Growmark Pilots Vector System to Decarbonize Bulk Fuel Transportation Fleet with B100

Growmark Inc. recently announced that it partnered with Optimus Technologies to test 100% biodiesel in five semi-tractors in its Manito Transit fleet as a potential pathway for transitioning the entire fleet to low-carbon fuels. The development is part of Growmark’s ongoing efforts to look for decarbonization opportunities within the company and its network. 

Optimus Technologies provides technology solutions fleets can deploy to immediately reduce carbon affordably and sustainably. Its Vector System engine upgrade ensures heavy-duty diesel engines operate dependably in all weather conditions on either B100, biodiesel blends, and/or petroleum diesel.

Steve Kubsch, director of Manito Transit and asset management for Growmark, said one of the most compelling reasons to pilot biodiesel is the ability to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.  “Our fleet drives 5 million miles annually, even this pilot with five heavy-duty trucks is going to significantly lower carbon-dioxide emissions and the other pollutants found in traditional diesel,” Kubsch said. “Biodiesel can also help us improve air quality in communities near busy trucking routes.”

The U.S. DOE cites a lifecycle analysis by the Argonne National Laboratory study that concluded emissions for 100 percent biodiesel (B100) are 74 percent lower than emissions from petroleum-based diesel. Research also found that biodiesel lowers particulate matter by 47 percent, unburned hydrocarbons by 67 percent, and carbon monoxide by 48 percent.

“We are delighted to team up with Growmark, an organization firmly committed to agricultural and environmental sustainability practices, and show what we know from more than 10 million miles of proof—that decarbonization is financially and environmentally sustainable for heavy-duty fleets today,” said Colin Huwyler, CEO of Optimus Technologies. “Our upgrade to the Kenworth T680s using PACCAR MX-13 12.9L powertrains is reducing Growmark’s scope 1 emissions.”

Since the pilot began in summer 2023, thousands of gallons of biodiesel have been used in the five Manito Transit trucks. Kubsch also says the drivers of the trucks using biodiesel have detected no change in performance. “Our drivers have indicated no complications using the biodiesel, the trucks are performing in the same way as when they were using petroleum-based diesel,” he said. The pilot is expected to run through 2027. 

Based in Bloomington, Illinois, Growmark is an agricultural cooperative serving almost 400,000 customers across North America, providing agronomy, energy, facility engineering and construction, and logistics products and services, as well as grain marketing and risk-management services.

Originally shared by Biobased Diesel Daily, May 1, 2024. Edited for purpose and clarity, May 2, 2024.

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