Biodiesel and Ethanol

National Park Runs Biodiesel Year-Round

April 06, 2017

Photo courtesy of REG
Photo courtesy of REG

Voyageurs National Park in Minnesota runs biodiesel blends of up to B-20 year-round, despite temperatures that fall to an average low of minus 7 degrees.

Voyageurs National Park operates pickup trucks, a large snow groomer, a dump truck, and a skid steer on biodiesel blends throughout the winter. Bill Carlson, who is responsible for the park’s fleet, equipment, campsites and trails, has run B-20 in temperatures as low as 30 degrees Fahrenheit below zero, according to a case study by Renewable Energy Group (REG), which produces biodiesel used by the park.

“You just have to make sure you have a proper winter additive, same as with petroleum diesel,” he said. “We haven’t had any issues at all.”

Carlson was warned of the opposite — that the fuel would gel, vehicles would stall, engine performance would suffer —when the park first started using biodiesel in 2000 to meet environmental goals. Instead, the park started at a B-20 blend right away and the only issue was changing filters earlier than normal at first because biodiesel was cleaning out the systems. Also, no vehicle modifications or infrastructure changes were needed. 

“Our shop guys were expecting worse because you hear all the horror stories,” Carlson said. “We were also warned about a loss of power. We use a Ford F-450 to pull a 1,000-gallon sewage pumper around. We thought if anything would notice a loss in power, it’d be that. But the driver couldn’t tell any difference.”

When the weather is nicer, the park’s barge and a tourist boat also run on biodiesel blends. Voyageurs National Park is known for its water resources, with the landscape having been carved out by glaciers and now dominated by four large lakes.

The barge, powered by twin Mercury diesel engines, used to billow heavy smoke for several minutes while warming up in cooler temperatures. That’s been cut to a negligible amount with biodiesel blends.

“We were surprised,” Carlson says. “That’s good for the environment, for the crew and for park visitors.”

Protecting the environment is the top priority in every decision the park makes, according to Carlson. Biodiesel supports that, and the park doesn’t have to sacrifice performance to achieve its sustainability goals.

Comments

  1. 1. Bill Hougland [ May 12, 2017 @ 08:56PM ]

    What additive was used?

  2. 2. Gregg [ May 22, 2017 @ 01:05PM ]

    Bill Carlson reports that Voyageurs National Park purchases pre-blended fuel, and he is not sure exactly what additive is used. He says it's working, though, as seen by the park's use of biodiesel blends ‚Äčin extremely cold temperatures.

 

Comment On This Story

Name:  
Email:  
Comment: (Maximum 10000 characters)  
Leave this field empty:
* Please note that every comment is moderated.

Article News

Popular Stories

FleetFAQ

Public Fleet Tracking And Telematics

Amin Amini from Verizon will answer your questions and challenges

View All

Recent Topics

What tool do you use to calculate residual value on heavy equipment? Thanks,

View Topic

Hello All, We are developing a formal training program for light and heavy equipment technicians. Our goal is to recruit and train...

View Topic

Fleet Documents

974 Fleet Documents (and counting) to Download!

Sponsored by

In the fleet industry, this term refers to how usage of one vehicle compares to that of another.

Read more