B20 Club Biodiesel
Founded in 1970, the Greater Peoria Mass Transit District (CityLink) has been a regional leader in the safe, efficient, and reliable transport of individuals and families in the greater Peoria area for more than 50 years. CityLink has also remained a leader in piloting and implementing cost-effective and sustainable transportation solutions.
CityLink’s first experience with alternative fuels came about in the early 1990s when CityLink partnered with the several corn grower associations as part of a national ethanol research program. CityLink, or GP Transit as it was known back then, was the first and largest transit system in the country to operate transit buses on E85 ethanol—fueling 14 full-size buses on the renewable fuel.
In 2009, CityLink was approached by another partner, Ag-Land FS, to test the viability of using B20 biodiesel, a blend of 20% biodiesel and 80% ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel, fuel in a year-round, cold-climate application. Considering its aging fleet and a desire to reduce emissions, CityLink entered the trial with Ag-Land FS in the early months of 2009 and the rest is history.
Since then, CityLink has consumed nearly 5 million gallons of cleaner-burning B20 biodiesel, reducing emissions equivalent to planting an estimated 134,000 trees while providing a cumulative health benefit of more than $89,000.
Biodiesel is a renewable advanced biofuel made from natural oils and fats, like soybean oil, that reduce greenhouse gases and lower tailpipe emissions. Biodiesel can be used as a substitute for petroleum diesel fuel or blended into diesel fuel to make a cleaner-burning biodiesel blend, like B20.
According to Bailey Arnold, senior manager of clean air initiatives with the American Lung Association, “Biodiesel reduces lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions as much as 86% when compared with petroleum-based diesel fuel, which helps to protect human health and the environment while supporting the agricultural community and our local economy.”
Biodiesel is the only alternative fuel to voluntarily perform EPA Tier I and Tier II testing to quantify emission characteristics and health effects. That study found that B20 reduced total hydrocarbons by up to 30%, carbon monoxide up to 20%, and total particulate matter up to 15%. Research also documents the fact that the ozone forming potential of the hydrocarbon emissions of pure biodiesel is nearly 50% less than that of petroleum fuel. Pure biodiesel does not contain sulfur and therefore reduces sulfur dioxide exhaust from diesel engines to virtually zero.
Not only is biodiesel safer for the health of humans, it is also safer for the environment. Biodiesel is a non-toxic and biodegradable biofuel that biodegrades as fast as sugar and is less toxic than table salt. That means that biodiesel poses virtually no risk in the event of an accident or spill. Biodiesel also has a flash point higher than 250°F, making it safer for transportation. In fact, biodiesel is so safe, that you can ship it in the mail without a special placard or label.
Biodiesel Success Stories
From passenger cars to bulldozers, street sweepers to transit buses, snowplows to tractor trailers, and even boats and home heating systems, the use of biodiesel is helping thousands of fleets, motorists, and homeowners reduce carbon emissions and clear the air. Biodiesel is here and now, powering vehicles and equipment across the country in all kinds of weather and conditions. Here are just a few examples.
City of Moline video https://youtu.be/IHShs501xYg
JD Schulte, director of public works, and Sarah Mark, interim fleet manager, explain how B20 biodiesel is benefiting local air quality in the City of Moline. Moline began using B20 in 2005 and switched to B20 year-round in 2019.
G&D video https://youtu.be/IHShs501xYg
Vince Buonassi, group transportation manager, explains how B20 biodiesel benefits G&D Integrated’s fleet of more than 400 diesel-powered tractor-trailers. G&D has used biodiesel blends up to B20 since 2012.
Midway Airport Shuttle video https://youtu.be/hCq9WPO5FVc
Mike Mairson, general manager, and Al J. LaGrone, shop foreman, explain the benefits of using B20 biodiesel year-round in Midway Airport Shuttle’s fleet of 22 buses at Midway International Airport in Chicago. Midway Shuttle has used B20 biodiesel year-round since 2012.
What is biodiesel?
- Biodiesel is the name given to a clean-burning alternative to diesel fuel. It is produced from a broad range of renewable resources including soybean oil, animal fats and recycled cooking grease. Biodiesel is the first and only EPA-designated advanced biofuel in commercial-scale production across the country and can be used in existing diesel engines without modification. Biodiesel can be used alone or blended with petroleum diesel in any proportions.
Why use biodiesel?
- After millions of miles on the road, biodiesel has proven itself as a reliable, low-carbon and cleaner-burning renewable fuel. It also diversifies the US fuel supply, supports American jobs, and adds back to the US economy.
Does biodiesel contain petroleum?
- Biodiesel contains no petroleum, but it can be blended at any level to create a biodiesel blend.
What is a biodiesel blend?
- When biodiesel is blended with petroleum, it becomes a biodiesel blend. It is often labeled with the amount of biodiesel found in the fuel, B20 for example is a blend of 20 percent biodiesel and 80 percent petroleum diesel.
Is biodiesel the same as raw vegetable oil?
- No. Biodiesel goes through a process called transesterification to remove glycerin from the oil. Fuel-grade biodiesel must meet the strict industry standards of ASTM D 6751 in order to insure proper performance.
Does biodiesel work in cold weather?
- Yes. Biodiesel blends of up to B20 can be used in cold weather. Just like regular diesel, biodiesel can gel in cold temperatures, so precautions need to be taken. Find out more in the cold weather section of our Biodiesel Facts Sheets page.
Is biodiesel a sustainable product?
- Yes. Biodiesel is made from renewable by-products of food production and is the most diverse fuel in the world. It reduces greenhouse gas emissions by up to 86%, gives back energy to the environment and reduces smog to make our air healthier to breathe.