Pittsburgh Expands Optimus Tech’s Biodiesel Solution

John Davis

optimustechThe City of Pittsburgh is expanding its use of Optimus Technologies’ solution that will allow the city to use more biodiesel in the city’s vehicles. This news release from Optimus says its EPA‐approved technology will be put in 20 public works trucks, as well as deploying an Optimus-designed, 5,000-gallon storage/refilling station at the city’s main garage that supports over 100 trucks.

Through Optimus’ solution, which reduces lifecycle emissions over 80% and fuel costs up to 25%, the city will reduce their overall emissions as required in its Pittsburgh Climate Action Plan version 2.0. The plan targets to reduce overall greenhouse gases generated by the city by 20 percent between 2003 and 2023.

The city tested Optimus’ Vector biofuel conversion system for an extensive 18 month evaluation on five of its International trucks. The trucks were used for road maintenance and snow‐removal operations. The vehicles ran more than three-quarters of the time, even on the coldest of days, on pure biodiesel. After a trouble‐free field trial, the city decided to take the next step.

“The city has a significant goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the next eight years,” said GrantErvin, sustainability manager for the city. “Since Optimus’ solution significantly reduces our emissions footprint ‐‐ while also reducing our fuel costs with their new, sustainable biofuel ‐‐ it was an easy decision to increase the number of trucks we wanted to convert.”

Ervin’s team conducted an inventory of the city’s truck fleet and prioritized the vehicles, in part, by the amount of emissions they generate. They found garbage and recycling trucks are the biggest emission contributors due to their fuel consumption and their low gas mileage – both impacted by the trucks’ many stops, idling, and restarts throughout each work day.

“Our garbage and recycling trucks are driven hard every day and any solution has to be very rugged,” said Mike Gable, Director of Public Works for the city. “We are pleased to see a purpose‐built solution for medium‐ and heavy‐duty trucks that, relative to other alternative fuel solutions, is easy to add to our trucks, minimizes changes to our maintenance operations, and minimizes any changes our fueling infrastructure.”