Charlotte Water reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 75 tons during the first three months of a six-month renewable diesel pilot. This is the equivalent to an average passenger vehicle driven for more than 183,000 miles.
Charlotte Water is the largest public water and wastewater utility in the Southwest U.S. The utility serves more than one million customers in the City of Charlotte and greater Mecklenberg County in North Carolina. During this pilot, 34 vehicles in the Charlotte Water fleet are running on renewable diesel from Renewable Energy Group (REG). No modifications were needed for the diesel vehicles to run on renewable diesel.
“As a public utility, we believe we have an obligation to protect the environment,” said Kathy Gibson, fleet manager for Charlotte Water. “Fueling diesel vehicles with 100 percent renewable diesel instead of petroleum diesel is a way to promote sustainability in the communities we serve, and the results have been very encouraging.”
Renewable diesel is an alternative to traditional diesel fuel that is made from renewable resources and helps users lower greenhouse gas and other emissions. Compared with ultra-low sulfur diesel, renewable diesel reduces particulate matter by nearly 40%, carbon monoxide by 25%, nitrogen oxides by 15% and total hydrocarbons by over 10%.
Data released by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) earlier this year found that biodiesel and renewable diesel fuel use eliminated 4.3 million tons of carbon dioxide in California in 2018, more than any other type of fuel, including ethanol and battery-electric power.
Charlotte Water’s pilot project is expected to last approximately six months. It will be evaluated before a decision is made on whether to continue or even expand the fleet’s use of renewable diesel.