biodiesel.
Additionally, outside of regions with established clean fuel programs, renewable diesel can be more expensive than traditional diesel, inhibiting broader adoption.
To combat these challenges, Neste:
- Collaborates with OEM partners and existing customers to share success stories.
- Participates in industry conferences to engage interested parties.
- Engages with policymakers to advocate for policies that make low-carbon fuels more accessible and affordable.
Long-Term Vision for Renewable Diesel Adoption
Neste envisions a future where renewable diesel plays a pivotal role in reducing reliance on fossil fuels while ensuring the reliability and performance of transportation fleets.
By ramping up global production, Neste is ready to meet the increasing demand for renewable diesel and contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector.
Renewable diesel offers quick and lasting environmental benefits alongside enhanced truck performance.
With Neste's commitment to innovation, the road ahead holds promise for even greater advancements in renewable diesel technology and integration into work truck fleets nationwide.