The Port of Vancouver USA is one of the first ports in the nation to replace regular diesel fuel with environmentally-friendly biodiesel for use in its own vehicles and heavy equipment
. Biodiesel is a cleaner-burning diesel fuel made from vegetable oil, including recycled cooking oil. While pure biodiesel contains no petroleum, it can be blended with petroleum diesel to create a biodiesel blend.
The Port of Vancouver will use a combination 20 percent biodiesel blended with 80 percent regular diesel, called "B20." Use of B20 biodiesel can result in a reduction of emissions by up to 20 percent, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
"One of the key tenets of our mission is to be a leader in environmental stewardship," said Larry Paulson, Port of Vancouver USA Executive Director. "In addition to reducing emissions in our work environment, this change will help support a new market for Washington agricultural products and reduce our nation's dependence on foreign oil."
Last week Port Commissioners approved the purchase of the largest mobile harbor crane in North America, which will be biodiesel compatible. In April, Washington legislators passed a law that requires all state agencies to use a minimum of 20 percent biodiesel for state fleet vehicles by 2009. The Port of Vancouver, USA is the first public port in the state to implement a program for compliance. The port has purchased two trucks with ethanol capability and all future vehicles and equipment will be equipped to run on some form of alternative fuel, whether that is biodiesel or E-85 ethanol, a fuel derived from crops like corn and sugar cane.
Both alternative fuels
are considered "energy positive," which means these fuels yield more energy than the power required to produce them. Additionally, the state of Washington hopes that this legislation will spur economic growth through the development of a homegrown biofuels industry, including the growth of biofuel oilseed crops and the construction of biofuel processing plants.
Biodiesel has become even more attractive to the Port of Vancouver USA given the fact that the price of a gallon is now competitive with regular diesel. "With the recent rise in oil prices, using biodiesel makes economic as well as environmental sense," said Curtis Shuck, the port's Director of Facilities.