SF Biodiesel Programs and Fleet Conversion

(April 24, 2007)

Mayor Newsom Opens S.F.'s First Commercial Biodiesel Fueling Station, Heralds City's Progress on Conversion of City Fleet to Biodiesel

Mayor Also Announces New Program to Recycle Restaurants' Waste Oil into City Biodiesel Starting Fall 2007

San Francisco, CA: A year after setting an aggressive goal of converting 100% of San Francisco's diesel fleet to running on a biodiesel blend, Mayor Gavin Newsom today touted the City's progress after the first quarter of 2007 even as he opened San Francisco's first viable commercial biodiesel fueling station. Thirty-Nine percent (39%) of the City's fleet has already converted to use of a biodiesel blend, well ahead of the 25% expected by this point, and 100% of Norcal Recycling/Waste Management's fleet has converted to the use of biodiesel. Mayor Newsom also announced a new program beginning this Fall that will pick up waste oil from the City's thriving restaurant industry and recycle it as biodiesel for the City's fleet.

"Every City bears responsibility for taking local action to address our global climate crisis, and vehicle emissions are a major source of greenhouse gases," said Mayor Newsom. "When it comes to the use of alternative fuels, renewable energy sources and greening our City fleet, San Francisco is demonstrating leadership and commitment on every front."

The conversion from use of traditional diesel fuel to biodiesel fuel by the City fleet, Norcal and many resident's personal vehicles is made possible by use of what is known as "B20," a mix of 20% recycled biomass and 80% traditional diesel fuel. Unlike "B100," or 100% biofuel, most commercially sold diesel engines can run on B20 without any adjustment or adaptation. Use of biodiesel will enable the City to achieve significant reductions in very fine soot particles. These microscopic particles are one of many toxic pollutants that are emitted from diesel exhaust, which has been linked to an array of serious health problems such as increased incidences of asthma and premature death. Biodiesel usage also greatly reduces carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, toxic air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions. The City has worked for more than a year on biodiesel projects with the support and advice of the citizens and experts on the City's Biodiesel Access Task Force.

The new fueling site at the Olympic station at 2690 Third Street (at 23rd St) will supply commercially licensed diesel vehicles through card-lock dispensers with B20 twenty-four hours a day. It is the first viable biodiesel fueling station to open in San Francisco. A station supplying B100 existed for a short time in 2001, but there existed no market for 100% biofuel at the time.

"San Francisco's progress on biodiesel puts the City on track to meet its commitments under Mayor Newsom's Climate Action Plan, which calls for reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 20% below 1990 levels by 2012," said San Francisco Department of the Environment Director Jared Blumenfeld. "We're not just talking about what needs to be done to stave off global warming, we're doing it."

Mayor Newsom also joined San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) General Manager Susan Leal in announcing a new program beginning this Fall to pick up waste oil from the City's thriving restaurant industry, deliver that fuel to a biofuel processing facility, and reuse the recycled oil as a biodiesel source for City vehicles. The grease collection program will result in an estimated 1.5 million gallons of biodiesel each year. Waste fats, oils and grease are a major source of blockages and backups in the City's sewer system. Each year, the SFPUC spends $3.5 million responding to more than 2500 grease related blockages. Restaurants must currently pay to have their waste oil picked up by a private vendor, but the new program will offer the waste oil pickup service for free by the SFPUC to restaurants who comply with the program standards.

"From blocking sewers to fueling cars, we're going to turn one of our sewer system's biggest problems--grease--into an asset for restaurants and an alternative energy source for City vehicles," said SFPUC General Manager Susan Leal.

Federal officials were also on hand Tuesday to laud the City's biodiesel initiatives lend their support for the projects.

"In celebration of Earth Day, US EPA congratulates the City of San Francisco on its biofuels initiative. This project to convert waste grease to biodiesel will reduce diesel emissions, conserve natural resources, and help lower our country's dependence on foreign oil," said Jeff Scott, Director of the Waste Management Division of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (US EPA) Pacific Southwest Office.

Mayor Newsom also announced a new project between the Department of the Environment and the non-profit Green Depot program to educate Bayview-Hunters Point and southeast community residents about the environmental benefits of converting to biodiesel when possible. Biodiesel results in reduced NOx and particulates emissions compared to diesel, which is most commonly used in large trucks and industrial vehicles. In addition to City efforts to close the remaining older, polluting Potrero power plant, increased use of biodiesel by the City, residents and businesses would further reduce harmful emissions in the neighborhood.

"Our biodiesel projects are not just about combating climate change," said Mayor Newsom. "They're also about making our air cleaner and protecting the health of all San Franciscans."