FKEC First to Switch to Biodiesel
In early 2007, FKEC converted all of its bucket trucks and other diesel-powered vehicles to biodiesel, a clean burning alternative fuel. The Cooperative was the first fleet operator in the Florida Keys to switch to biodiesel fuel. The conversion requires no modifications to the vehicles but substantially lowers emissions.
According to the National Biodiesel Board, the alternative fuel is produced from domestic, renewable resources and contains no petroleum, but it can be blended at any level with petroleum diesel to create a biodiesel blend. Biodiesel is simple to use, biodegradable, nontoxic, and essentially free of sulfur and aromatics.
FKEC consumes approximately 1,000 gallons of biodiesel a week. After being refined, every 42-gallon barrel of crude oil yields about 10 gallons of traditional diesel fuel, with the remainder becoming gasoline and other products.
“If you look at the just the amount of oil that needs to be refined to create traditional diesel, FKEC will be consuming 100 fewer barrels every week, which equates to 5,200 barrels per year,” Newberry said. “It may not be much compared to our national consumption, but it’s a start.”
Enhanced Performance with Synthetic Oil
In 2007, FKEC also began using synthetic oil in all cooperative vehicles. The switch to synthetic motor oil has enhanced the performance of the fleet and also drastically decreased the company’s carbon footprint.
By using synthetic oil, FKEC puts 170 fewer oil filters into landfills annually and uses 450 fewer gallons of oil. The maintenance is also reduced and the alternative motor oil saves money by extending engine life, lowers cost of repairs, labor and cost of fuel consumption. Not to mention, it also decreases the amount of harmful exhaust emissions and increases fuel economy, which reduces the need for gas.
The Advantages of Biodiesel
- Biodiesel is the only U.S. alternative fuel to pass EPA Health Effects Testing, which provide the most thorough testing of environmental and health effects attributes.
- The only alternative fuel that runs in any conventional, unmodified diesel engine and can be stored where petroleum diesel is.
- Biodiesel can be used alone or mixed in any ratio with petroleum diesel fuel.
- The lifecycle production and use of biodiesel produces approximately 80% less carbon dioxide emissions, and almost 100% less sulphur dioxide.
- Biodiesel is 11% oxygen by weight and contains no sulphur. Its use can extend the life of diesel engines because it’s more lubricating.
- It is safe to handle/transport because it is as biodegradable as sugar, and 10 times less toxic than table salt.
- It can be made from domestically produced, renewable oilseed crops (i.e. soybeans, canola, cotton, palm and mustard seed).
- Biodiesel is a proven fuel with over 30 million successful US road miles, and over 20 years of use in Europe.
- Biodiesel replaces petroleum exhaust odor with the pleasant smell of popcorn or french fries.