Walk This Way: NYC agrees to Run D.M.E. in new fuels trial

January 15, 2017 |

BD TS 011617 Oberon DME cover sm

A generation ago, a group known as Run-D.M.C. came Straight Outta New York City with the idea that you could make it out of the underground world of hip-hop and to the world of mainstream music with chart-topping anthems that were true to their roots. After a partnership with Aerosmith resulted in the best version of Walk This Way ever captured on a recording and took the Billboard Top 100 by storm, music never looked back.

This week, a company known as Oberon Fuels running a DME technology is coming Straight Outta New York City with the idea that you can make it out of the the boutique world of advanced renewable fuels and into the world of mainstream of big trucks in everyday use. And they’ve signed a partnership with the  New York City Department of Sanitation to commence the first-ever customer demonstration of a DME-powered Mack truck.  Fuels will never look back.

First step to transformation

Oberon and Mack will run the vehicle at the Fresh Kills Landfill and evaluate performance and overall drivability, as a first step in the city’s evaluation of both DME trucks and DME fuel as a potential long-term strategy to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050 and to achieve the city’s goal of sending zero waste to landfill by 2030.

Why DME?

DME fuel, which is approved for use in all 50 states, delivers the same exceptional performance as diesel and burns cleanly without producing any soot. DME emits zero soot, which can lead to substantial health improvements in areas where air quality is a high concern.

When produced from local organic waste, DME can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 68-101 percent compared to diesel as calculated by the US Environmental Protection Agency and recently published by US Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory. These greenhouse gas reductions make it one of the first fuels for heavy-duty trucking that can result in a net CO2 reduction. DME engines are also easier to maintain, offer excellent cold weather performance, and run quieter than diesel counterparts.

Currently, one-third of all waste on the curb in New York is organic. By recycling organic waste into DME fuel, New York and other cities can reduce land fill use, lower overall emissions, and improve overall air quality. The unique benefits of DME make it a great use of organic waste as part of any city’s overall sustainability plan.

The demonstration

The demonstration is expected to run in the first quarter of 2017 with results and analysis complete in mid-2017.

The vehicle being tested is a Class 8 Mack Pinnacle model truck equipped with a 13-liter engine. The goal of the demonstration is to gather data on the use of DME fuel and vehicles in urban, heavy-load fleets. At scale, such a program could convert hundreds of thousands of tons of organic waste into clean fuel, reducing emissions, waste, and costs for cities while improving overall air quality and creating jobs.

Over the course of the demonstration, the truck will use Oberon’s fuel-grade DME, produced with the company’s proprietary catalytic distillation technology. The small footprint of Oberon’s production units allows them to be easily placed near local feedstock sources (e.g. food waste, landfill gas, animal waste, wastewater treatment gas), providing cities an opportunity to deal with both their waste and energy challenges – local feedstock, local production, local consumption.

Reaction from the stakeholders

“It is an honor to work with Mack Trucks and DSNY to showcase the benefits of DME fuel to New York City,” said Oberon President Rebecca Boudreaux, Ph.D. “There is no better testing ground than NYC, and we are thrilled to partner with the city.”

“We are proud to call New York City one of Mack’s largest customers, and we are pleased to deliver the first customer-ready DME-powered Mack truck to DSNY,” said Dennis Slagle, president of Mack Trucks. “We are looking forward to working with DSNY and Oberon to evaluate the performance of the Mack Pinnacle as we run it through its paces.”

“DSNY has long been at the forefront of developing, testing, and deploying cleaner and more advanced heavy duty trucks,” said Deputy Commissioner Rocco DiRico. “We are committed to doing our part to help foster innovation and technological advancements to improve fuel efficiency and promote more sustainable alternative fuels. DME fuel certainly has potential to be a long term option for us, and this initial test is an important first step in the evaluation process.”

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