Oberon Fuels Begins First Customer Demonstration of a Dimethyl Ether (DME)-powered Mack Truck
Cleantech San Diego member company Oberon Fuels, a producer of clean-burning Dimethyl Ether (DME) transportation fuel, today announced the commencement of the first-ever customer demonstration of a DME-powered Mack truck, a Mack® Pinnacle™. Oberon and Mack are working with the NYC Department of Sanitation (DSNY) to run the vehicle at the Fresh Kills Landfill and evaluate performance and overall drivability. The test is the first step in the city’s evaluation of both DME trucks and DME fuel as a potential long-term strategy to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050 and to achieve the city’s goal of sending zero waste to landfill by 2030.
The goal of the demonstration is to gather data on the use of DME fuel and vehicles in urban, heavy-load fleets. At scale, such a program could convert hundreds of thousands of tons of organic waste into clean fuel, reducing emissions, waste, and costs for cities while improving overall air quality and creating jobs.
“It is an honor to work with Mack Trucks and DSNY to showcase the benefits of DME fuel to New York City,” said Oberon President Rebecca Boudreaux, Ph.D. “There is no better testing ground than NYC, and we are thrilled to partner with the city.”
DME fuel, which is approved for use in all 50 states, delivers the same exceptional performance as diesel and burns cleanly without producing any soot. DME emits zero soot, which can lead to substantial health improvements in areas where air quality is a high concern. When produced from local organic waste, DME can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 68-101 percent compared to diesel as calculated by the US Environmental Protection Agency and recently published by US Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory. These greenhouse gas reductions make it one of the first fuels for heavy-duty trucking that can result in a net CO2 reduction. DME engines are also easier to maintain, offer excellent cold weather performance, and run quieter than diesel counterparts.
The vehicle being tested is a Class 8 Mack Pinnacle model truck equipped with a 13-liter engine.
“We are proud to call New York City one of Mack’s largest customers, and we are pleased to deliver the first customer-ready DME-powered Mack truck to DSNY,” said Dennis Slagle, president of Mack Trucks. “We are looking forward to working with DSNY and Oberon to evaluate the performance of the Mack Pinnacle as we run it through its paces.”
Over the course of the demonstration, the truck will use Oberon’s fuel-grade DME, produced with the company’s proprietary catalytic distillation technology. The small footprint of Oberon’s production units allows them to be easily placed near local feedstock sources (e.g. food waste, landfill gas, animal waste, wastewater treatment gas), providing cities an opportunity to deal with both their waste and energy challenges – local feedstock, local production, local consumption.
Currently, one-third of all waste on the curb in New York is organic. By recycling organic waste into DME fuel, New York and other cities can reduce land fill use, lower overall emissions, and improve overall air quality. The unique benefits of DME make it a great use of organic waste as part of any city’s overall sustainability plan.
“DSNY has long been at the forefront of developing, testing, and deploying cleaner and more advanced heavy duty trucks,” said Deputy Commissioner Rocco DiRico. “We are committed to doing our part to help foster innovation and technological advancements to improve fuel efficiency and promote more sustainable alternative fuels. DME fuel certainly has potential to be a long term option for us, and this initial test is an important first step in the evaluation process.”
The demonstration is expected to run in the first quarter of 2017 with results and analysis complete in mid-2017.