New York program promotes use of biodiesel in generators

By Erin Voegele | April 13, 2011

A new program in New York aims to promote the use of biodiesel-blended fuel in diesel generators. The BioGenset Project is administrated by Biodiesel Industries through a grant awarded by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

According to the project, the use of B5 in New York generators could eliminate up to 110,000 tons of carbon emissions annually while displacing 13.6 million gallons of petroleum diesel. “A 2000 estimate by NYSERDA indicates use of 720,000 gallons [of diesel] a day, or over 250 million gallons annually, in electric generators,” states the BioGenset website, noting that nearly half of petroleum diesel in the U.S. is used to fuel electrical generators and boilers.

There are several kinds of portable and stationary diesel generators, said Steven Levy, managing director of Sprague Energy and president of the New York City Lower Hudson Valley Clean Communities program. Emergency generators are used to provide power to homes and businesses in the event of electrical outages. Stationary systems, known as gensets, are often used by hospitals, schools, and businesses to maintain function during a power outage. In addition, Levy said that portable diesel generators are commonly used to supply power for special events, such as concerts or ball games.

The BioGenset Project aims to educate users of this type of equipment that the use of biodiesel-blended fuel can significantly reduce emissions while helping to drive down the nation’s dependence on fossil fuels. The program will use two primary avenues to reach the operators and owners of diesel generators, Levy said. This includes personal visits as well as workshops. According to him, an educational workshop will be held in New York City in June. “It’s going to be geared for people who have special events in and near the city, but also for schools, hospitals, utilities, municipalities, public and private buildings,” Levy said, most of which use either emergency generators or genset systems.

According to the BioGenset website, Sprague Energy can deliver B5 blends to interested parties located within the company’s service area at competitive rates. “Once you are ready to start with B5, we will inspect your equipment to ensure that everything runs smoothly,” the website notes. Participating entities will also have the option to be listed on the program’s website as a participant and mentioned in official reports detailing the emissions reductions achieved under the program.

Additional information on the BioGenset Project can be accessed on the programs website at

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