ATRI Reports Renewable Diesel Outperforms Electric Trucks

Renewable Diesel

ATRI Reports Renewable Diesel Outperforms Electric Trucks for Decarbonization and Economic Viability 

In recent years, renewable diesel (RD) has gained prominence as a sustainable alternative fuel in the commercial trucking industry. The American Transport Research Institute (ATRI) recently published a report that shows RD is a much better way to reduce carbon emissions than even battery-powered trucking technology. This advanced biofuel is chemically identical to petroleum diesel, allowing it to be used as a drop-in replacement in diesel engines without any pricey modifications. With an eye toward greener horizons, switching to renewable diesel stands out as both reducing greenhouse gases and dialing down our dependencies on traditional fossil fuels.

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Overview of Renewable Diesel Consumption and Growth

The consumption of renewable diesel in the United States has experienced substantial growth, reaching 2.868 billion gallons annually by 2023. This is a 67% increase from 2022, with the majority of consumption taking place in California. The state leads in RD because of incentives like the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS). This standard promotes low-carbon fuels for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

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Production Processes and Feedstocks

Renewable diesel is produced from a variety of feedstocks, including vegetable oils, animal fats, and waste oils. They start by hydrotreating these feedstocks, basically pulling out oxygen to turn them into hydrocarbons, which are pretty much like what we find in regular diesel. Facilities dedicated to processing essentials such as soybean oil along with recycled cooking oils and animal fats are sprouting up all over the United States.

Environmental Benefits

According to research utilizing the GREET model developed by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory, RD can decrease lifecycle CO2 emissions by up to 67.3% compared to petroleum diesel. This reduction is more than double what is achievable by currently available battery electric vehicles (BEVs) for heavy-duty truck applications, where the reduction stands at 30%.

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Economic Considerations

While both renewable diesel and battery electric vehicles offer pathways to reduce emissions, renewable diesel presents fewer economic barriers to immediate adoption. Unlike BEVs, the use of RD does not require substantial new infrastructure, such as charging stations and grid upgrades. Adding renewable diesel to our fuel mix is relatively seamless and offers an affordable way to get emission numbers down now without the need for trillions of dollars in infrastructure upgrades.

Incentive Programs and Market Impact

Through a mix of incentives, government efforts from all corners are making it easier for folks to get on board with renewable diesel. RD has a leg up to ensure when you’re at the pump, choosing between it and old-school diesel doesn’t have to hurt the wallet. For instance, the federal Biodiesel and Renewable Diesel Tax Credit provides a $1.00 per gallon tax credit to fuel producers to encourage increased production and use.

Production Capacity and Future Outlook

The production capacity for renewable diesel is expanding rapidly. By 2023, the United States had significantly increased its production capacity, with further expansions planned in multiple states. Renewable diesel’s journey toward reducing emissions in trucking gets a boost both from technology innovations and regulatory incentives.

Haulers are now fueling up with renewable diesel – a key stride that can cut down on pollution and be a cost-effective, sustainable option. With support from government perks and next-gen technology, RD can play a major role in cleaning up emissions industry-wide.

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