- New York's Department of Sanitation is conducting a field demonstration test of the first Mack Truck powered by dimethyl ether (DME) from Oberon Fuel. DME is seen as a cleaner alternative to diesel and can require less expensive emissions control systems, as reported by Trucks.com.
- Testing began this week with a Class 8 Mack Pinnacle truck that has a 13-liter engine using Oberon's DME. Oberon's proprietary catalytic distillation technology fits into production units small enough to be placed near local feedstocks such as food waste, animal waste, landfill gas or wastewater treatment gas.
- The demonstration is being conducted at DSNY's Fresh Kills Landfill on Staten Island and will run during the first quarter of 2017. Results and analysis are expected by mid-year.
DSNY is one of Mack's largest customers and operates a fleet with thousands of vehicles. The amount of particulate matter from the fleet's emissions has been reduced significantly over the past 10 years by switching to biodiesel and the agency continues to explore new ways to further improve fleet performance. If DME is a successful option it could help with two of New York's major sustainability goals — "zero waste" by 2030 and reducing greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050.
Low diesel prices have limited DME's growth in the market despite approval in all 50 states, proven emissions reductions of at least 70% and interest from multiple major vehicles manufacturers. Though as new federal emissions standards begin to take effect, companies and municipalities have been looking for new ways to update their fleets. This fuel could become a more popular option as DME-powered vehicles run more quietly and can operate better in colder climates.
The transition to cleaner fuels has already begun in many fleets throughout the waste industry, with multiple companies putting their resource into compressed or liquid natural gas. Waste Management and Republic Services have made major investments in this area, which has earned them recognition for climate change mitigation. Electric vehicles are also on the rise as seen with the debut of Wrightspeed's first electric powertrain system in a collection vehicle owned by California's Ratto Group last fall.