Category Archives: Particulates

Happy Earth Day! Propel customers reduce CO2 emissions and petroleum use

In honor of Earth Day, we want to say a big THANK YOU to all of our customers who choose renewable fuel—even when it’s not Earth Day. Together, Propel customers have a significant and positive impact on our planet, reducing both harmful emissions and petroleum use. Just check out our Community CleanDrive Report:

Clean Drive Report Customizable

Interested to see your own impact? Any Propel customer can have a personalized CleanDrive report that shows the positive benefits of choosing renewable fuel. Simply register at and start racking up your numbers every time you fill. Plus, each time you track a fill you’ll be entered to win monthly prizes like free fuel and exclusive Propel gear.

What better day to start seeing your positive impact than Earth Day? Sign up now.

EPA aligns with CA emission standards, calling for cleaner cars and cleaner fuel

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently released the finalized “Tier 3″ standards for vehicle emissions levels. The standard promises to “quickly and effectively cut harmful soot, smog and toxic emissions from cars and trucks” and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles on the road today, while bringing more fuel-efficient cars and trucks to market. The new standards closely align with emission levels and greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions set forth by the California Air Resources Board, allowing carmakers to focus on meeting one cohesive standard for the entire country.

Together, the federal and California standards will maximize reductions in GHGs, air pollutants and air toxics from cars and light trucks while providing automakers regulatory certainty, streamlining compliance, and reducing costs to consumers.

Tailpipe emission standards will phase in gradually starting in model year 2017 though 2025. The focus is on limiting emissions of non-methane organic gasses (NMOG), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and particular matter (PM) for light-duty and some heavy-duty vehicles. All told, the tailpipe standards represent an 80% reduction from today’s average.

In addition, starting in 2017, gasoline refiners will be required to reduce sulfur content to no more than 10 parts per million on an annual average basis. That is a reduction of 60% from the current levels. According to the EPA, the “new low-sulfur gas will provide significant and immediate health benefits because every gas-powered vehicle on the road built prior to these standards will run cleaner – cutting smog-forming NOx emissions by 260,000 tons in 2018.”

The ultimate outcome of the standard will benefit consumers’ pocket books as well as overall public health. The changes promise to save Americans “more than $8,000 by 2025 over a vehicle’s lifetime” in fuel cost—and that adds up: “the fuel economy and greenhouse gas standards covering model year vehicles from 2012-2025 are projected to save American families more than $1.7 trillion in fuel costs.” Plus, by cleaning up air pollutants and harmful emissions, “once fully in place, the standards will help avoid up to 2,000 premature deaths per year and 50,000 cases of respiratory ailments in children.”

Renewable fuels play a part in the program too—the program finalizes standards for E85 as an emissions test fuel (for the first time) in Flexible Fuel Vehicles and calls for the standard test gasoline to contain 10% ethanol by volume.

Read more about the EPA’s finalized Tier 3 emission standards.

Study shows biodiesel improves workplace health

A recent pilot study from the Air & Wast Management Association compared diesel and biodiesel B20 exhaust, measuring the the occupational exposure to particulate matter (PM) and other air toxins. Biodiesel B20 was found to reduce harmful pollutes in the work environment.

The study was conducted at  a New Hampshire recycling facility, heavy equipment exhaust was measured while running petroleum diesel and then on B20 biodiesel.

The technical paper describe, the study “used a combination of established industrial hygiene and environmental air monitoring methods to estimate occupational exposure profiles to PM and air toxics from combustion of petroleum diesel and biodiesel. Results indicate that B20 use dramatically reduces work area respirable particle and formaldehyde levels compared with petroleum diesel.”

Read full Air & Waste Management Association study–Biodiesel versus Diesel: A Pilot Study Comparing Exhaust Exposures for Employees at a Rural Municipal Facility.

US Senator Patty Murray and Propel discuss economic impacts of biodiesel industry

Monday morning, Senator Patty Murray (D – WA) & Propel hosted a press conference to discuss support for the Biodiesel Blenders Tax Credit and its positive impacts on job growth, carbon emissions reduction and national security. Since the tax credit was left to expire in January, US biodiesel production has largely screeched to a halt. As a result, many producers including Imperium Renewables have looked to markets outside of the US to sell its fuel. The industry’s message was clear; renew the tax credit and our industry will immediately increase production, and create jobs.

The event was held at Propel Fuels Clean Fuel Point, the first renewable fuels station in downtown Seattle, Senator Murray was joined by the leaders of companies from up and down the biodiesel value chain (bioscience, refining, production and retail consumer access), who discussed the importance of the extension of the tax credit currently being debated in Congress.

Speakers included Matt Horton, CEO of Propel Fuels, Todd Ellis, VP of Business Development for Imperium Renewables, Dr. Margaret McCormick, COO for Targeted Growth, and Cameron Hewes, President and CEO of General Biodiesel.

UC Davis research shows sustainable biomass energy potential for California

A recent article published in California Agriculture illustrates the potential for sustainable biomass energy crops in California.  California Agriculture is a peer-reviewed journal reporting research, reviews and news from the University of California and its Agriculture and Natural Resources division.

Article Abstract
Biomass constitutes a major renewable energy resource for California, with more than 30 million tons per year of in-state production estimated to be available on a sustainable basis for electricity generation, biofuels production and other industrial processing. Annually, biofuel production from these resources could exceed 2 billion gallons of gasoline equivalent, while providing opportunities for agricultural and rural economic development. Continuing research and large-scale demonstrations now under way will test alternative technologies and provide much-needed information regarding costs and environmental performance. Biomass can help meet state goals for increasing the amounts of electricity and fuels from renewable resources under the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) and the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS), and can similarly help meet national biofuel targets under the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Internationally consistent sustainability standards and practices are needed to inform policy and provide direction and guidance to industry.

>> Read More

Article Authors
Bryan M. Jenkins, UC Davis
Robert B. Williams, UC Davis
Nathan Parker, UC Davis
Peter Tittmann, UC Davis
Quinn Hart, UC Davis
Martha C. Gildart, UC Davis
Steve Kaffka, UC Davis
Bruce R. Hartsough, UC Davis
Peter Dempster, UC Davis

1000 Acres of Next Generation Fuel


Cellulosic feedstock projects are beginning to scale in size and frequency. An example of this is the 1,000 acre switchgrass plot in Oklahoma, now in its second year. The project is led by the Ardmore-based Noble Foundation, and strands are reaching 3 ft in height.
Unlike corn, switchgrass doesn’t need to be replanted each year. It also takes less tractor-fuel and fertilizer to produce, can be grown on marginal land and doesn’t require as much water.

Read More

Fuel Efficiency and Performance Drive Diesel Comeback

With revived concern over the cost of gasoline and the desire for increased fuel economy, clean diesels are proving to be a tempting choice for the American consumer.

2010GolfTDIVolkswagen can testify to the selling power of clean diesel vehicles–June brought in the highest sales of TDIs since the release of the current lineup. According to a recent press release, “the Jetta SportWagen once again posted its best sales month ever with sales of 1,982 units. Clean diesel TDI’s accounted for 81 percent of SportWagen sales, 40 percent of Jetta sedan sales, and 29 percent of Touareg sales.” Adding to their fleet of available clean diesels, Volkswagen plans the release of the 2010 Golf TDI this fall.

ThreeJettaFill_SLUPositive sales from Volkswagen may lure more manufacturers to bring diesel technology to the American market. In fact, manufacturers such as Audi, BMW, and Mercedes already offer diesel models.

Volkwagen TDI drivers are often strong supporters of alternatitive fuels. Seen here at the Propel SLU Station is the 2007 and 2004 Jetta TDI, and 2005 Jetta TDI Wagon.

NPR Home PageToday’s clean diesel vehicles are not the smog-belching, clickity-clacking diesel vehicles you may be picturing. New diesels have quieter engines, enhanced performance and reduced emissions. A recent segment on National Public Radio, Diesel Cars Attempt a Comeback with Clean Diesels, reports on the reemergence of diesel vehicles into the American market as a quieter, cleaner next generation.

Cutting-edge fuel cell vehicles roll into Propel’s downtown Seattle station

FuelCell3_crowdOn Monday, June 1st, Propel hosted Seattle’s first Hydrogen Vehicle Show at the Downtown Seattle Clean Fuel Point. As part of the 28-city, Hydrogen Road Tour, the event previewed the latest hydrogen fuel cell vehicle designs and provided information on how fuel cells fit into our nation’s clean transportation future. All vehicles on displayed have the potential to provide the range, efficiency and performance consumers expect — with zero tailpipe emissions.


“Propel’s fueling platform delivers advanced low-carbon fuels including biodiesel from waste stream feedstocks like recycled fats and oils, and locally grown, marginal land crops like camelina,” said Rob Elam, President and Co-Founder of Propel speaking of the event on Monday. “Our fueling platform has the forward-flexibility to accommodate advanced fuels such as bio-methane, hydrogen and electric charging as these vehicle technologies gain momentum in the marketplace. Today’s event shows how close these vehicles are to commercialization.”


Fuel cell vehicles from top manufacturers, including Daimler, GM, Honda, VW, and more, were showcased at the event. Fuel cell vehicles are electric vehicles that generate their electricity from hydrogen stored in a tank, instead of recharging from the grid. Fuel cells are also used in transit buses, forklifts, airport tugs, as back-up power for data centers, and as primary power for buildings.

“The Hydrogen Road Tour showcases the progress of hydrogen programs in the U.S. and Canada,” said California Fuel Cell Partnership executive director Catherine Dunwoody. 


One of the tour support vehicles, the Volkswagen V10 Touareg TDI filling with Propel B20 Biodiesel.

“These vehicles are comfortable, perform great, refuel in minutes and will travel the distance with zero tailpipe emissions, zero petroleum and greatly reduced greenhouse gases. Thousands of people will get a chance to try these vehicles for themselves.” 

Propel partnered with the California Fuel Cell Partnership, California Air Resources Board (CARB), National Hydrogen Association, US Fuel Cell Council and Powertech Labs to organize the event.

American Lung Association report shows “Biodiesel Key to Clean Air”

americanlungassocThe State of the Air Report recently released by the American Lung Association shows biodiesel is a key factor to keeping America’s air clean. The American Lung Association in Minnesota described the  report as a “wake up” call to further embrace fuels like biodiesel and is also participating in May 1 activities to kick off Minnesota’s increase to a B5 biodiesel blend. The report named Fargo, North Dakota as the cleanest city in the nation, and the lung association there gave credit to steps like biodiesel use.

Biodiesel is a sustainable, renewable alternative to diesel fuel that reduces most regulated emissions substantially, including carbon monoxide, particulate matter and unburned hydrocarbons.

“With biodiesel, America can produce its own cleaner-burning diesel alternative that helps clean up the air with existing vehicles,” said Joe Jobe, National Biodiesel Board CEO. “Biodiesel is a natural solution to help achieve lung associations’ goals to reduce air pollution and safeguard our health. We are grateful for their support and applaud their vision for a cleaner future.”

Biodiesel reduces air toxins by 90 percent, and significantly reduces the compounds linked to cancer. Breathing the smoke from diesel exhaust can trigger an asthma attack. The use of biodiesel reduces particulate matter up to 40 percent.

More information from NBB.

States Logistics’ fleet reduces harmful emissions with the use of biodiesel


With seven diesel vehicles running on biodiesel blends, California-based company, States Logistics was able to reduce the fleet’s CO2 output by over 72 tons! Three vehicles ran on B99 while four ran on a B5 biodiesel blend. The company’s lifecycle carbon dioxide (CO2) reduction demonstration was facilitated by the National Biodiesel Board over a six month period.

“The B99 trucks (three-axle International model 8600) ran 48,198 miles and consumed 8,770 gallons over the six month period. The equivalent straight petroleum diesel output would have been 89.9 tons, but with B99, the output was 19.8 tons for a savings of 70.1 tons. The B5 fleet (two-axle flat bed) traveled 61,433 miles and consumed 7,090 gallons of B5. Equivalent petroleum CO2 output would have been 71.4, with B5 the output was reduced to 68.6 for 2.8 tons of CO2 reduction. In addition to CO2 reduction, an estimated 119 pounds of particulate matter were eliminated from the exhaust during the six month period. Carbon monoxide (CO) was reduced by over 500 pounds, hydrocarbons (HC) by over 50 pounds, and sulfur dioxide (SO2) by close to 40 pounds. “


States Logistics looks forward to sharing the results of this demonstration with customers to show the positive impact of using biodiesel. Ryan Donovan, VP of Operations and Business Development of States Logistics, says, “we all benefit from having this information available to show the efforts being made to reduce carbon footprint throughout the supply chain.” 

Read more from the NBB and

Diesel far more detrimental to health than biodiesel.

From Science Daily

“Our research found that the particulate matter from diesel exhaust stimulated a ‘death pathway’ response that the body uses to dispose of damaged cells. This response caused the airway cells to fuse together and die.

“We saw hardly any cell death after treatment with biodiesel particulates.”

Associate Professor Ackland said that the results of the study provide support for calls to move towards replacing petrol and diesel with cleaner biofuels.

“It is clear that breathing in diesel fumes is going to have a far more detrimental effect on our health than biodiesel. Given the level of cell death we have found, diesel exhaust could be the cause of respiratory disorders such as asthma and could even be implicated in cancer,” she said

Dr. Weil is Onboard with Biodiesel

 Arizona Daily Star reports:

Dr. Andrew Weil — the world-famous physician who works to heal our bodies as naturally as possible — is now doing his part to try to heal a polluted planet.
While the rest of us belch toxic crap out of our cars at three-plus dollars a gallon, Weil can hardly believe how well this bio thing really works. So well that he wants to form a co-op and offer this golden moonshine to any and all takers in Tucson. “I’ve always written and taught that it’s very difficult to be healthy in an unhealthy world,” said Weil, explaining why he’s gone into the backyard brewing business.

A pioneer at combining mainstream medicine with alternative therapies, Weil founded the integrative medicine program at the University of Arizona and has written numerous best-sellers on the topic.

“We have to be very immediately concerned about finding solutions for the toxic effects the combustion engine has on human health,” he said.

The Diesel Invasion is Now

Fight! Japan vs. Germany! Honda may ditch hybrid Accord for diesel v6 model (via AutoBlogGreen):

And don’t expect the Germans to share the diesel market with anyone if they can help it. Bernd Gottschalk, head of the Germany car industry association VDA, said at the Detroit auto show, “The goal can only be to make life as difficult as possible for the Japanese.”

DTF: New Year Ushers In New Era Of Clean Diesel Trucks
New 90% Cleaner Trucks Set to Roll Off Assembly Lines

GCC: BLUETEC Partners Show New T2B5 Diesels at Detroit Show

Audi unveils two Q7s (via Diesel Blog)

Mercedes-Benz Continues to Promote Bluetec Diesel with the GL420 (Via Diesel Blog)

DTF: DaimlerChrysler AG’s Mercedes unit touted its commitment to clean diesel on Sunday, showing off a concept Vision GL420 Bluetec and saying it would dramatically increase its lineup of diesel vehicles next year.

Jeep TrailHawk concept, and 2008 ready diesel Grand Voyager

Nothin runs like a Deere (on biodiesel)

VW promises a full line of diesels in 2008, and BMWwill offer upscale models. What does this mean for biodiesel? Read:

The Emerging Biodiesel Driver Demographic

The Great Biodiesel Surplus of 2007

Weathering the Storm: Links for January 6, 2007

Biodiesel Driver Jon Crawford skiing. Photo: Mike K/Propel Biofuels

Pruning the biodiesel hype tree: We all feel for Mr Willie Nelson, he is indeed a true biodiesel supporter. Earth Biofuels comes under intense scrutiny from Forbes and Motley Fool. Propel welcomes this shake out. Opportunity attracts both the corrupt and the true: Restoring Eden: Inconvenient Christians – Evangelical Youth Climate Initiative

Our new Congess gets right to work on day one.

VW Polo: 60 MPG and lower CO2 emissions than Prius.

Auto Execs see the future

Texas and ARB: please put the biodiesel NOx issue to bed by understanding the most current science vs old, poorly done, EPA studies. Biodiesel does not increase NOx vs petro diesel, and the impact of NOx as emission of concern is up for considerable debate. Meanwhile, the petro-diesel emissions of particulate matter, sulfur, aromatic toxins, and CO2 remain.

Scientists’ Report Documents ExxonMobil’s Tobacco-like Disinformation Campaign on Global Warming Science

Oldie but a goodie: Oil Safari

Never Forget

Seattle GreenDrinks Next Tues, see ya there!

Clif Bar Trades Green for Green

From Green Car Congress

Clif Bar & Co., a manufacturer of all-natural and organic energy and nutrition foods and drinks, has launched a Cool Commute program for its employees.

The Cool Commute incentive program pays $5,000 to employees who switch to biodiesel (B100) cars for their commutes. In addition to a cash incentive for biodiesel, Clif Bar also will pay $5,000 to its people who buy a hybrid vehicle.

I expect we’ll see much more of this going forward. I remember our sales team shunned by MSFT, back in 2004, when Propel went to them with an offer to install a b99 pump on campus. Now that Google is on the biodiesel bandwagon as well, maybe the tide is changing.

Toyota’s Biodiesel Hybrid Prius Coming Soon

From Edmund’s Inside Line:

If that sounds like Toyota will integrate a diesel engine into its Synergy hybrid drivetrain, you are right, according to Jim Press, president of Toyota Motor North America. “… eventually we will have hybrids on diesel, biodiesel, ethanol, the whole gamut.” he said.

The previously opposed hybrid-versus-diesel camps seem to realize that combining the technologies is the fastest route to fuel-efficient vehicles with existing technologies and fuels. Detroit’s Big Three demonstrated this with their concept cars developed under the Partnership for the Next Generation of Vehicles program under the Clinton administration. All three companies produced diesel-electric hybrids in pursuit of an 80 mpg family sedan. A Prius with a diesel engine would closely resemble those concept vehicles, both in appearance and fuel economy.

An Inconvenient Truth on DVD

Al Gore’s climate crisis movie is now out on DVD, so you can NetFlix it the comfort of your own home. Al appeared on Jay Leno last night and joked that the DVD included extra scenes, including “hot glacier on glacier action.”

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