Biofuel Engine Technology Facilitates Heavy Truck Sustainability Transition

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by KnowESG

According to a study, an engine technology that uses plant-based fuels like ethanol to power heavy-duty vehicles can reduce pollutants, help operators meet sustainability targets faster, and save more money than alternative options.

The study, commissioned by ClearFlame Engine Technologies and conducted by Gladstein, Neandross & Associates, looked at the total cost of ownership (TCO) and predicted emissions performance of ClearFlame's engine modification system. According to the study, the technology can reduce overall carbon emissions by 42 per cent throughout the life of a truck compared to diesel and by 22 per cent compared to battery electric vehicles.

Electric and hydrogen platforms, according to the research, can produce zero tailpipe emissions. Despite efforts by companies like WattEV to increase the use of electric heavy-truck fleets and infrastructure, as well as the Department of Energy's prediction that electric will be cheaper than diesel by 2035, the report says that lagging fuel and charging systems and the cost per mile of operations are seen as a significant barrier to transitions.

According to another Fitch analysis, road freight transportation still has work to do in terms of minimising sustainability risks, with the clearest way being a conversion to biofuels and hydrogen, which could reduce emissions by 20% by 2050.

According to Gladstein, Neandross & Associates, this means that technologies like ClearFlame's can give more rapid emissions and cost savings. Heavy-duty trucks may now run on fuels other than diesel, such as ethanol, thanks to new engine technology.

According to the ethanol technology report, alternative feed sources created by the ethanol sector that provide lower carbon intensity have the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions even more. Compared to diesel, improving industrial methods, such as using more corn fibre and stover, and adding carbon capture to manufacturing facilities, might result in emissions reductions of 69 to 83 per cent.

Several operations in the Midwest have developed carbon capture and permanent sequestration using ethanol production. Summit Carbon Solutions, for example, has pledged to supply more than 8 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide per year from 31 sites, making it one of the world's largest such projects.

Gladstein, Neandross & Associates did their research in October 2021, when the national average price of diesel was $3.48 per gallon. It was discovered that trucks employing the technology would have an 8-cent lower cost per mile than diesel, 9-cent lower cost per mile than natural gas, 97-cent lower cost per mile than electric, and 61-cent cheaper cost per mile than hydrogen platforms.

ClearFlame claims that its technology will fulfil the same emissions limits as modern diesel engines, including the higher standards set by California's Low NOx Heavy-Duty Omnibus Regulation and new EPA rules.

According to the Energy Information Administration, ethanol was the third most popular road transportation fuel in the United States in 2021. It is also a significant biofuel component in generating sustainable aviation fuels.

Source: Environment + Energy Leader


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