This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

September 05, 2007

EPA Recognizes 48 Companies for Promoting Renewable Fuels in Trucks

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) acknowledged 48 companies in late August that have joined its "SmartWay Grow & Go" program, which encourages the use of renewable fuels in tractor-trailer trucks. The EPA program, launched in October 2006, is an offshoot of the EPA SmartWay Transport Partnership, which encourages the development and use of efficient trucks. The new program aims to convince one-quarter of the EPA's SmartWay Transport partners to start using renewable fuels by 2012, raising that to one-half of the partners by 2020. EPA is currently working with about 600 SmartWay Transport partners, including major truck and rail carriers as well as shipping and logistics companies, so the agency still has a way to go before reaching its goal. But one partner, the National Biodiesel Board (NBB), is certainly doing its part, providing mapping software that helps truckers find biodiesel pumps. See the NBB press release.

The EPA recognized its partners at the Great American Trucking Show, where it also displayed the first SmartWay-certified tractors and trailers, a lineup of the cleanest, most fuel-efficient heavy-duty trucks available on the market. The six new models of SmartWay tractors and trailers are equipped with a series of advanced aerodynamic features, idle-reduction options, and low-rolling-resistance tires that together can serve as a model for improving the fuel efficiency of heavy-duty trucks by up to 20%. To date, SmartWay partners have saved more than 350 million gallons of diesel fuel and eliminated nearly 4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, primarily through the adoption of fuel-saving technologies and strategies, according to the EPA. See the EPA press release and the list of partners on the SmartWay Grow & Go Web site.

While most people would think of biodiesel when talking about renewable fuels in trucks, the Volvo Group recently demonstrated that its trucks can be modified to run on up to seven different renewable fuels. Volvo ran its trucks on biodiesel; biogas (methane); a mix of biodiesel and liquefied biogas; dimethyl ether, or DME, produced by gasifying biomass; a blend of ethanol and methanol; synthetic diesel produced from gasified biomass; and a mix of hydrogen and biogas. As the CEO of Volvo put it, "With these vehicles, we have shown that Volvo is ready, that we possess the technology and the resources for carbon-dioxide-free transport ... " See the Volvo press release.