Green Diesel for the Road Ahead
New report identifies top 13 biomass blendstocks to reduce vehicle emissions
Diesel engines far outpace gasoline engines when it comes to miles-per-gallon for freight-hauling heavy-duty trucks. And thanks to advances in technology, today’s diesel engines emit far lower levels of pollutants, including soot and nitrogen oxides (NOx), than they used to.
Because heavy-duty trucks are harder to electrify than passenger vehicles, further reducing emissions—including greenhouse gases (GHGs)—from diesel engines will help improve air quality and the carbon intensity of medium- and heavy-duty transportation.
A new report from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Co-Optima initiative identifies the top 13 diesel fuel blendstocks from biomass resources that could reduce harmful emissions from medium- to heavy-duty diesel vehicles. The top 13 blendstocks include hydrocarbons, esters, and ethers that have the potential to reduce GHG emissions by at least 60% and be produced at a competitive cost.
The blendstocks could also make the emissions control system simpler and less expensive to operate. Together, the improvements could translate to lower costs for industry and consumers.
“Lower engine-out emissions can be cheaper to operate and potentially a little more efficient, and using blendstocks made from biomass and waste means lower well-to-wheels GHG emissions,” said Dan Gaspar, a bioenergy researcher at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and lead author of the report.
Co-Optima stands for Co-Optimization of Fuels & Engines and is a collaboration among multiple DOE national laboratories, universities, and industry to accelerate the development of affordable, scalable, and sustainable biofuels along with high-efficiency, low-emission vehicle engines. The work is sponsored by DOE’s Vehicle Technologies Office and Bioenergy Technologies Office.