Pittsburgh to expand number of vehicles with Optimus’ biofuel system

March 17, 2015

The city of Pittsburgh, PA, will add 20 additional public works trucks running on a biofuel conversion system to its fleet. The system, supplied by Optimus Technologies, has been in use on several vehicles for the past 18 months.

“The city has a significant goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the next eight years,” said Grant Ervin, sustainability manager for the city.   “Since Optimus’ solution significantly reduces our emissions footprint -- while also reducing our fuel costs with their new, sustainable biofuel - it was an easy decision to increase the number of trucks we wanted to convert.”

Pittsburgh will also deploy an Optimus-designed, 5,000-gal. biofuel storage/refilling station at its main garage that supports over 100 trucks. 

Through the system, which reduces lifecycle emissions over 80% and fuel costs up to 25%, the city will reduce its overall emissions as required in its Pittsburgh Climate Action Plan version 2.0, Optimus said.  The plan targets to reduce overall greenhouse gases generated by the city by 20% between 2003 and 2023.    

The city tested Optimus’ Vector biofuel conversion system for 18 months on five of its International trucks. The trucks were used for road maintenance and snow-removal operations. The vehicles ran more than three-quarters of the time, even on the coldest of days, on pure biodiesel.  After a trouble-free field trial, the city decided to expand its use of the system

 “Our garbage and recycling trucks are driven hard every day and any solution has to be very rugged,” said Mike Gable, director of public works for the city.  “We are pleased to see a purpose-built solution for medium- and heavy-duty trucks that, relative to other alternative fuel solutions, is easy to add to our trucks, minimizes changes to our maintenance operations, and minimizes any changes our fueling infrastructure.”

The city will offset the costs of the new solution with funding provided by the state’s Department of Environmental Protection - Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant (AFIG) program and by Innovation Works’ Technology Commercialization Initiative (TCI) funding.

Twenty of the city’s trucks will be configured with Optimus’ Vector, an EPA-approved, bi-fuel (diesel/biofuel) conversion system that runs in parallel to a truck’s existing diesel system – without significantly modifying, replacing, or rebuilding the engine.  Vector enables the engine to run exclusively on biofuel most of the time to optimize fuel savings and emissions performance.  Diesel is used during startup, shutdown, or fallback operation, if necessary. 

Optimus’ Vector system is compatible with all modern emission after-treatment systems such as selective catalytic reduction systems (SCRs) and diesel particulate filters (DPF).   Vector is now compatible with a variety of diesel engines, including the Navistar DT 466 and HT 570, and the Cummins ISL 8.9L and ISM 10.8L.

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