The City of Walnut Creek announced Tuesday it is the first city in the United States to convert its diesel-powered fleet to renewable diesel.
According to the California Air Resources Board, emissions from renewable diesel are more than 60 percent lower than those resulting from either petroleum or traditional biodiesel.
Civic leaders said there are other advantages as well – like traditional biodiesel, renewable diesel is produced from bio-feedstock sources, including fats, oils and greases, thus reducing the impact to landfill and watersheds. However, renewable diesel is created through a different process. As a result, it can be used directly in any diesel engine without modification. Due to engine warranty limitations, traditional biodiesel must be blended with petroleum diesel.
Chemically, renewable diesel is indistinguishable from petroleum diesel, but based on its superior quality, it outperforms both conventional fossil diesel and biodiesel, according to Pat O’Keefe, CEO of NeXgen Fuel and vice president of Martinez-based Golden Gate Petroleum, the first to distribute premium-quality renewable diesel.
The City of Walnut Creek’s switch to renewable diesel will reduce the City’s diesel emissions by more than 60 percent, lower the City’s petroleum fuel needs by more than 20,000 gallons, and continue efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to Fleet Supervisor Joe Jorgensen.
The City has 60 diesel powered vehicles and equipment, which includes street sweepers, dump trucks, tractors and mowers. All will take advantage of the new fuel.
“The switch to renewable diesel and the significant reduction in emissions that results from this action by our city staff is another example of our city providing leadership in creating a healthier and safer environment for all of us and in Walnut Creek continuing to make progress in becoming a more sustainable city,” Mayor Bob Simmons said.
In 2012, the City of Walnut Creek adopted a Climate Action Plan with an overall greenhouse gas reduction goal of 15 percent below 2005 levels by the year 2020. The City inventoried greenhouse gas emissions for the year 2005 and found the top three sources of emissions are the transportation sector (59%), residential energy use (18%), and commercial energy use (18%). By using renewable diesel, the City of Walnut Creek says it is doing its part to reduce emissions from the transportation sector.