Chris Ellis, executive vice president distributed infrastructure at PowerSecure, explores why renewable fuels such as renewable diesel should be considered by business looking to ensure reliable, safe, and low-carbon backup power generation.
It’s no surprise businesses are racing to install backup generation resources to boost the resiliency of their operations. As they plan for the future, they see a growing number of extreme weather and infrastructure challenges chipping away at the reliability of the electric grid.
When choosing a resiliency solution, these businesses generally want four things:
- Low-carbon power that helps them meet sustainability goals
- Reliable electricity when they need it most, such as when the grid is down
- Seamless integration with existing infrastructure and assets
- A solution that is available now and at scale
The problem is that the most common backup generation options today don’t hit the mark on all four. Diesel generators are often attractive in regard to power density and cost, but can fall short for companies with sustainability commitments such as achieving net-zero emissions. Solar panels pass the test for zero-carbon power and integration, but don’t deliver the needed reliability. Combining battery storage with solar can solve the reliability issue but only for short term power, typically 5-30 minutes, while driving costs too high for many businesses.
There is one solution, however, that delivers for businesses across all four measures: renewable fuels.
Case in Point: Renewable Diesel
Renewable diesel is available today and has been widely used in the transportation industry. It is compatible with diesel engines and delivers the tried-and-tested reliability with reduced greenhouse gas emissions compared to using fossil diesel to power the generator.
Many businesses don’t realize renewable diesel is available to help them move toward net-zero operations faster. The “drop-in” renewable ready fuel can be fully utilized immediately with no equipment modifications or additional costs required, allowing customers to transition away from fossil fuels while still attaining the same performance and reliability they experienced with traditional fossil diesel.
“As part of an ongoing effort to reduce the environmental impact of our solutions, Volvo Penta approved the use of renewable fuels in all of our engines globally, and we did so with our partners and sustainability in mind,” said Darren Tasker, vice president of industrial sales at Volvo Penta. “There are no modifications necessary to run on these types of fuels, and they’ve been shown to operate without any change in performance, making the transition seamless and efficient for operators.”
The Sustainability Opportunity
How is renewable diesel made? The Energy Information Administration says it can be produced from cellulosic biomass materials such as crop residues, wood and sawdust, and switchgrass.
Neste, one of its producers, uses renewable and sustainably sourced raw materials, such as used cooking oil and waste animal fat. Over its lifecycle, renewable diesel can reduce up to 80% greenhouse gas emissions compared to fossil diesel over the lifecycle. It also emits less nitrogen oxide and particulate …….