Obtaining Biodiesel Now Easier Than Ever for Federal Fleets

April 1, 2002

A recent solicitation by the Defense Energy Support Center (DESC) will soon make biodiesel available at Federal sites throughout the country. The move allows Federal fleets to obtain biodiesel just as easily as petroleum diesel through DESC services.

Among the Federal biodiesel users taking part in the program are the National Park Service; the U.S. Postal Service in Manhattan, New York; the Department of Agriculture; the National Arboretum; the National Aeronautics and Space Administration; Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base in North Carolina, and Miramar Marine Corps Air Station in California. The U.S. military services will use biodiesel in commercial administrative vehicles.

Under the solicitation, DESC will procure approximately 1.5 million gallons of B20 (20 percent biodiesel/80 percent diesel). Both military and civilian fleets will be able to obtain B20 at various fueling sites throughout the country (PDF 578�KB; 2�pages). Download Acrobat Reader. By using DESC to buy the fuel, all Federal agencies are able to streamline their acquisition process by simply placing orders against the DESC contract with World Energy Alternatives of Cambridge, Massachusetts.

"This is the largest single procurement of biodiesel to date," said Joe Jobe, Executive Director of the National Biodiesel Board. "It is symbolic of the growing interest in using biodiesel in Federal and civilian fleets. It also shows that the Federal government has confidence in this thoroughly-tested fuel that has become one of the fastest-growing alternative fuels according to the Department of Energy."

Biodiesel can be used in any diesel engine, usually with no modifications to the engine necessary. It performs comparably to diesel fuel, with similar cetane and Btu content and it offers excellent lubricity and lower emissions compared to petroleum diesel fuel. More than 100 major fleets currently use biodiesel. Biodiesel can be used to meet alternative fuel vehicle (AFV) purchase requirements of the Energy Policy Act (EPAct) as well as the goals of three Executive Orders, including the renewable energy goal in Executive Order 13123.

One agency using biodiesel to earn AFV credits is the Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service in Beltsville, Maryland. "We use B20 in more than 150 diesel engines that range from farm tractors to large generators to trucks, including one bus and even one humvee," said John Van de Vaarst, Director of Facilities Management and Operations. "We find biodiesel to be as reliable and dependable as regular diesel fuel, and it's so easy to make the switch," he said.

Biodiesel is registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a fuel and fuel additive. Biodiesel reduces carcinogenic air toxics by 75 to 90 percent compared to diesel and biodiesel is non-toxic, biodegradable, and free of sulfur. Emissions it reduces include particulate matter, unburned hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and sulfates. B100 (pure biodiesel) also reduces life-cycle carbon dioxide by 78 percent compared to petroleum diesel according to DOE research.

For more information on the DESC biodiesel solicitation, please see www.desc.dla.mil/DCM/DCMPage.asp?LinkID=DESCPEHome. For information on biodiesel, please see the DOE Office of Transportation Technologies' Alternative Fuels Data Center Web site at www.afdc.doe.gov/altfuel/biodiesel.html or the National Biodiesel Board's Web site at www.biodiesel.org.