Evergreen Grease Service Inc. has installed Optimus Technologies’ Vector System in two of its semi-trucks, reducing carbon emissions from these vehicles to near zero, with plans to convert the whole fleet by 2022. This move is a major step towards Evergreen’s goal of reducing carbon emissions. Evergreen specializes in the collection of cooking oil, grease and waste fats from the commercial cooking and restaurant industry, and its partners process these waste products into biodiesel, a low-carbon alternative to traditional diesel. Using biodiesel to power its trucks allows Evergreen to model a true, low-carbon, circular economy—the hallmark of a truly sustainable system.
The Vector System, designed by Optimus Technologies, is a bolt-on fuel system that allows medium- to heavy-duty vehicles to run on 100 percent biodiesel (B100), even in harsh environments and sub-zero temperatures where biodiesel has not been traditionally viable. While most trucks are able to run on a 20 percent blend of biodiesel, the Vector System enables vehicles to utilize 100 percent biodiesel, allowing trucks to achieve near-zero carbon emissions. That represents a savings of about 1,500 pounds of CO2 for every 500 miles driven. The Vector System is the only technology of its kind on the market and allows for significant carbon reductions without major engine modifications. It can be installed on new trucks as they are being built, but also trucks that are already on the road today.
Although electrification is commonly perceived as the singular solution to reducing carbon emissions in transportation, in reality, the technology is not yet viable to deploy on the scale needed to achieve significant carbon reductions in the trucking sector. Electric-battery technology cannot yet provide the capacity to power large vehicles like semi-trucks efficiently, and long charging times pose challenges to the efficiency and schedules of long-distance trucking. Diesel technology is essential for these functions, and utilizing 100 percent biodiesel allows for the continued use of the core engine technology while leveraging the carbon savings of a sustainable fuel.
Evergreen, which is celebrating its 25th year in business, is a market leader in the used cooking oil and grease collection industry. Feedstocks such as these recycled fats and oils play a key role in making biofuels. The company’s commitment to collection, aggregation, and transportation of these raw materials enables safer and more sustainable renewable fuels to be manufactured and brought to market with the lowest carbon footprint. Evergreen, wanting to further reduce the carbon intensity of the feedstocks it collects, has committed to running its own trucks on 100 percent biodiesel.
“The decision to use Optimus’ Vector System in our own trucks was an easy one,” said Paul Dickerson, owner of Evergreen Grease Service. “We have been supplying the bio market for years and while we know we get back blended bio at the retail level, we wanted to up our commitment and support of our communities and customers by running B100 in our own trucks. It’s a win-win. We run over a half a-million miles per year in our small fleet, so when we learned about Optimus and the emissions offset we could generate coupled with buying back our grease as fuel, it was really a no brainer. We can’t wait for the whole fleet to be converted. The technology has been flawless.”
Colin Huwyler, CEO of Optimus Technologies, said, “Partnerships like these will change the narrative around transportation. Trucks of this size are the backbone of the U.S. economy, providing transport of essential goods from groceries and medicine to the fuels that heat our homes and power our cars. Heavy-duty trucks haul over 70 percent of the freight in the U.S. While these vehicles are significant contributors to carbon emissions, they are largely ignored in the pathway to reduce climate impact, because the changes needed can seem too expensive or out of reach. The Vector System attaches to existing trucks, providing an immediate and significant cost-effective pathway to mitigating the climate crisis. With Evergreen’s trucks now running on 100 percent biodiesel, they are operating on a fuel made from the very waste fats and grease they collect. This is the ultimate roadmap to creating a sustainable circular economy structure.”