Green Fleet

The Greening of GWP Fleet Services

July 2008, Government Fleet - Feature

by Robert LaRoche

In the spring of 2001, Glendale Water & Power (GWP) fleet services took an aggressive approach to addressing environmental issues. It was time for a change in the green direction for the Southern California agency. Today, 51 percent of all GWP units use an alternative fuel or emissions reduction technology.

In March 2001, the fleet introduced B-20 biodiesel, a blend of 20-percent biodiesel and 80-percent diesel, into its diesel-powered vehicles. B-20 can be used in any diesel engine without modifying the engine or fueling infrastructure.

GWP Incorporates Early Use of ULSD

After using B-20 successfully for one year throughout its entire diesel vehicle and equipment fleet, GWP replaced regular diesel fuel in its vehicles with ultra low sulfur diesel (ULSD) four years ahead of its EPA-mandated use. ULSD has less than 15 parts per million (ppm) of sulfur, compared to the federal 500-ppm sulfur limit for low sulfur diesel. ULSD also can be used in all diesel-powered engines without modification to an engine or fuel system.

The primary benefit of using ULSD is emissions reductions. ULSD can provide up to 13-percent reductions in particulate matter (PM) or soot and hydrocarbons (HC), a 6-percent reduction in carbon monoxide (CO²) and a 3-percent reduction in nitrogen oxide (NOx). When ULSD is used with particulate filters, the reductions increase to 20-85 percent of PM, 90-percent of HC, 90 percent of CO², and 15-20 percent in NOx. GWP currently runs 16 vehicles with particulate filters. By 2010, all GWP diesel-powered vehicles will have particulate filters.

Since ULSD is produced with less lubricity and a benefit of B-20 is enhanced lubricity, a blending of these fuels makes a perfect marriage. Before use of B-20 in 2000, the average diesel smoke density test per vehicle was 15.6 percent. In 2001, with the use of B-20, the average smoke density per vehicle dropped to 4.9 percent. In 2007, with the use of ULSD and B-20, the average smoke density per vehicle was 2 percent, 5 percent of the allowed limit.

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