Chevron subsidiary Chevron Products Co. recently 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 is anticipated that 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 length of the study.
The pilot program provides a unique 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 will study B20, a blend of 20% biodiesel and 80% 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%. 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% GTL diesel, a 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.