BQ-9000 cleans up the streets of New York

By | December 21, 2009
New York City is known as one of the cultural and fashion capitals of the world. You could also say it is the garbage capital of the world. No other city has a larger municipal refuse fleet, and when it comes to fueling its 4,000 diesel vehicles, the City of New York's Sanitation Department trusts biodiesel.

"We were already a leader in using other renewable fuels when biodiesel started gaining popularity in 2006," said Spiro Kattan, supervisor of mechanics. "We wanted to gain experience with biodiesel, so we launched a 5 percent blend at one location in about 40 vehicles. It performed extremely well, so we decided to go citywide with B5 in 2007." That mammoth fleet includes diesel garbage trucks, dump trucks and salt spreaders.

"We can't afford for our garbage trucks not to run," Kattan said. "Our trucks don't only pick up garbage. They are also equipped with snowplow hitches. We're a part of the city's snow emergency plans and our mayor would not be too happy if our vehicles went down during a snow storm."

Reliability is one reason the department decided to build a BQ-9000 requirement into its fuel procurement process. The biodiesel industry's fuel quality assurance program requires that the producer or marketer meet stringent practices. Sprague Energy, which supplies the department's fuel, became the first petroleum marketer to earn BQ-9000 certification several years ago.

"Those trucks have to run, and BQ-9000 gives us a higher comfort level that our provider is meeting a high standard," Kattan said. "When it comes to any fuel-not just biodiesel-it's all about quality, quality, quality. The BQ-9000 program is a real plus for us."

The department is running a 20 percent blend (B20) in one location and is considering moving everything to B20 in the future.
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