A Pinnacle Tractor in Trials by New York City Sanitation Department
Oberon Fuels and Mack Trucks have placed a Pinnacle tractor fueled by dimethyl ether in service with the New York City Department of Sanitation – marking the first-ever customer demonstration a Mack truck powered by the California company’s clean-burning fuel. updated with additional engine information on January 19
“The test is the first step in the city’s evaluation of both DME trucks and DME fuel as a potential long-term strategy to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050 and to achieve the city’s goal of sending zero waste to landfill by 2030,” states a release.
“The goal of the demonstration is to gather data on the use of DME fuel and vehicles in urban, heavy-load fleets.
Easy to Make, Easy on the Air, Easy on the Truck
“At scale,” the announcement continues, “such a program could convert hundreds of thousands of tons of organic waste into clean fuel, reducing emissions, waste, and costs for cities while improving overall air quality and creating jobs.”
DME can power efficient diesel cycle engines with markedly lower emissions: zero soot and excellent greenhouse gas numbers: the fuel can be made from landfill and other methane-laden waste gases. DME’s physical properties are similar to those of propane autogas, so it can be stored onboard vehicles in inexpensive tanks.
Fuel from California
Oberon and Mack are working with DSNY/the NYC Department of Sanitation to evaluate the Class 8 vehicle with 13-liter M8 Mack engine at the Fresh Kills Landfill, evaluating performance and overall drivability. The engine, modified for dedicated-DME operation, produces 445 horsepower and 1,650 foot pounds of torque.
“The engine was modified to include a fuel pump and injection system,” says a Mack Trucks spokesman. “The base engine and peripherals remain the same as on an MP8 diesel engine.
“The modified MP8 also features new software calibration, and the fuel tanks and plumbing to the engine were changed to replace the diesel tank and fuel lines.”
DME fuel for the Mack Pinnacle truck will be produced via catalytic distillation in California and trucked to DSNY’s Staten Island facility, says Oberon president Rebecca Boudreaux. Eventually, Oberon hopes to place its modular DME production skids at multiple feedstock locations (F&F, June 11, 2013).
‘DME Fuel Certainly Has Potential’
“We are committed to doing our part to help foster innovation and technological advancements to improve fuel efficiency and promote more sustainable alternative fuels,” DSNY deputy commissioner Rocco DiRico says in the announcement. “DME fuel certainly has potential to be a long term option for us, and this initial test is an important first step in the evaluation process.”
Oberon and Mack note that “currently, one-third of all waste on the curb in New York is organic… By recycling organic waste into DME fuel,” they say “New York and other cities can reduce land fill use, lower overall emissions, and improve overall air quality.
“The unique benefits of DME make it a great use of organic waste as part of any city’s overall sustainability plan.”
DSNY operates 59 district garages and manages a fleet of more than 2,000 rear-loading collection trucks, 450 mechanical brooms, and 500 salt/sand spreaders.
Also according to the Oberon-Mack announcement, “DME fuel, which is approved for use in all 50 states, delivers the same exceptional performance as diesel and burns cleanly without producing any soot…
“When produced from local organic waste, DME can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 68% to 101% compared to diesel as calculated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency… DME engines are also easier to maintain, offer excellent cold weather performance, and run quieter than diesel counterparts.”
The Fresh Kills demonstration project is slated to begin during this first quarter of 2017 with “results and analysis complete in mid-2017.”
Oberon’s DME, produced at the company’s pilot plant in Brawley, Calif., is also being evaluated by Ford (stay tuned).
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Source: Oberon-Mack with Fleets & Fuels follow-up