California’s Santa Barbara switches public fleet to renewable diesel

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Since the start of December, Santa Barbara Metropolitan Transit District (MTD) in the US state of California, has transitioned away from fossil-based diesel and will now fuel its fleet with renewable diesel.

The transition towards the cleaner burning fuel does not require any changes to existing infrastructure, and the new fuel can be dispensed into the same tank that held the fossil-based diesel fuel.

Renewable diesel is distinct from biodiesel in that it is refined from a mix of over 10 different wastes and residues, as well as various vegetable oils. Around 92% of the fuel is from feedstocks including used cooking oil, waste animal fat, waste fish fat and residue oils.

The renewable fuel is odourless and emits 33% less fine particulates that can aggravate asthma. Additionally, renewable diesel represents an 80% reduction in emissions and carbon intensity compared to petroleum diesel.

In November 2018, Santa Barbara MTD’s board of directors set a goal to transition the entire MTD fleet to 100% battery-electric by 2030.