Biodiesel supporters are cheering Ford Motor Company's announcement that its all-new Ford-built 2011 Ford F-Series Super Duty diesel pickups will be fully compatible with a 20 percent biodiesel blend (B20).
Ford's new diesel engine—equipped with the latest technology for particulate and NOx reduction to meet stringent 2010 standards—will also provide improvements in torque, horsepower and fuel economy.
"This is the first of what we expect to be many formal announcements of B20 approval in new clean diesel technology," said Steve Howell, technical director for the National Biodiesel Board. "With the formal approval and acceptance of B20 in the 2011 Super Duty, Ford now has a clean and green engine of tomorrow that will also reduce NOx emissions by more than 80 percent. NBB already has inquiries from biodiesel fans wanting to purchase a new B20 pickup."
The NBB and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory have spent more than $10 million testing B20 and understanding how it works in the new diesel engines and after-treatment technology during the last five years. That's in addition to research and development efforts by the individual Original Equipment Manufacturers like Ford. The new F-Series engines were torture-tested internally by Ford to more than 250,000 miles to test their durability cycles with multiple biodiesel blends, according to the company.
"It's rewarding to see the efforts by NBB and NREL start to pay off," said Howell, noting that most of the NBB funding for the testing was provided by U.S. soybean farmers through the soybean checkoff program. "The engine makers asked for an ASTM B20 blended standard, in addition to the pure biodiesel standard, and we worked hard to get it passed."
Ford's support for B20 could have substantial market implications. Ford currently dominates the on-road diesel truck market with nearly a 46 percent market share of the diesel vehicle registrations in the U.S. according to the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. The 2011 models will be arriving at dealerships in the first half of 2010.
Biodiesel is produced from oils and fats which are byproducts of things like soybean protein and livestock. Made from diverse renewable resources, biodiesel reduces life cycle carbon dioxide values 78 percent compared to petroleum diesel fuel, according to studies by the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Energy. It is an excellent choice for reducing greenhouse gases without impacting the food supply.
"Clearly Ford sees that biodiesel blends will be an important part of our domestic fuel supply, or they wouldn’t have invested the resources into approving B20," said Joe Jobe, NBB CEO. "This is an example of an automaker giving consumers more power to be green. A clean diesel engine with a green fueling choice."