Transport for London is gearing up for a year-long test of B30 biodiesel in 12 of its older Mercedes Sprinter vehicles in door-to-door Dial-a-Ride service.
If the renewable fuel proves out in the aging Sprinters with their four-cylinder, 2.8-liter engines, TfL will tackle the warranty issues that stymie its use in newer diesel vehicles. Biodiesel could then find regular use in some 370 so-called DAR vehicles, as well as in the agency’s larger buses. TfL might even undertake the installation of its own blending facilities.
It is estimated that the B30-fueled vehicles will produce 25% less carbon emissions than a normal diesel-powered vehicle.
TfL’s biodiesel will be supplied by Scotland’s Argent Energy, which processes used cooking oil from the catering industry and tallow, a residue from meat processing. Argent diverts no feedstocks from food use, development director Dickon Posnett told F&F. “It is the most sustainable of any of the current commercial biofuels,” the company says.
Argent is the first European biodiesel producer registered with the U.S. EPA for sales in America, Posnett says.
Elsewhere in clean vehicles, TfL has 171 hybrid diesel buses in London, which its says is already the largest hybrid fleet in the UK – and has 150 more on order. The agency currently operates five hydrogen fuel cell buses between Covent Garden and Tower Gateway Station. They entered service this past January. “It is hoped that, with the purchase of three more buses, the route will be serviced completely by hydrogen buses, a first for the UK,” states a release.