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Tuesday, May 02, 2006

News From My Backyard: Portland's TriMet Expands Use of Biodiesel

After a successful four-month test [see previous post], TriMet announced last week that it's expanding its use of biodiesel to all 210 LIFT buses that provide door-to-door service for elderly and people with disabilities, according to a TriMet press release. This would double the locally produced biodiesel purchased by TriMet, the transit authority serving the greater Portland, Oregon metropolitan area.

TriMet uses a B5 blend of five percent used cooking oil based biodiesel fuel and 95 percent petroleum diesel. The B5 biodiesel is blended by Carson Oil using pure biodiesel produced by SeQuential Pacific Biodiesel based in Salem, Oregon.

"TriMet’s expanding use of biodiesel is helping to build a local industry that is environmentally friendly and helps us become more sustainable," said TriMet General Manager Fred Hansen.

Biodiesel for LIFT

In partnership with Carson Oil, TriMet will more than double its use of pure biodiesel from 1,350 gallons to 3,500 gallons monthly, the press release reports.

Carson Oil purchases the biodiesel from SeQuential, the first local biodiesel manufacturer in Oregon. The local biodiesel consists of vegetable oil and used cooking oil from such places as NW restaurants and Kettle Foods in Salem.

Benefits of biodiesel

According to TriMet, the transit authority's use of biodiesel helps:

  • reduce reliance on foreign oil and volatile price swings;

  • reduce air pollution and emissions; and

  • increase demand for biodiesel in region and will help expand supply.

  • "To build a truly regional biofuels industry requires a concerted effort across industries and user groups," said SeQuential Co-Founder Tomas Endicott. "We commend TriMet, other individual drivers and progressive businesses for making the choice to burn a cleaner sustainable fuel."

    4-month test

    As I reported previously, TriMet began testing biodiesel in 75 of the LIFT fleet buses in December, 2005. The biodiesel performed well through the trial period, particularly in cold weather conditions, TriMet reports.

    According to the press release, LIFT buses provided approximately one million rides last year.

    Bravo TriMet...

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