Posted By RichC on January 25, 2006
The biodiesel industry and supporters are making ground in getting manufactures to support biodiesel in their engines. Although most already approve the use of B5 (5% biodiesel), DaimlerChrysler has issued a press release that will expand this to B20 (20% biodiesel) in their Cummins diesel powered Dodge Ram pickup truck. It is good to see a ‘domestic’ truck embracing clean, renewable and domestically produced fuels.
According to the press release, the initial approval was to the military, government and fleet users of the Dodge Ram diesel powered trucks. According to the CEO of the Chrysler Group, Tom LaSorda, “diesel technology alone can make big strides toward helping us meet our national energy, environment and security objectives” … but “when you add biodiesel and other biofuels, it gets really interesting. Biofuels represent a huge opportunity to reduce fuel consumption and our dependence on foreign oil.”
Also in the press release there seemed to be a strong support for more US diesels. They will be pushing a “campaign to re-introduce diesel-powered passenger vehicles to the U.S. consumers” through the use of biofuels and BlueTec –DaimlerChrysler’s trademark name for a urea catalyst for Diesel automobile engine emissions reductions.
As for the passenger side of DaimlerChrysler, Mercedes-Benz was at the 2006 North American International Auto Show in Detroit showing off its E320 and GL320 which should makes these vehicles 50-state legal in the United States. Sales for these vehicles will begin in autumn 2006 as a 2007 model. Interestingly through the grapevine I have heard that Jeep Grand Cherokee and possibly the new Commander willl have the same Bluetec engine. Rumors also allegethat a hybrid vehicle using the technology will follow … now that should be a pretty efficient vehicle.
In the U.S. biodiesel is made primarily from soybeans although it can be produced from many oil producing plants as well as recycling fryer grease as fuels. Plants to produce biodiesel are expanding throughout the country and projected growth in this industry is 5 fold. DaimlerChrysler is also participating in research programs in Germany and India that will produce high-quality biodiesel from non-food agricultural products. One of the most promising IMHO is using fast growing, oil producing algae. For a good read, download this well done PDF presentation.