- Fleet Owner recently profiled the many advancements of New York's Department of Sanitation (DSNY) fleet. This includes more than 2,000 collection vehicles and a variety of other units such as mechanical brooms, salt spreaders, and snow melters.
- All diesel-powered vehicles now use B20 biodiesel blend and more than half of them stay on this blend in the winter. DSNY has found that natural gas isn't as viable because fueling stations require too much space and trucks need to be fueled within an hour during snow events.
- The city is currently beginning tests with renewable diesel, which reduces emissions and can fully replace standard diesel rather than be used as a blend. DSNY is also working with Mack—the company which manufactures much of its equipment—to pursue the use of an alternative liquid fuel called dimethyl ether (DME).
While DSNY is often highlighted for working toward the city's zero waste goals, the agency has been busy with a number of operational advancements. Compared to heavy diesel trucks which were used in 2005, DSNY has reduced emissions of particulate matter by 90% and made significant advancements in other categories. These efforts have been recognized with multiple awards and are seen as a key part of meeting the city's long-term sustainability goals.
Officials are currently experimenting with alternative powertrain technologies and are interested in remote diagnostics, GPS tracking, and simulator training for plow operators in the future. DSNY has also installed a $18 million dynamometer at its massive Central Repair Shop which can run large trucks through 35 duty cycles. Another notable development was the opening of DSNY's new $200 million LEED Gold-certified garage earlier this year.
This trend toward more sustainable vehicles is also occurring in the fleets of major companies across the country and in some municipalities. In Atlanta, where space isn't quite as tight as New York, the city recently opened its second compressed natural gas fueling station. As federal and state tax credits help make alternative fuels more affordable and attractive, other fleets can be expected to follow suit.