Nevada OKs natural gas-diesel alternative fuel combination
The clean-burning, more efficient fuel is made from a combination of low-sulfur diesel and natural gas.
Mon, Aug 23 2010 at 6:04 PM
ALTERNATIVE FUEL: GDiesel tests with a Humvee and a Mercedes SUV have shown up to a 36 percent gain in fuel efficiency. (Photo: Jon Patton/iStockphoto)
A Sparks refinery that produces a cleaner-burning, more efficient fuel made from a combination of low-sulfur diesel and natural gas has become the first of its kind in Nevada to win approval from state environmental regulators.
GDiesel, produced by the Reno-based Advanced Refining Concepts, received formal certification last week for the state's alternative fuels program, Nevada Division of Environmental Protection spokesman Vinson Guthreau told The Associated Press on Monday.
That means lab results showed it will reduce emissions of one or more regulated pollutants compared to conventional gasoline, the NDEP said. The fuel can now be used by several thousand state, county and city vehicles in Clark and Washoe counties — including more than 1,000 school buses — without requiring any modifications to the vehicles.
"This is the first one we've approved like this," Guthreau said.
Peter Gunnerman, co-founder and director of privately held Advanced Refining Concepts, said that in addition to burning cleaner, GDiesel provides better fuel economy at a lower cost than conventional diesel fuels.
"Receiving alternative fuel status is an important development for our company, potentially opening new and large markets for GDiesel," Gunnerman said Monday.
The company soon will produce up to 100,000 gallons of GDiesel per day at the company's Peru Heights refinery, which recently began its startup phase on a 10-acre site in the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center about 10 miles east of Sparks, Gunnerman said.
He said his tests with a Humvee and a Mercedes SUV have shown up to a 36 percent gain in fuel efficiency.
Diesel World magazine reported in its April 2010 edition that its staff recorded about a 30 percent gain in fuel efficiency, using 50 gallons of GDiesel to drive a 1996 Dodge Ram more than 1,200 miles back and forth between Reno and Sacramento on Interstate 80. The magazine said it got 22 miles per gallon compared to 17 to 19 mpg on conventional diesel.
The alternative fuels program run by the state will make GDiesel available to fleets of 50 or more vehicles owned by state, county or city governments. Washoe and Clark are the only counties currently with fleets that large.
Guthreau said individual fleet managers decide what kind of fuel to use so there was no way to immediately anticipate how much GDiesel will be used in the coming months and years.
Reformulated gasoline and other forms of biodiesel fuel are the two most popular now used in the state, he said. Others approved for the program include propane and compressed natural gas.
Sig Jaunarajs, program management supervisor for NDEP's Bureau of Air Quality Planning, said he thinks the new product shows promise.
"This is something unique that they came up with," Jaunarajs said.
"There are experiments going on with other diesel fuels out there, like O2 Diesel — oxygenated diesel. But they currently are not available in this marketplace," he said.
Jaunarajs said it is an "interesting fuel" that differs from the standard diesel sold at most gas pumps, known as No. 2 diesel fuel. He said it showed lower emission results similar to No. 1 diesel fuel — a lighter fuel used primarily in cold climates such as Alaska and Canada.
Copyright 2010 AP News