The City of Madison, Wisconsin, will retrofit 20 fleet service vehicles to run nearly 100% on biodiesel fuel with funding from the Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board (WSMB) and the National Biodiesel Board. Economic and environmental benefits of this investment will include reduced carbon emissions, cleaner air and water, and an expanded market for Wisconsin soybean farmers whose soybeans are a key ingredient of biodiesel fuel, according to the groups.
Biodiesel is a renewable, cleaner-burning diesel-fuel replacement made from a variety of resources such as recycled cooking oil, soybean oil, and animal fats. It can be used in all diesel engines in blends from B-5 (5% biodiesel blended with 95% low-sulfur diesel) all the way up to 100% (B-100). The 20 Madison vehicles will be retrofitted with technology that starts their engines using standard diesel and automatically switches to B-100 fuel when the engines reach a certain temperature.
Madison Fleet Superintendent Mahanth Joishy said Madison’s desire to lower carbon emissions is a driving force behind the use of biodiesel fuel. Last year, the Madison fleet used a 20% blend of biodiesel fuel from April to September, and a 5% blend for the remainder of the year in its ambulances, fire trucks, garbage/recycling, and snowplows. Currently, the Fleet Service operates nearly 600 trucks that run on these lower blends.
Since 2018, biodiesel fuel has helped Madison Fleet Services to save more than 5 million lbs. of carbon emissions — or more than 8% of the fleet’s total carbon emissions. All of the biodiesel used by Madison Fleet Service comes from Wisconsin farms.