Ames, Iowa, is adding seven new all-purpose dump trucks to its fleet that are equipped with Optimus Technologies’ advanced fuel system. The Optimus system enables the engines to operate year-round on 100% biodiesel (B100) produced by Renewable Energy Group (REG).
This announcement comes after a successful pilot was conducted with five city-owned trucks this year, meaning the city will have 12 total trucks running on B100. Biodiesel is a cleaner alternative to petroleum diesel and is a readily available, sustainable solution for fleets. Suitable for use in any diesel engine, biodiesel can be adopted starting at blends of 20% (B20), all the way up to B100. Biodiesel is considered an advanced biofuel by the EPA because it reduces greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by more than 50%. REG biodiesel reduces GHGs by up to 86% compared to diesel fuel.
At the direction of the Ames City Council, the city is looking at carbon reduction and long-term sustainability for all of its fleet purchases. The pilot project using Optimus’ Vector System, combined with REG’s B100 biodiesel, provided a tremendous opportunity to pursue a public-private partnership with widespread benefits through lower emissions.
“Our drivers tested the Vector System in five snowplows in below-zero temperatures during a big snowstorm,” says Rich Iverson, fleet support manager of Ames. “In one weekend, we used 1,000 gallons of B100 biodiesel and our drivers reported no issues in the trucks’ operations. Optimus’ Vector System certainly proved its abilities to perform at high standards.”
Like petroleum diesel, biodiesel has the potential to gel in extremely cold temperatures. The Vector System is designed to enable trouble-free use of biodiesel in all engines regardless of operating conditions. Even in the sub-zero operations the snowplows were subjected to while battling the harsh Iowa winter, the Vector System ensured that the vehicles performed flawlessly on biodiesel. One key feature of the Vector System is that it never inhibits the use of conventional diesel fuel – the system always starts and shuts down the engine on conventional diesel, operating on biodiesel only after the engine and fuel system achieve optimal operating conditions.
The city’s five trucks already equipped with the Vector System will burn about 10% of the city’s total annual diesel consumption.