AC Transit and Chevron Launch Pilot Program to Test Alternative Fuels
Cleaner-burning biodiesel and GTL diesel to fuel Bay Area buses during six-month study.
SAN RAMON, CA.- The Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District (AC Transit) and Chevron Products Company today launched the Cleaner Fuels Test Program, which will study two alternative fuels in a fleet of buses traveling Bay Area roadways.
During the six-month study, AC Transit will test a biodiesel fuel blend and GTL (gas-to-liquids) diesel in a fleet of 22 unmodified diesel buses. Chevron will provide the fuels and engine manufacturer Cummins Inc. will provide engine assessments and technical consulting. It’s anticipated the test buses will transport more than 1.5 million passengers, travel over 400,000 miles and consume more than 100,000 gallons of alternative fuels during the study period.
The pilot program is unique because it provides the opportunity for an end-user, a fuel provider and an engine manufacturer to collectively learn more about the characteristics, distribution, efficiency and emissions of biodiesel and GTL diesel. In addition to understanding the potential emissions benefits of these fuels, the program will help guide future alternative fuel solutions by giving participants invaluable operational experience in such critical areas as fuel handling, blending and storage.
The Cleaner Fuels Test Program builds on the successful partnership between AC Transit and Chevron with the HyRoad Fuel Cell Demonstration Program. Through the groundbreaking program, Chevron built hydrogen production and fueling facilities that have been powering AC Transit’s fleet of zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell buses since January 2006.
AC Transit and Chevron have shown how public/private partnerships can work to advance technological innovation through real-world demonstration,“ said Rick Fernandez, general manager of AC Transit. ”As a public transit agency, our mission is to provide the best possible service to our communities. By exploring a range of emissions-reducing fuel alternatives, we not only provide cleaner, ’greener’ public transportation for our region, we also help advance our range of alternative fuels, potentially bringing benefits to communities far beyond our own service area"
“Chevron supports increasing the amount of renewable and alternative fuels in the transportation fuel mix as a way to help expand and diversify energy supplies,” said Mike Wirth, executive vice president of Global Downstream for Chevron.
Added Shariq Yosufzai, president of Global Marketing for Chevron, “Pilot programs like this one are important to furthering our understanding of how alternative fuels can play a greater role in meeting future energy needs and in building on our legacy as a reliable supplier of quality fuels, such as our gasolines with the proprietary Techron® additive.”
The Cleaner Fuels Test Program will study B20, a blend of 20 percent biodiesel and 80 percent ultra low sulfur diesel. Biodiesel can be produced from a variety of refined biological materials and has the potential to reduce overall carbon emissions. While B20 can be used in conventional diesel vehicles, most engine manufacturers warranty their vehicles only for biodiesel blends up to 5 percent. This partnership provides the opportunity to study the impact of a higher biodiesel blend on engines.
The pilot program also will study the use of 100 percent GTL diesel, a high-quality liquid fuel derived from natural gas that is virtually sulfur-free, almost odorless and can potentially benefit air quality. In addition, the ability to produce GTL diesel will help diversify supplies needed to meet the increasing global demand for transportation fuels.
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