Pittsburgh to Run City Trucks on Biofuels

John Davis

pittsburghThe City of Pittsburgh soon could be running some of its trucks on biofuels. This article from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says a proposal is before the city council to enter into a $150,000 agreement with Optimus Technologies to convert about 20 Department of Public Works trucks to run on the green fuel, which will reduce emissions and save the city money.

Grant Ervin, the city’s sustainability manager, said Optimus’ Vector fuel system was tested on five municipal trucks in a pilot program that started in 2013. The goal is to add it to other city vehicles as an analysis of the city’s fleet needs continues.

“That’s what really exciting about it,” Mr. Ervin said, adding that part of the cost of the program will be covered by state alternative fuel grants. “For us, it’s a tool we can extend to other vehicles. … What the Optimus technology does is basically create hybrid vehicles.”

In cold weather, when biofuel can be plagued by “gelling,” the trucks can be started on conventional diesel fuel and switched to biofuel when it warms up, said Optimus CEO Colin Huwyler.

The biofuel that could be used would be made from recycled cooking oil, non food-grade corn oil from the ethanol industry and rendered animal fat.