Biofuel

The term biofuels usually refers to liquid fuels and blended components that are produced from biomass materials which are referred to as feedstocks. Biofuels are used as transportation fuels, as well as for heating and electricity generation.

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Every Question We Have Been Asked About Renewable Diesel 1024 696 Star Oilco

Every Question We Have Been Asked About Renewable Diesel

Renewable Diesel Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Every Question we have been asked about Renewable Diesel

What is renewable diesel?

Renewable diesel is a synthetic diesel fuel, known for it’s lower CO2 characteristics, typically seeing purity and real world performance response superior to petroleum diesel fuel.  Renewable diesel is a next generation hydrocarbon diesel biofuel made by either the Fischer-Tropsch or Hydrogenation processes.

Hydrogenated renewable diesel is made by taking fats, oils, and greases by use of a hydro-treater.  The biomass based oil or fat is cracked and reformed in the presence of hydrogen and  catalyst forming a hydrocarbon diesel molecule.

Fischer-Tropsch renewable diesel is used by converting any btu dense feedstock (wood waste, woody biomass, municipal garbage, coal, and an endless list of low value waste products into syngas, then converting this into a wax that is reformed into hydrocarbon diesel.

Can Renewable Diesel be used as Heating Oil?

Yes.  Renewable Diesel is a synthetic hydrocarbon diesel fuel.  It can be used interchangeably with petroleum diesel products of similar grade. Heating Oil is typically number 2 diesel which is the same specification as Dyed R99 Renewable Diesel (or blends of Renewable Diesel with petroleum diesel).   Star Oilco now offers R99 Heating Oil delivered in the Portland metro region area of Oregon.

Most modern oil heat appliances use a Becket Burner.  For more on heating fuel compatibility with oil furnaces and oil burning appliance please see “Alternative Fuels and Becket Burners” for more information.

Why do people use renewable diesel over petroleum diesel?

Fleet managers operating R99 Renewable Diesel report a lower mechanical cost of operation using the fuel.  Beyond the immediate benefit of R99 cutting CO2 emissions by half or more, fleets experience performance benefits from the fuel.  The big savings are seen the the performance of Tier 4 Emission systems on modern diesel seeing far less wear of the Diesel Particulate Filter system as well as far fewer regenerations of the system.  Additionally Renewable Diesel is a very clean and dry diesel fuel improving the storage stability, field operation, and general predictability of the fuel’s performance.

How do I know Renewable Diesel is being sold at a retail location?

Renewable Diesel is a hydrocarbon diesel that meets the specification for petroleum diesel known as ASTM D975 specification.  This means currently R99 can be readily blended and sold with petroleum diesel without a disclosure.  The US Federal Trade Commission and local state Weights and Measures have rules for retail pump labeling.  Blend percentages of biomass based diesel must be labeled especially if being advertised.  As R99 Renewable Diesel has a higher value and is sought out by many consumers though usually it is disclosed.  The pump labeling for R99 Renewable Diesel typically looks like the below.

R99 Renewable Diesel fuel dispenser label

What is renewable diesel made of?

Renewable diesel can be made from a host of things, usually a low value waste product. The most common feedstock used currently is waste vegetable oil, wastes from animal rendering, and other biologically derived oils. Processes using bio-oils are following a Hydrogenation process to turn low value waste oils into high value diesel and jet fuel.

Chevron Renewable Energy Group and Diamond Green Diesel (Diamond Green is in a joint venture with Valero) are the largest producer of renewable diesel with their REG Ultra Clean Diesel product in the United States. Neste is the largest producer of renewable diesel internationally, with its “Neste My” product.  being the two largest producers of low CO2 bio-oil derived renewable diesel fuels.

Major petroleum refiners have also turned around existing petroleum refineries into Renewable Diesel Refineries to produce this in demand low CO2 fuel. HF Sinclair , Marathon, Phillips 66, and Montana Renewables. There are quite a few newer Renewable Diesel projects planned and in progress around the United States as well as in the Pacific Northwest.

Other refiners of renewable diesel (on a much smaller scale of production) are using a Fischer-Tropsch process with wood waste, sorted higher grade municipal garbage, and other high btu value carbon based waste products.  Many expect this to technology to be the future of all diesel and jet fuel refining turning refuse into fungible low carbon fuel.

What is renewable hydrocarbon diesel?

Renewable hydrocarbon diesel is a synthetic diesel fuel made from non-petroleum feedstocks like vegetable oil, animal fats, municipal waste, agricultural biomass, and woody biomass. It is characterized by having a low CO2 and renewable resource for its feedstock and is made without crude petroleum, coal, or natural gas as a direct feedstock input in the refining process.

How do they make renewable diesel?

Renewable diesel is made by several processes. If you are buying renewable diesel, it is probably from a Hydrogenation process used by Renewable Energy Group and Neste for their products. Other smaller volume producers are using a Fischer-Tropsch process or Fast Pyrolysis. Both processes involve taking energy dense molecules, cracking those molecules under heat and pressure, then reforming them in the presence of a catalyst and added hydrogen, which forms a renewable diesel molecule.

Is renewable diesel a lower carbon fuel compared to petroleum diesel?

Yes, to this point all renewable diesel made from renewable feedstocks have appeared to be a lower CO2 fuel compared to petroleum diesels. The California Air Research Board in particular has done research on this in depth.

The low CO2 lifecycle emissions of Renewable Diesel also is tracked closely and supervised by California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard, Washington’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard, and Oregon’s Clean Fuels Program. The highest value markets for low CO2 fuels in the United States are California and Oregon, which both have mechanisms that track and price the CO2 intensity of diesel fuels as well as the sustainable lower CO2 substitutes and blend-stocks that can go in those diesels. They track, rate, and determine the carbon intensity of the fuels providing a neutral and scientifically defensible number for CO2 reduction.

Is renewable diesel available in Oregon?

Renewable diesel is readily available for delivery from Star Oilco throughout the Pacific Northwest via 10,000 gallon volumes of bulk delivery.   Star Oilco is also offering bulk delivery of any size and mobile onsite fueling service within 100 miles of the Portland, Oregon market.

Star Oilco has R99 Renewable Diesel available with a Star Oilco CFN Cardlock card in Portland, Oregon.

What is the difference between biodiesel and renewable diesel?

Biodiesel and renewable diesel are very different fuels made with very different processes. In a nutshell, biodiesel is made with a simple chemical reaction that turns vegetable and animal fats into fuel. Renewable diesel is made from far more complicated process where vegetable and animal fats (as well as other feedstocks) are cracked on a molecular level and built back into synthetic diesel fuel.

What is the difference between renewable diesel and Sustainable Aviation Fuel?

The difference between the fuels is the specific gravity and general specification for what the fuel is used for. Jet fuel, or Sustainable Aviation Fuel, and on-road diesel fuel are different fuels and therefore have different specifications. Renewable diesel is typically referring to a #2 diesel specification for on road diesel use.

Sustainable Aviation Fuel or “SAF” is typically referring to “Jet A” or “JP8” jet fuel specification for fuel. This is a #1 diesel range fuel with use and handling requirements that are far more stringent than for on-road or off-road diesel fuels. Renewable jet fuel can be used as a kerosene or #1 diesel fuel but renewable diesel cannot be used as a jet fuel.

Where do I buy renewable diesel in Oregon or Washington?

Renewable Diesel is currently available for bulk delivery and mobile onsite fueling. It will soon be offered at commercial cardlock in the Portland area. It is being sold as R99 and as Ultra Clean Diesel, which is a mixture of biodiesel, renewable diesel, and petroleum diesel.

What is R99?

R99 stands for 99% renewable diesel and 1% petroleum diesel.  Federal rules over alternative diesel fuels made fuels requires that manufacturers of non-petroleum derived diesel fuels must blend a minimum 1% petroleum with the fuel to generate a Renewable Industry Number or “RIN” under the US Federal Renewable Fuel Standard. Additionally there are other incentives that require a “blender of record” to receive these tax credits.

Is renewable diesel being made in Oregon?

As of Spring 2022, renewable diesel is not being manufactured in Oregon. There is a major projects underway, Next Renewable Fuels in Port Westward, Oregon.

What is renewable diesel made from?

Renewable diesel can be made from many energy dense carbon based material.  By volume of produced product sold in the United States, vegetable oils and animal fat-based wastes are the most common feedstock. Woody biomass, agricultural wastes, and sorted municipal wastes are also sources for renewable diesel production.

Is renewable diesel made from palm oil?

Palm oil can be used as a feedstock for renewable diesel. There are producers who use palm oil as a feedstock. In the United States, feedstocks and carbon intensity are tracked closely under both Oregon and California’s fuel programs.  You can determine if a supplier is using palm oil as a feedstock through these regulated pathways.

How much does renewable diesel cost?

This is a tough question to answer given there are several markets intersecting.  From the feedstocks to the market demand for the finished product as well as both California and Oregon’s Clean Fuel Standards which place a price on the CO2 intensity of the fuel which reduces the cost of the fuel if consumed in Oregon and California.

It has consistently been trending between the same cost and over $1 a gallon higher than petroleum diesel depending on the state, you buy renewable diesel in. In California, renewable diesel is very close to petroleum diesel depending on the value of CO2 credits for lower-carbon fuels. In Oregon, it has consistently been between $.05 to $.80 a gallon higher than diesel also depending on the value of CO2 abatement associated with the fuel and what these carbon credits are trading for.

When petroleum diesel costs are high Renewable Diesel tends to be more competitive with petroleum diesel.  When petroleum diesel is below $3 a gallon the cost of Renewable Diesel by comparison is usually higher unless CO2 credits are in higher than normal demand for Clean Fuels Program demands.

Can you mix petroleum diesel and renewable diesel?

Yes. Renewable diesel and petroleum diesel can be blended in any mixture without worry. They are drop-in substitutes for each other in your fleet’s use.  Renewable Diesel is a drop-in fuel. It is a hydrocarbon diesel that will work mixed with diesel or biodiesel blends of petroleum diesel.

More questions coming… or if you would like to learn more contact us.

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What Are Our Options for Alternative Fuels? 1024 578 Star Oilco

What Are Our Options for Alternative Fuels?

What are our options for alternative fuel?

Biofuels are eco-friendly fuel choices because they are made from renewable resources and produce fewer emissions than fossil fuels. Biofuels and biodiesel can also be used to improve air quality. They also allow us to reduce the dependence we have on using fossil fuels. 

Biofuels are liquid fuels produced from biomass, which is organic matter such as plants, algae, and agricultural waste. Biofuels can be used to power vehicles, generate electricity, and heat homes and businessesBiofuels are renewable and can reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. They provide an alternative to fossil fuels and help to conserve natural resources. Reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases is an important factor in helping to combat climate change. Biofuels have the potential to be a significant part of the solution. Biofuels can reduce emissions of greenhouse gases by replacing fossil fuels, which are made from non-renewable sources. Using biofuels instead of fossil fuels can also help to reduce air pollution. 

Some common types of biofuels include: 

Ethanol

Ethanol is a type of alcohol that is made from fermented corn, sugarcane, and other crops. It is blended with gasoline to create E85, a fuel that can be used in flexible-fuel vehiclesThis type of fuel is cheaper than regular gasoline, and it is more environmentally friendly. It is also safer to store and transport than other types of fuel. The benefits of using ethanol fuel include reduced emissions of carbon dioxide, improved air quality, and increased energy security. It is also renewable and biodegradable, making it a more sustainable fuel choice. Additionally, the production and use of ethanol fuel can create jobs and support local economies. 

 

Biodiesel

Biodiesel is a type of diesel fuel that is made from vegetable oils, animal fats, and waste grease. It can be used in unmodified diesel engines as a drop-in solution. It is a renewable fuel and emits less carbon dioxide than petroleum-based diesel. Biodiesel is also less toxic and it’s biodegradable. The benefits of biodiesel include reduced emissions of carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, and unburned hydrocarbons; improved combustion efficiency and power output; improved lubricity; and improved fuel economy. Additionally, biodiesel is biodegradable and has a lower energy content than petroleum-based diesel, making it safer to handle and transport in the Portland, Oregon metro area as well as Vancouver, Washington. 

Biodiesel can be used in a variety of applications, including transportation, heating and electricity. Biodiesel is used in transportation to power diesel engines in cars, trucks, buses, and other vehicles. Biodiesel can also be used to heat homes and businesses. Biodiesel also can generate electricity in power plants.  

Biodiesel is a promising alternative to petroleum diesel, and its use is growing around the world. The United States is the world’s largest producer of biodiesel. 

Algae-based biofuels

Algae-based biofuels are a new type of biofuel that is made from algae. Algae are a rapidly renewable resource that can be grown in a variety of environments. Algae is a group of photosynthetic organisms that grow in water. Algae have the potential to produce significantly more oil than traditional biofuel crops, such as corn and soybeans, and they can be grown on non-arable land, such as saltwater or wastewater. This makes algae an attractive potential source of renewable fuel. 

When algae are grown in the right conditions, they can produce up to 77% oil, which can be converted into biodiesel, renewable diesel, or other biofuels such as ethanol, butanol and jet fuel. Algae-based biofuels have the potential to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation, electricity generation, and other industries. However, there are still challenges that need to be overcome before algae-based biofuels can be commercially viable. These challenges include scalable production, costs, efficient harvesting and efficient processing to extract the oil. There is a lot of research and development underway to overcome these challenges and with continued investment, algae-based biofuels have the potential to become a major source of renewable fuel in the future. 

 

Hydrogen

Hydrogen is a versatile energy carrier that has the potential to play a significant role in the transition to a clean energy future. It is the most abundant element in the universe and can be produced from a variety of sources, including natural gas, biomass, and renewable electricity. When used in a fuel cell, hydrogen produces only water and heat, making it a clean and efficient fuel source. 

Using hydrogen as a fuel provides clean burning, a high energy density, efficiency, among many other benefits. Hydrogen doesn’t produce any emissions of harmful pollutants which makes it an attractive option as a fossil fuel alternative. Hydrogen’s high energy density means that a relatively small amount of hydrogen can provide a lot of energy. Using hydrogen fuel cells to generate electricity are 2-3 times more efficient than internal combustion engines. It can also be used in a wide range of applications, including transportation, electricity generation as well as industrial processes.  

Some of the challenges we face with hydrogen as a fuel are its current methods of production. They are not always as clean or sustainable currently. Storing hydrogen, being a gas, requires specialized storage tanks. The infrastructure for transporting and distributing hydrogen is not yet fully developed.  

Overall, there is a growing interest in using hydrogen as a fuel source with very promising results and possibilities in our future. Governments and businesses all over the world have been investing in research and development to figure out solutions to these challenges in order to make hydrogen a more viable energy source.  

Renewable Diesel

Renewable diesel can also be known as hydro-treated vegetable oil (HVO) or green diesel, and is a type of biofuel that is chemically identical to petroleum diesel. It is produced from a variety of feedstocks, including vegetable oils, animal fats, and waste oils. Renewable diesel can be used in any diesel engine without modification, and it offers a number of environmental benefits over petroleum diesel, including: 

 

Reduced greenhouse gas emissions 

Renewable diesel (R99) reduces greenhouse gas emissions by up to 90% compared to petroleum diesel. R99 being cleaner and more efficient, makes it an attractive option for many transportation companies. 

 

Improved air quality 

Renewable diesel produces fewer harmful pollutants, such as particulate matter and sulfur oxides, than petroleum diesel. Additionally, renewable diesel is lower in carbon than petroleum diesel, making it a more sustainable option for transportation. Renewable diesel is also more efficient, reducing the amount of energy needed to produce the same amount of fuel. 

 

Biodegradability  

Renewable diesel is biodegradable, meaning that it breaks down naturally in the environment.  This helps to reduce the amount of harmful pollutants in the environment. Renewable diesel also reduces emissions of carbon dioxide, a major contributor to climate change. 

Renewable diesel is a promising alternative to petroleum diesel, and its use is growing around the world. The United States is the world’s largest producer of renewable diesel, and the European Union has a mandate to use 10% renewable diesel by 2030.  

Even more of the benefits of using renewable diesel:  

The use of renewable diesel helps reduce our dependence on fossil fuels since it is a renewable fuel.  

The local economy can be supported by renewable diesel, which is often produced from local crops.  

A number of sectors, including agriculture, manufacturing, and transportation, create jobs in the renewable diesel industry.  

Ultimately, renewable diesel is a clean and sustainable fuel that offers environmental and economic benefits. Around the world, its use is growing as an alternative to petroleum diesel. Renewable diesel helps to reduce air pollution, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and reduce dependence on foreign oil. It is also a renewable and sustainable fuel source that can be used to produce electricity. As such, renewable diesel is an important option for reducing carbon emissions and improving sustainability overall. 

When we look at the variety of renewable and biofuel opportunities, there are a variety of ways that we can reduce our carbon footprint today without any modifications to our current engines. However, long term, we have opportunities that we can explore for where we believe that our future is going and the solutions that can allow for an even greater impact to our Pacific Northwest carbon footprint and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Among all of the renewable resources, we can reduce air pollution, increase economic benefits and create a more sustainable future for the Portland, OR and Vancouver, WA metro areas. As technology continues to improve and the production of biofuels and biodiesel becomes more efficient, these fuels are likely to become more affordable and widely available. Feel free to give Star Oilco a call today to discuss your fueling needs today and how we can provide you with renewable sources today as a drop-in solution. 

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Renewable Diesel vs Biodiesel

What’s the difference and how do they compare in price? 

If you are looking for a cleaner and greener alternative to diesel fuel, you might have come across two options: renewable diesel and biodiesel. Both fuels are made from organic sources, such as vegetable oils and animal fats, but they have different production processes and properties. In this blog post, we will compare renewable diesel and biodiesel in terms of their pros and cons, as well as their prices and incentives in Oregon. 

What is Renewable Diesel? 

Renewable diesel is a fuel that is chemically identical to petroleum diesel, but it is made from renewable raw materials through a process called hydrotreating. Hydrotreating removes impurities and oxygen from the feedstock, resulting in a pure and refined fuel that can be used in any diesel engine without modifications or blending. Renewable diesel (R99) has a high cetane number, which means it ignites easily and burns efficiently. It also has a low cloud point, which means it can withstand cold temperatures without gelling or clogging filters. 

What is Biodiesel? 

Biodiesel is a fuel that is made from renewable raw materials through a process called transesterification. Transesterification converts the feedstock into fatty acid methyl esters (FAME), which are then blended with petroleum diesel at various ratios. Biodiesel can be used in most diesel engines, but it may require some modifications or adjustments depending on the blend level and the engine type. Biodiesel has a lower cetane number than renewable diesel, which means it may not ignite or burn as well. It also has a higher cloud point than renewable diesel, which means it may gel or clog filters in cold weather. 

The cost of renewable diesel and biodiesel depends on various factors, such as the type and availability of feedstock, the production process, the market demand, and the government incentives. In general, renewable diesel is more expensive than biodiesel, as it requires more complex processing and higher quality feedstock. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the average wholesale price of renewable diesel in California was $3.06 per gallon in October 2021, while the average wholesale price of biodiesel was $2.76 per gallon in the same month. However, both renewable diesel and biodiesel can benefit from federal RIN’s and state credits such as the low carbon fuel standards, which can lower their effective prices and make them more competitive with petroleum diesel. As of July 10th of 2023 renewable diesel (R99) in Portland Oregon was 60 cents higher than biodiesel (B99). 

 Renewable Diesel vs Biodiesel Carbon Intensity 

According to CARB, the carbon intensity of biodiesel ranges from 14.85 to 67.45 gCO2e/MJ and, renewable diesel ranges from 15.84 to 62.86 gCO2e/MJ, depending on the feedstock and production pathway. The lowest carbon intensity for biodiesel is achieved by using waste cooking oil as the feedstock and renewable methanol as the transesterification agent. The highest carbon intensity is associated with using soybean oil as the feedstock and fossil-based methanol as the transesterification agent. The lowest carbon intensity for renewable diesel is achieved by using waste cooking oil as the feedstock and renewable hydrogen as the hydrotreating agent. The highest carbon intensity is associated with using soybean oil as the feedstock and fossil-based hydrogen as the hydrotreating agent. 

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Pros and Cons of Renewable Diesel and Biodiesel 

Both renewable diesel and biodiesel have some advantages and disadvantages compared to petroleum diesel. Here are some of the main pros and cons of each fuel:  

Renewable Diesel Pros: 

– Reduces greenhouse gas emissions by up to 75% compared to petroleum diesel 

– Reduces tailpipe emissions of particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, and hydrocarbons 

– Improves engine performance and efficiency with fewer regeneration cycles of the emissions system 

– Compatible with existing infrastructure and vehicles 

– Biodegradable and nontoxic 

Renewable Diesel Cons: 

– More expensive than petroleum diesel 

– Limited availability and supply 

– May increase emissions of sulfur dioxide 

Biodiesel Pros: 

– Reduces greenhouse gas emissions by up to 78% compared to petroleum diesel 

– Reduces tailpipe emissions of particulate matter, carbon monoxide, and hydrocarbons 

– Biodegradable and nontoxic 

– Supports domestic agriculture and energy security 

 Biodiesel Cons: 

– May increase emissions of nitrogen oxides 

– May cause engine problems such as injector coking, filter plugging, corrosion, and reduced lubricity 

– May degrade over time or when exposed to water or microbes 

Oregon Prices and Incentives for Renewable Diesel and Biodiesel 

Oregon is one of the states that has adopted a Clean Fuels Program (CFP), which aims to reduce the carbon intensity of transportation fuels by 10% by 2025. The CFP creates a market for low-carbon fuels such as renewable diesel and biodiesel by requiring fuel suppliers to either blend them with petroleum diesel or buy credits from low-carbon fuel producers. The CFP also provides incentives for consumers to use low-carbon fuels by reducing their fuel taxes. 

According to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), the average price of diesel in Oregon as of November 2021 was $3.87 per gallon. The average price of biodiesel blends ranged from $3.88 per gallon for B5 (5% biodiesel) to $4.01 per gallon for B20 (20% biodiesel). The average price of renewable diesel was $4.05 per gallon. As of July 2023 the price of renewable diesel (R99) in Oregon was 50 to 60 cents higher than biodiesel (B99). 

The DEQ also provides a Fuel Cost Calculator that allows consumers to compare the costs and benefits of different fuels based on their vehicle type, fuel efficiency, annual mileage, fuel price, carbon intensity, and tax rate. According to the calculator, using renewable diesel instead of petroleum diesel would save an average consumer $34 per year in fuel costs and reduce their carbon emissions by 1.6 metric tons per year. Using biodiesel instead of petroleum diesel would save an average consumer $12 per year in fuel costs and reduce their carbon emissions by 0.8 metric tons per year. 

Renewable diesel and biodiesel are both viable alternatives to petroleum diesel that can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support renewable energy sources. However, they also have some trade-offs in terms of cost, availability, performance, and emissions. Consumers should consider their vehicle type, driving habits, fuel preferences, and environmental goals when choosing between these fuels. Oregon offers some incentives and programs to encourage the use of low-carbon fuels such as renewable diesel and biodiesel, which can help consumers save money and reduce their carbon footprint. 

Alternative Fuels in Portland, OR
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How Renewable Diesel Is Made

Renewable diesel is a type of biofuel

Renewable diesel is a type of biofuel that is chemically similar to petroleum diesel and can be used in any diesel engine. It can be produced from various feedstocks, such as vegetable oils, animal fats, waste cooking oil, and algae. Renewable diesel can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality compared to petroleum diesel⁵. 

The most common way to produce renewable diesel is by hydroprocessing, which involves reacting the feedstock with hydrogen under high temperature and pressure in the presence of a catalyst. This process removes oxygen, sulfur, nitrogen, and other impurities from the feedstock and converts it into hydrocarbons that are similar to those in petroleum diesel⁴⁵. Hydroprocessing is also used in petroleum refineries to upgrade crude oil into various fuels, such as renewable diesel. 

Other ways to produce renewable diesel include pyrolysis, which involves heating the feedstock in the absence of oxygen to produce a liquid bio-oil that can be further upgraded into renewable diesel; gasificationmar, which involves converting the feedstock into a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen (syngas) that can be synthesized into renewable diesel; and biochemical and thermochemical technologies, which involve using enzymes, microorganisms, or catalysts to convert the feedstock into renewable diesel⁴. 

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), U.S. production capacity for renewable diesel could increase significantly through 2024, based on several announced and developing projects. This growth is driven by higher state and federal targets for renewable fuel, favorable tax credits, and the conversion of existing petroleum refineries into renewable diesel refineries². As of the end of 2020, U.S. renewable diesel production capacity totaled nearly 0.6 billion gallons per year (gal/y), or 38,000 barrels per day (b/d). Several projects currently under construction could increase this capacity by 2.4 billion gal/y; proposed and announced projects would add another 1.8 billion gal/y by 2024. If all projects come online as intended, U.S. renewable diesel production would total 5.1 billion gal/y (330,000 b/d) by the end of 2024². 

Globally, over 1.45 billion gallons of renewable diesel are produced annually and are forecasted to grow up to 3.34 billion gallons in 2024. Neste, a Finland based petroleum refining company, is currently dominating the production of renewable diesel¹. Other major producers include Diamond Green Diesel in the U.S., ENI in Italy, Total in France, and Preem in Sweden¹. 

Resources:

(1) Renewable Diesel – Alternative Fuels Data Center.

(2) Renewable Diesel – an overview | ScienceDirect Topics. 

(3) U.S. renewable diesel capacity could increase 

(4) Renewable Diesel: The Fuel of the Future – FutureBridge.

(5) Overview of the Production Capacity of U.S. Renewable Diesel Plants

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Star Oilco Speaks On Decarbonizing Heavy Duty Trucks

Decarbonizing Heavy Duty Fleets By Using B99 Biodiesel.

Mark Fitz joined the Clean Cities Coalition Mindful Mobility Tech Talk series for their High GHG Reductions webinar. Mark spoke on the benefits of B99 and how fleets can begin decarbonizing their emissions today!
On September 28th, 2022, three representatives were invited to speak on how they are not only saving large amounts of energy but are also having a big impact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

B99 Biodiesel reduces CO2 footprint of a 105,500 GVW truck and trailer by more than half at a lower cost than petroleum diesel.

How Can I Utilize B99 or B100 for Decarbonizing My Own Fleet?

Star Oilco uses The Vector System developed by Pittsburgh-based Optimus Technologies. The Vector System allows upgrades for any medium or heavy-duty engine to operate on 100% biodiesel. This is the only EPA-compliant biodiesel engine system and can be installed in as little as 12 hours. Contact Optimus Technologies or reach out to Star Oilco locally to learn more about The Vector System.

Star Oilco’s Field Test

Star Oilco fielded the Optimus Technologies system on our 105,500 GVW truck and trailers.  We began with a single Freighliner truck and trailer operating a Cummins ISX as a trial.  This truck’s typical route was approximately 305 miles round trip from Portland, Oregon to Grays Harbor, Washington.

Over the last year and a half this truck has performed amazingly well. The only maintenance concern is swapping the fuel filters more regularly with every oil change.  Neither drivers nor our Elog system noticed differences in mileage and power.  On a few occasions a loss of power was experienced requiring an in between service fuel filter swap.

Follow the links below for more information on B99 Biodiesel and Star Oilco’s field test of the Optimus Technologies System:

B99 Biodiesel As A Heavy Duty Fuel

Biodiesel As A Heavy Duty Low Co2 Solution

This event is part of the Columbia Willamette Clean Cities Coalition’s Mindful Mobility Tech Talk series.  A series designed to educate and expand on the evolving trends in fleet technology relevant to fleets seeking to decarbonize their miles travelled.

If you missed this event and would like to see the slides follow this link.

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Biodiesel as a Heavy Duty Low CO2 Solution

Save money with Low CO2 Biodiesel in your heavy duty fleet.

In Oregon the state ensures there is a cost associated with the CO2 intensity of a fuel.  This is why Biodiesel is consistently lower cost than petroleum Diesel fuels on the West Coast.  Get ahead of this curve and ensure your fleet benefits.


Why B99 Biodiesel was used in the past?

Prior to 2007 emission systems on modern diesels B99 Biodiesel was commonly used by fleets.  The fact that Biodiesel is a domestic, renewable and low CO2 fuel with a benign tail pipe emission made it popular.  B99 was the preferred fuel of dozens of fleets in the Pacific NW.  After the EPA requirements starting in 2007 which added particulate traps, SCR, their dosing systems, and the general complexity of these clean diesel systems on modern diesels, B99 became problematic.  Specifically the Tier 3 and Tier 4 diesel emission systems had a habit of choking on high blends of Biodiesel approaching B99.  This issue has been solved by Optimus Technologies Vector System.

Why B99 Biodiesel is the solution for Heavy Duty Diesel fleets seeking a Low CO2 solution today?

The Optimus Technologies Vector System provides the solution by enabling two tanks of fuel.  One tank dedicated to the diesel or R99 Renewable Diesel and the other tank dedicated to B100 or B99 pure Biodiesel. These systems optimize the systems of your modern Diesel fleet while also optimizing the performance and realities of the emission systems.

Star Oilco at the National Biodiesel Conference in Las Vegas

Mark Fitz, the President of Star Oilco, was invited to speak in front of a bunch of soy bean farmers on the subject of decarbonizing Heavy Duty diesel fleets.  Below is a walk through of his view on where diesel fleets can go to cut their CO2 emission in half or more today. NOTE: Mark Fitz’s portion begins at 18 minutes.

 

Please reach out to Star Oilco if you have further questions about using B99 or other blends of Biodiesel to reduce your fleet’s operating cost while cutting CO2 emissions in half.

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What is Heating Oil?

In the Pacific Northwest heating oil is diesel.

Star Po;cp Crest

New heating oil customers often ask us, “What is heating oil?” Heating oil is diesel fuel and there are several grades and types. For Star Oilco our standard heating oil product is a ultra low sulfur diesel with a 5% biodiesel blend in order to meet Oregon mandates for off-road diesel fuel. That way our heating oil trucks can also serve construction fueling, emergency back up generators, and other common off-road diesel uses.

Star Oilco has a simple Heating Oil FAQ available.

For full on fuel nerds though, check out this more in depth deeper technical dive below.  If we leave anything out please don’t hesitate to ask for those seeking a nerd-level understanding of heating oil, kerosene and bioheat.

There are three typically grades of heating oil you can order.

Number 1 Diesel

Number 1 diesel is also called Kerosene or Stove Oil. This fuel has a lighter specification than typical heating oil which enables it to burn better in a “pot burner” or wick heater. Kerosene has its own specification as the fuel used by wick heaters. Kerosene is typically Number 1 diesel but not all Number 1 diesel’s are kerosene due to the need to be taken up by a wick heater. Any biodiesel content in a kerosene product WILL NOT work in a wick kerosene heater. So be very aware of confirming that your kerosene has never come into any contact with a biodiesel blend of fuel.

Red Number 2 Diesel

Red dyed diesel also called Heating Oil, Dyed Diesel, Off-Road Diesel is the default heating oil fuel. The fuel is dyed red to denote no on-road fuel taxes are attached to it. When you call and ask for heating oil, this is the fuel you are requesting. Clear or Green Number 2 Diesel is the fuel sold at retail gas stations and truck stops. That fuel will also work in your furnace, you just are paying for on-road taxes attached to that fuel.

Bioheat or Biodiesel Heating Oil

“Bioheat” is a blend of biodiesel and petroleum diesel to make a lower emission and lower CO2 heating fuel.  Typically Bioheat is Number 2 Heating Oil with a 20% blend of biodiesel or higher in it. It is a drop-in fuel for your heating oil furnace. There is no change other than routine maintenance is required. It is a cleaner burning fuel with a significant drop in CO2 emissions associated with your heating oil fuel consumption.  If you would like more information on biodiesel as a heating oil you can follow this link.

B20 Biodiesel Heating oil provider

Where do heating oil companies get their fuel?

In the Portland, Oregon market, diesel is fungible. Everyone buys or is expected to mix their fuel from each other in some way. Primarily this is due to the Portland/Vancouver market receiving most of its fuel down the Kinder Morgan-operated Olympic Pipeline. Which means all the refiners transporting fuel are mixing their product in transit. Additionally, there are shared terminal locations, which also have co-mingled owned diesel products.

Every refiner is typically expecting to mix their diesel and gasoline products. The difference is in the care a vendor takes to filter the fuel, using additives and continuously check their fuel quality. If you are buying at the absolute lowest price possible, know that there is an incentive to skip any added value of quality assurance.

Star Oilco buys our diesel products from a variety of vendors. The source refiner typically being either BP, Shell, Marathon(formerly Tesoro), Phillip 66, or a number of other refiners.

Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington are not unique in in having fungible diesel and heating oil fuel specifications. Through its Pacific Operations unit, Kinder Morgan operates approximately 3,000 miles of refined products pipeline that serves Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington and Texas. With roots dating back to 1956, it is the largest products pipeline in the Western U.S., transporting more than one million barrels per day of gasoline, jet fuel and diesel fuel to our customers. The company-owned terminals also provide additional services, such as liquid petroleum product storage and loading facilities for delivery trucks.

The heating oil and biofuel blends Star Oilco sells its customers

Heating oil is essentially off-road diesel. You can legally use a higher sulfur content for boilers and heating systems than you can off-road equipment and back-up generators. Regardless, we sell the lowest sulfur fuel available and optimize our fuel to be as versatile to our customers as possible. Construction equipment, back up generators and a host of others systems use off-road diesel, as do heating oil systems. Star Oilco sells the same diesel fuel specification for all of our off-road uses.

We also blend this fuel with biodiesel for our customers that want higher blends of low CO2 biodiesel fuels and heating oil. Star Oilco carries nothing but ultra low sulfur diesel fuels. In fact, our minimum blend of biodiesel is a B5 biodiesel blend (5% biodiesel and 95% petroleum diesel) and we also offer B20 (20% biodiesel blend) and B99 (99% pure biodiesel) for our customers.

About Diesel Fuels Specifications 

In the United States, diesel fuel is controlled according the American Society for Testing and Materials Standard D975-97. This standard describes a limited number of properties that diesel fuels must meet. It should be noted that the requirements are all performance-based, meaning they do not mandate the composition of the fuel, only the specific performance related requirements demanded of a fuel for a diesel engine. The requirements of D975 are described below.

ASTM Specifications for Diesel Fuel Oils (D975)*

*More info on ASTM specifications

Diesel fuel is characterized in the United States by the ASTM standard D975, which identifies five grades of diesel fuel. We are only going to talk about the two most popular commercially diesel fuel used — No 1 and No. 2 diesel. The ASTM D975 standard is made up of a series of different tests that check the characteristic ranges of a fuel to confirm it is adequate to operate in your equipment.

In simple terms, they are checking for specific gravity, the vapor point (when it turns into a gas), the flash point (when it catches fire), the dirt content, water content (how much microscopic entrained water) and a host of other requirements diesel must meet in order to be legal to be sold for use in your engine.

Grade No. 1-D and Ultra-Low Sulfur 1-D:

This is a light distillate fuel for applications requiring a higher volatility fuel to accommodate rapidly fluctuating loads and speeds, as in light trucks and buses. The specification for this grade of diesel fuel overlaps with kerosene and jet fuel, and all three are commonly produced from the same base stock. One major use for No. 1-D diesel fuel is to blend with No. 2-D during winter to provide improved cold flow properties. Ultra-low sulfur fuel is required for on-highway use with sulfur level < 0.05%. 

Grade No. 2-D and Ultra-Low Sulfur 2-D:

This is a middle- or mid-grade distillate fuel for applications that do not require a high volatility fuel. Typical applications include high-speed engines that operate for sustained periods at high load. Ultra-low sulfur fuel is required for on-highway use with sulfur level < 0.05%.

Biodiesel Fuels for Heating Oil

Biodiesel is a renewable fuel produced from oil seed crops, used cooking oil, and/or animal fat waste. It is chemically similar to petroleum diesel, and is produced by combining the oil stock with catalysts and then heating it. Biodiesel is not the same as vegetable oil or SVO (straight vegetable oil) and can be used in any diesel engine.

Biodiesel and biodiesel blends significantly reduce tailpipe emissions, especially carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and particulates (black smoke). ASTM D975 standard, as of 2008, allowed up to 5 percent biodiesel to be blended into the fuel. This is the called B5 — the ‘B’ stands for biodiesel and 5 stands for up to 5 percent biodiesel.

B6 to B20 – ASTM D7467-17:

Diesel blends up to 20% and more than 6% are referred to as B20. Biodiesel is a cleaner burning fuel than petroleum diesel. Using biodiesel can help reduce the amount of harmful emissions released into the air. Emissions such as sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and other compounds found in diesel exhaust. Read the ASTM D7467-17 standards.

B99 & B100 –  ASTM D6751-15ce1:

These are fuels made of up to 100% biodiesel. Due to environmental regulations, most retailers will carry a maximum of B99. The standards for B99 and B100 are identical. Unlike gasoline, biodiesel can gel at cold temperatures. This can cause stress on fuel pumps and fuel injection systems, or can clog filters or even become too thick to pump to the engine. B99 has a higher temperature gel rate – meaning that it begins to cloud and thicken at higher temperatures – than conventional diesel.

“The cloud point of soybean biodiesel is about 34°F (1°C), whereas the cloud point for No. 1 diesel is about – 40°F (-40°C) and for No. 2 diesel between -18°F (-28°C) and +20°F (-7°C).” (Biodiesel Cloud Point and Cold Weather Issues) The solutions for cold weather involve additives and lower blends to ensure continuous operations. Read the ASTM D6751-15ce1 standards.

FURTHER READING ON DIESEL FUEL:

For a question and answer format about heating oil please see: Every question Star Oilco has been asked about Heating Oil

Here is an article about: an In-depth look at Biodiesel as a heating fuel 

Read about Star Oilco’s approach to Fuel Quality Assurance: Star Oilco – Precision Fuel Management

Read about dealing with biological growth in your diesel tank: Bioguard Plus 6 biocide treatment for diesel

Get Chevron’s Technical Manual to Diesel Fuel (essentially an easy to read text book on diesel): Chevron’s Fuel Technical Review

Get a white paper from Donaldson Filtration on tier 4 engines and fuel cleanliness: Donaldson on Tier 4 Engine Fuel Contamination

Read more about Donaldson Desiccant Breathers for bulk diesel tanks: Why use a Donaldson Desiccant Breather for a bulk diesel storage tank.

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In-depth look at Biodiesel as a heating fuel 1024 768 Star Oilco

In-depth look at Biodiesel as a heating fuel

Can you Bio diesel as a Heating Oil Fuel?

In a recent study, the viability of biodiesel – also known as bioheat – and its use as a heating oil was examined.Star Oilco an experienced provider of BioDiesel Heating Oil

TL:DR Biodiesel up to B20 and beyond do not require equipment changes or settings. Home heating systems have used biodiesel since 2000 and have shown no significant issues compared to standard fuel.

The study reviews pump seal performance, metal interactions, burner combustion and even reviews in-the-field users of biodiesel.

Use of biodiesel reduces GHG (Greenhouse Gas) by 50% – 86% compared to petroleum diesel, according to NORA.

 

In a study from Brookhaven National Laboratory that was submitted to the National Oilheat Research Alliance (NORA), Dr Thomas A. Butcher and Rebecca Trojanowski studied the use of Biofuels in Heating Oil and any possible issues that could result from usage.

Biodiesel mixtures are labeled as B* where the * is the percentage of biodiesel. For example B20 would be 20% biodiesel and 80% petroleum diesel.

By breaking it down into 5 separate studies and a review of actual field use for nearly 20 years, they set out to evaluate the possible fail points of using B20 and higher heating oil blends.

Bio Diesel and Pump Seal Material Evaluation

From the start, the pump shaft seals were identified as the area with the most concern of failure. So, this is where the study began. They identified the most common seals in pumps for North America were nitrile material. The study then focused on this material.

For this part of the study, they took the nitrile material and immersed it in different biodiesel and No.2 fuel blends. They soaked these for 670 hours at 125 °F.  The samples were than checked to see if the hardness changed, looked at swelling, tensile strength, and compression deformation.

Results: There were no significant changes for the nitrite for fuels meeting ASTM standards. This includes biofuel up to B100. The one concern was fuel that had acid numbers above 2 could lead to accelerated degradation. B100 standards call for acid numbers 0.5 and below.

Biodiesel and the Evaluation of Oil Burner Pumps Under Operating Conditions

This second test also dealt with the same seals. The difference in this test was that the pumps were in continuous action. They set up 42 pumps to run for 11 months. A pump would run for 5 minutes and then turn off for a minute. This resulted in 80,000 on/off cycles in a period of 8,030 hours. During this time no leaks were observed in any of the pumps.

Result: There wasn’t any difference in degradation between using B0 and B20.

Exposure of "Yellow Metals" at low temperature with biodiesel

Copper fuel lines are installed in many older oil heating homes. This was due to lower cost and the fact they were easy to manipulate during installation. This could be a problem because No.2 fuel and biodiesel could accelerate the oxidative degradation of the fuels when exposed to copper.

This experiment consisted of using 10 inch tubes filled with different levels of biofuels: B0, B20, and B100. These would be stored at 70 °F  for 6 months in 3 types of tubes: stainless steel, old copper (a fuel line that had been in service for 30 years), and new copper. Most systems only would expose the copper pipes for a very limited time, so 6 months for any exposure is an extreme amount of time.

Results: An acid value of 2 was shown to degrade nitrile material in the earlier experiments. None of the fuel crossed this mark. The closest was B0 in the stainless steel. This fuel got to 1.5 from .04 (where all the fuel started). These tests were considered to represent summer shutdown of a heat-only boiler or furnace.

Exposure of "Yellow Metals" and biodiesel at high temperature

In addition to copper fuel lines, the other major source of yellow metal would be the brass nozzles. Most fuel isn’t in the nozzle long enough to cause any changes, but the fuel left unburned between firings is exposed to higher temperatures then those in the lines. It was decided to try and see if there was changes for this exposure.

The experiment was open top glass beakers with brass and stainless steel nozzles stored in B0, B20, and B100 levels of fuel. This setup was stored in an oven at 175 °F for a week.

Result: The result was a relatively small increase during this time. Even after the experiment was continued for another 4 weeks the numbers represented no significant differences.

Biodiesel Combustion Performance and Flame Sensor Response

The goal of this experiment is to evaluate the proper atomization and combustion performance of biodiesel blends in heating oil systems and to see if there was any issues with flame sensor operation and effectiveness.

The fuel for a home heating oil system requires the fuel to be pushed through a 10 micron filter and then pushed into a fire box at 100 – 150 psi and ignited. This is compared to a diesel engine that have a nominal pore size between 2 and 30 microns and then injected into the system at 20,000 psi.

According to the study, “In comparison to the… diesel engine, heating oil systems are open flame systems and excess air is used to ensure complete combustion. The amount of excess flue gas oxygen is generally between 3% and 6% excess O2 or 15% and 40% excess air to minimize smoke and ensure very low levels of carbon monoxide.” These are usually set by a technician and then re-checked on service calls every 1 or 2 years. “Since properly operating home heating oil systems burn the fuel completely in excess air and emissions are low… Due to this clean combustion, heating oil emissions are typically not measured or monitored, with the exception of smoke and CO.”

The testing was set up first for conventional No. 2 fuel and then adjusted for B100 fuel.

Result: Showed that B20 performed at the same level as regular No. 2 fuel and the bio blend could go all the way up to 50% before the need to adjust the airflow. So, the conclusion was that if the unit is running higher levels of biofuel, the air input needs to be adjust to optimize fuel combustion and reduce CO or smoke.

Review of Field Experience with BioDiesel Blends

Biodiesel blends have been used in the field for heating oil with some using B20 and above since 2005. Part of the study was reviewing customers that have been using B20 above. Of the surveyed providers, none reported a change of any burner or system components.

The report continues to talk about the levels of biofuel that was being used and the condition the fuel was in. Basically it was found that there was no difference from the standard petroleum only fuel.

Conclusion and results of BioDiesel study

  1. Fuels above a certain level of acid content can compromise seals, none of the bio blends reached this and they were statistically similar to petroleum only fuels.
  2. Long term cycling pump showed no leakages with biofuels.
  3. No impact on fuel stored in copper tubing at room temperature was found.
  4. No significant difference on fuel stored with copper at high temperatures and conventional No. 2 fuel.
  5. At higher than B50 concentrations it was found that the burner needed adjusted for best efficiency. B20 will operate at the same level as standard No. 2 fuel.
  6. Finally there appears no real difference in functional use of biofuel vs the use of No. 2 fuel.

So the good news, according to this report, is that if you want to use biodiesel up to B50 there appears no difference in settings or maintenance. As long as a reputable dealer that uses biodiesel that uses ASTM D675 for its B100.

Using biodiesel blends for heating oil reduces greenhouse gases. For more information on this see the NORA report.

B20 Biodiesel Heating oil provider

How to order biofuel as your home heating oil.

Every question Star Oilco has been asked about Heating Oil.

If you want to know a little it more about Bio-fuels and what feedstocks can be used.

 

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Bulk Transporter Article on Star Oilco B99 Biodiesel use 1008 350 Star Oilco

Bulk Transporter Article on Star Oilco B99 Biodiesel use

Star Oilco graces the pages of Bulk Transporter Magazine.

Read the Bulk Transporter Magazine article about Star Oilco’s pioneering use of B99 Biodiesel in 105,500 GVW petroleum truck and trailers in the Pacific Northwest.

You can read the article by following the link below.

Star Oilco delivers sustainable fuels to Oregon in near-zero carbon trucks

 

 

If you want to talk about what Star Oilco has been doing with B99 as a major transportation fuel we look forward to talking.

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Oregon Legislature proposes an end to petroleum diesel 1024 683 Star Oilco

Oregon Legislature proposes an end to petroleum diesel

What are the alternatives to petroleum diesel in Oregon?

If Oregon bans the sale of petroleum diesel, a rapid transition to biofuels such as renewable diesel and biodiesel would happen.

 

[KGVID]https://staoilcopro.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Oregon-HB3305-1.mp4[/KGVID]

 

 

HB 3305 Petroleum Diesel ban

In Oregon, HB3305 is a House Bill proposed by Representative Karin Power to outlaw the sales of petroleum diesel to the public for use in motor vehicles.  HB3305 quoted below:

“Prohibits retail dealer, nonretail dealer or wholesale dealer from selling petroleum diesel for use in motor vehicle on or after specified dates. Requires public improvement contract to require that motor vehicles be powered by fuel other than petroleum diesel. Prohibits public body from using petroleum diesel in motor vehicle under control of public body”

The full text of the current version of HB3305 can be seen here.

HB 3305 mandates non-petroleum diesel be the only legal fuel for sale to diesel powered motor vehicles in Oregon.

Star Oilco has customers ask about this proposal and how real it is?  In Oregon the focus on low CO2 fuels in the legislature is so consistent we can expect this to not go away.  Even if HB 3305 does not move this Legislative session, this will not be the last of biofuel mandates.  For this reason Star Oilco has been working to be ahead of the curve with non-petroleum diesel substitutes. Star Oilco has been selling B99 biodiesel since 2002 and renewable diesel since 2015.  If your fleet has an interest in learning more about low CO2 fuels or try these fuels, Star Oilco is ready to serve you with both R99 renewable diesel and B99 biodiesel.

News coverage of Oregon HB 3305 is below

The Center Square’s Oregon, whose coverage of this has been syndicated to many other online news organizations, lead with the headline: Bill in the Oregon Legislature would ban diesel fuel sales by end of decade.

CDL Life had this to say: The bill would begin to ban the sale of “petroleum” diesel by “non-retail dealers” as soon as 2024 in Clackamas, Washington or Multnomah counties and state-wide by 2027.

Landline as well has following the story: Oregon bill would ban petroleum diesel. Later in the article they add this to the background of HB 3305’s origin: Power said in a statement that her goal is to phase out petroleum-based diesel and replace it with renewable diesel. She says she introduced the bill on behalf of Titan Freight, a local trucking company she says has already transitioned to renewable diesel.

KXL covered this local news quoting Oregon State Representative Shelly Boshart-Davis, a legislator who owns a trucking company and actually buys quite a bit of petroleum diesel.

Lars Larson radio interviews Rep. Shelly Boshart-Davis about HB 3305.

KQEN news radio in Douglas County also covered it with the headline: GOP says supermajority declares war on working class.

The Wildcoast Compass covered the story quoting Rep.Vikki Breese-Iverson (R-Prineville): “There is absolutely no way we can implement this legislation in accordance to these timelines without extreme disruption to Oregonians’ daily lives and the obliteration of our economy as we know it,” 

Oregon Public Broadcasting covered HB 3305 a few days after the bill dropped which might be an indication it’s moving forward. From the story: One bill, House Bill 3305, would set a staggered timeline for ending sales of diesel in the state — first in the Portland area, then throughout Oregon. Its backers hope to spur widespread use of “renewable diesel,” a product with far lower emissions that can be used in any diesel engine. They say the fuel could be an important and near-instant way for the state to cut into greenhouse gas emissions while other technologies emerge.

The Banks Post covered HB 3305 as well with the headline: Diesel fuel under fire in Oregon legislature.

What HB 3305 means in the real world?

HB 3305 means the petroleum diesel used by any commercial vehicles operated on Oregon’s highways will be replaced with biofuels.

Biofuels will replace on-road petroleum diesel at all Oregon:

  • Retail gas stations
  • Trucks stops
  • Commercial cardlocks (Pacific Pride and CFN)
  • Privately owned bulk tanks
  • Mobile on-site fueling (wet hose fueling), and
  • All other bulk deliveries of diesel fuel.

Given the media coverage of this law, which no doubt will grow if this bill progresses to hearings.  Star Oilco wanted to provide more background of what this law would mean for Oregon.  We hope this provides in depth information about what the options are for diesel fuels and a whole host of background information.  The news coverage so far fails to really provide this depth and background for those with concerns.  If you have questions, please do not hesitate to ask. Star Oilco seeks to be a neutral and accurate source of information.

Star Oilco sells renewable diesel in bulk and by our mobile on-site fueling service. It is worth mentioning from our first hand experience that users of it become raving fans.  Renewable diesel is a new fuel that many believe out performs petroleum diesel in every way. Many customers who have used it experienced improvements in horse power, fuel economy, and emission regeneration system performance.

Currently renewable diesel is in extreme high demand, limited production, and commands a high premium over petroleum diesel with few sources of supply.  Renewable diesel has some major backers in the trucking industry as well as OEMs.  As the availability of this next generation fuel grows, the number of plants manufacturing it expands, and it’s price comes down, this type of law may make far more sense.

If petroleum diesel is no longer legal for sale in Oregon, what does that mean diesel vehicles will use?

There are two immediately available diesel rated biofuels that can replace petroleum diesel.  These are two very different fuels. Renewable Diesel and Biodiesel have differences in their properties.  So please don’t confuse biodiesel and renewable diesel as the same fuels.

Biodiesel and Renewable Diesel are very different fuels.

Biodiesel is a proven and longtime available fuel in Oregon.   Biodiesel is not actually a hydrocarbon diesel though, it is a diesel like biofuel made from vegetable oil usually sold in a 5% to 20% blend with petroleum diesel. It is not recommended to run pure biodiesel in late model diesel engines if they have a particulate trap.  This differs from Renewable Diesel which is a next generation synthetic hydrocarbon diesel made from various feedstocks including vegetable oil.  It is actually diesel, it can be used as a pure drop in fuel without any blending with petroleum diesel.

What are non-petroleum diesel fuels?

Oregon HB 3305

Biodiesel or B99 (99% Biodiesel + 1% Petroleum Diesel)

Renewable Diesel or R99 (99% Renewable Diesel + 1% Petroleum Diesel)

Blends of Biodiesel and Renewable Diesel (branded REG UltraClean Diesel)

HB3305 allows for biofuels in replacement for diesel.  We assume that change would be from a current Oregon fuel mandates of B5 or R5 biofuel diesel blend to a B99 or R99 mandated fuel.   Under current Oregon law all diesel fuel must contain a 5% blend of biodiesel or renewable diesel.  Oregon’s biofuel content law can be read at ORS 646.922 and we can assume this would change that to a 99% mandate. Why 99% instead of 100%, that is a good question relating to Federal regulation of the US diesel and gasoline markets.

 

Why does this require a 99% blend (B99/R99) instead of 100% biofuel?

The reason biodiesel and renewable diesel are sold at a 99% blend is because of Federal rules associated with how petroleum companies must handle these fuels.  For this fuel to be used under the US EPA’s Renewable Fuel Standard program biodiesel and renewable diesel must be blended at a minimum 1%.  When fuel is blended at 1% with diesel, the EPA enables it to generate a “Renewable Identification Number” or “RIN” which is regulated to ensure a minimum amount of biofuels is used in the stream of commerce for fuel in the United States.  This Federal program is separate and unrelated to any program in Oregon, though the law recognizes and seeks to align with the framework created by the EPA.

What are the fuels HB 3305 would allow to be used by diesel motor vehicles in Oregon if this bill was passed into law?

The two fuels immediately available if this law was passed into law are B99 Biodiesel and R99 Renewable Diesel.

Both of these fuels exist today but have their own drawbacks.  In a nutshell, B99 is not a drop in substitute for petroleum diesel.  It is recommended to be blended at 20% with petroleum diesel (NOTE: B99 biodiesel can be used in modern diesel with an up-fit kit provided by Optimus Technologies).  On the upside, biodiesel is plentiful and competitive with petroleum diesel in cost.  If HB 3305 passed though this plentiful fuel wouldn’t be a ready substitute beyond a 20% blend with renewable diesel or with mechanical changes to existing trucks.  Contrast this with  R99 renewable diesel as a drop in ready to go substitute for petroleum diesel.  It is ready to use without blending, but has the downside of being in short supply and at a cost premium above petroleum diesel.

If Oregon’s over 2,000,000 gallons of diesel usage a day (or 750+ million gallons a year) was mandated to renewable diesel no doubt that premium would probably exceed $2 a gallon over petroleum diesel given R99’s lack of ready additional supply.  This $5 a gallon presumes that Oregon would have to pay more for the existing renewable diesel supply finding it’s way to California with several dollars a gallon of value paid for it’s lower CO2 baseline value.  California has a Clean Fuel Standard and a CO2 Cap and Trade program which provide a monetary value for renewable diesel’s lower CO2 numbers.  Oregon has a Clean Fuel Program as well, but it’s program does not pay as much for low CO2 fuels as California, making low CO2 fuels such as renewable diesel more expensive in Oregon.

B99 Biodiesel in depth.

Blends of biodiesel below 20% are extremely common in Oregon.  All fuel must contain at least 5% biodiesel content and many retail outlets, cardlocks, and major truck stops commonly sell a 10% to 20% blend of biodiesel around the state.

Biodiesel is a diesel like fuel manufactured by a chemical reaction called transesterfication, typically from vegetable oil or recycled cooking oil.  It is made by a relatively simple process and biodiesel has been a proven fuel in use in Oregon for nearly twenty years.  Star Oilco started handling and selling biodiesel in 2002.  Prior to 2007, B99 was commonly used by many commercial fleets due to it’s huge reductions in tail pipe emissions.  Vehicles manufactured after 2007, are clean diesels.  The US EPA required new clean diesel emissions systems which are impressive in their ability to make modern diesel engines extremely clean, but they can only handle biodiesel blends below B20 or 20% biodiesel unless an upgraded system is added.

Today B99 is a possible fuel for a modern clean diesel fleet with an upgrade to existing vehicle fuel supply system.  Optimus Technologies has an approved technology to enable a modern diesel aftertreatment system to operate without problems on B99.   Star Oilco has purchased five of these systems and is currently fielding them in the Pacific NW.  We expect these systems to be mainstream in coming years, but just like Renewable Diesel the technology is newly available and scaling up.

For more information about biodiesel please see our biodiesel FAQ titled Every question Star Oilco has been asked about biodiesel.

If you are interested in using biodiesel in your fleet, you can contact Star Oilco with questions or if you want to start researching we highly recommend starting with this US Department of Energy handbook titled Biodiesel Use and Handling.

 

R99 Renewable Diesel in depth.

Renewable Diesel is a next generation biofuel made from fats, oils, and greases. It is not an alternative diesel, renewable diesel is a petroleum free hydrocarbon diesel fuel. It is diesel! Renewable diesel not only less than half the CO2 of diesel refined from petroleum fuel, but it is cleaner burning and has shown evidence of reducing the cost of maintenance in fleets using it. Renewable diesel is a profound technology which has the potential to use the lowest grade trap greases, sewer materials, rendering wastes, municipal garbage, and a host of other refuse products making them into this high performance, sustainable, low CO2 diesel.

There are two categories of technology that renewable diesel is made from.  Hydrogenation and Fischer Tropsch process.

Renewable Diesel from Hydrogenation or Hydrotreating

Hydrogenation derived renewable diesel is very similar in manufacture to modern petroleum diesel in that the molecules of a the feedstock is cracked and reformed in the presence of a catalyst to form a very specific series of hydrocarbon molecules.  These being diesel and propane range fuels. The feedstocks used by renewable diesel plants are vegetable oils and animal fats.

The hydrotreating plants providing renewable diesel to Oregon currently are Neste from a plant in Indonesia, Diamond Green (in a joint venture with Valero), Sinclair, and Renewable Energy Group. All of these plants are over subscribed and 100% of their production is being taken at a premium primarily by the California low CO2 fuels market.   There are several new renewable diesel plants under way though.  Holly Frontier, Marathon, CVR Energy, and Phillips 66 are converting existing petroleum refineries into renewable diesel plants.  This process costs billions of dollars, will take years to complete, and also will be likely destined for California’s low CO2 fuel market with smaller markets like Oregon being an afterthought.

Renewable Diesel from Fischer Tropsch process.

Currently there are a number of smaller demonstration facilities making renewable diesel from wood waste and other feedstocks.  The largest proposed project currently on the books is Illinois Clean Fuels which will be collocated with major CO2 capture facility making their product negative CO2.  Fischer Tropsch renewable diesel is expected to be the future of refining given it’s flexibility of feedstock.  It’s process enables the use of municipal garbage, agricultural waste, woody biomass, and other low value plentiful materials as feedstock.  Given that the United States is called by some the “Saudi Arabia of garbage” we have plenty of supply waiting for a higher and better use as low CO2 transportation fuel.  Illinois Clean Fuels has a great explanation of how Fischer Tropsch makes renewable diesel and jet fuels.

Where can you get Renewable Diesel in Oregon?

Star Oilco currently is selling R99 Renewable Diesel for commercial use.  We can deliver to fleets seeking it in bulk or mobile onsite delivery (wet hose R99 diesel service begins Spring 2021).  If you fleet wants to trial renewable diesel, Star Oilco can work with you on a loaner tank for a 90 day demonstration of the fuel.  Call Star Oilco if you have an interest in Renewable Diesel for your fleet 503-283-1256.

If you have questions about renewable diesel, Star Oilco wants to provide answers.  Feel free to reach out if we do not have the answer we will research it.

For more information about renewable diesel please see our renewable diesel FAQ titled Every question Star Oilco has been asked about Renewable Diesel.

 

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