Introducing the King of Green GasMaking a dent in our CO2 emissions in Washington requires reducing the carbon footprint of our transportation system. The good news is there are many technologies available. Some commuters choose mass transit; and those who drive to work might choose a hybrid car or an electric vehicle. Unfortunately, for trucks, freight, airplanes, farm equipment, and cars that run on diesel, those aren’t realistic options today. What these vehicles all have in common is a need for fuel with a greater energy density that can also reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. The good news is Washington has a clean, homegrown solution: renewable diesel.
What Is So Special About Renewable Diesel?Renewable diesel is created entirely from renewable bio-based oils, which can be found at a restaurant, a farm, or even in your home. These bio-based substances include kitchen grease, vegetable oils, biomethane, bio-syngas, timber waste, and animal fat feedstocks. Many of us cook with oils, so they aren’t difficult to come by. The sources of renewable diesel are abundant and easy to get. In fact, Washington has enough timber waste to produce 400 million gallons of renewable diesel annually.
What About the Diesel Engine?The diesel engine was invented in 1897 by Rudolf Diesel. Interestingly enough, the diesel engine was designed to consume biofuels at the time of its inception. Diesel, in particular, designed his original engine to run on peanut oil. These days, modern technology has provided diesel engines with the capability to run on virtually no emissions, providing a valuable conduit for renewable technology.
The Real Reason We Should Care About Renewable DieselAccording to the California Energy Commission, renewable diesel can help lower carbon dioxide emissions by as much as 83 percent! That’s not bad for a product derived from an abundant waste stream. The US EPA estimated that if only one-third of the vehicles we drove in the US were diesel-powered, then the US could reduce its consumption of oil by 1.4 million barrels every day. Not only would that help reduce carbon emissions, but with an alternative source of fuel, it would also help decrease US oil demands from outside the country. With the US consuming over 20% of the world’s petroleum, 68% of which is consumed by transportation purposes alone, even one small shift could lead to dramatic, positive consequences. In addition to reducing carbon emissions, there are other great benefits of renewable diesel:
- It’s easy to use and doesn’t require special handling
- It’s identical to petroleum diesel, at least on a chemical level
- It can be used on existing diesel engines – no need to invest in extra parts!
Green Diesel Lowers Carbon EmissionsIn California, cities like Oakland and San Francisco have enabled public transportation to effectively utilize this transformative technology at little cost. The long-term benefits are well worth the penny at the pump needed to refine these. The data truly speaks for itself. Above, you can see that renewable diesel and biodiesel are playing an important and growing role in reducing Carbon (C02) emissions. In 2018, renewable diesel and biodiesel surpassed ethanol for the first time, eliminating 4.3 million tons of C02 in 2018 alone. As the adoption of technology increases, that impact is expected to grow.
Washington Needs A Greener Alternative…Now!California has built a proven path to success with renewable diesel. Today, this green gas king is taking a giant bite out of carbon emissions. Now it is time to add to the cavalry and join the war on carbon emissions for a better, more sustainable tomorrow. Every day that goes by without a switch to cleaner fuels is one less day the state (and our planet) has before overshooting our carbon budget and setting in motion an unreversible global calamity. Green diesel is ready to be deployed today, unlike some other promising technologies that are still 10-15 years away from commercialization.
Renewable diesel is already made in Washington, but it’s not readily available here. Why? Because most of it is shipped to Oregon and California, states that have already implemented a low carbon fuel standard (LCFS) designed to reduce the carbon intensity of their fuels. Because of this policy, Washington refiners can sell greener gas at a premium in those states while our drivers have no choices to opt to lower their transportation footprint.
We don’t have to wait to lower our transportation emissions, so let’s get started with a proven option that’s readily available and can reduce the CO2 footprint of diesel by 80%.