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First Customer Demonstration of DME-Powered Mack Truck Begins in New York City

DSNY DME Mack truck demonstrationNEW YORK CITY, 12 January 2017 | The New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY) today became the first Mack customer in the world to evaluate DME in its fleet in a demonstration being done in collaboration with Mack Trucks and Oberon Fuels using a Class 8 Mack Pinnacle axle back model equipped with a 13 liter Mack MP8 engine running on DME.

"We look forward to gathering data with DSNY and Oberon to better determine the performance and drivability of the DME-powered Mack Pinnacle model," said Mack Trucks President Dennis Slagle. "We believe DME shows great promise, and we are pleased to be working with our longtime customer DSNY to evaluate the fuel as a viable alternative to diesel."

The evaluation is taking place at the Fresh Kills Landfill on Staten Island, New York, with fuel-grade DME produced by Oberon Fuels. "There is no better testing ground than NYC, and we are thrilled to partner with the city," said Oberon Fuels President Rebecca Boudreaux, Ph.D. "This first-ever customer demonstration of a DME Mack truck is an excellent opportunity to showcase the potential of DME in real-world use cases."

The goal of the demonstration is to gather data on the use of both DME fuel and vehicles in urban, heavy-load fleets, and is the first step in the city's evaluation of DME as a potential long-term strategy to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050 and to achieve the city's goal of sending zero waste to landfill by 2030. The demonstration is expected to run until the end of the first quarter of this year, with results and analysis available in mid-2017.

At scale, such a program could convert hundreds of thousands of tons of organic waste into clean fuel, reducing emissions, waste, and cost for cities while improving overall air quality and creating jobs. When produced from local organic waste, DME can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 68 - 101 percent compared to diesel, as calculated by the US Environmental Protection Agency and the recently published analysis by the US Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory. One third of all waste currently disposed of in New York is organic: by recycling such waste into DME fuel, New York and other cities can reduce landfill use, lower overall emissions, and improve air quality as part of an overall sustainability plan.

Mack Trucks dominates the North American refuse market, and is the main supplier of heavy-duty trucks to the DSNY, supplying more than 90% of the DSNY's fleet of 7,000 vehicles. The DSNY already uses some alternative fuel options such as compressed natural gas (CNG). "DSNY has long been at the forefront of developing, testing, and deploying cleaner and more advanced heavy duty trucks," said Deputy Commissioner Rocco DiRico. In an interview with Hard Working Trucks DiRico said that he and DSNY Fleet Supervisor Spiro Kattan were especially impressed that no emissions components were required on the truck's engine, given that DME combusts without producing any soot. "It's a very simplified version of what we know today. And it had the torque, the horsepower and the driveability that we so need."

For these reasons, Oberon Fuels has been developing the NYC market for almost 4 years. “NYC along with cities around the world have passed aggressive organic waste recycling programs and bold greenhouse gas reduction targets - the perfect scenario for a clean-burning, low carbon fuel such as DME,” shared Boudreaux.

DSNY Mack Pinnacle DME truck atop the Fresh Kills landfill

DME refueling dispenser used by DSNY

All photos © Ron Jautz 2017  
Read more... | Mack Trucks Read more... | Biofuels Digest
Read more... | Truckinginfo Read more... | Hard Working Trucks
Read more... | Hydrocarbon Processing Read more... | Truck News


DME Heavy-Duty Engine Receives Certification in China

SHANGHAI, 28 October 2015 | A consortium collaborating on a DME vehicle demonstration project has received certification from the provincial government of Shanghai for a DME fueled heavy-duty diesel engine satisfying Euro 6 emission standards. The consortium, led by Shanghai Jiao Tong University, includes Weichai Power (industrial, heavy-duty vehicle and powertrain manufacturer), China Jinggong (vehicle manufacturer), Shanghai Diesel (diesel engine manufacturer), Xi’An Jiaotong University and Shandong University. The DME vehicle project is supported by the 863 Program – the Chinese national high-tech R&D program.

Certification of the Euro 6 compliant engine is an important milestone that project leaders hope will facilitate introduction in China given the relatively large-scale commercial production of DME that already exists in the country.

The engine, a modified 6 liter 135 kW WP6 common rail injection diesel engine from Weichai Power, is being demonstrated on short-haul heavy-duty street sweeper and refuse trucks. Three engine and two vehicle prototypes have been produced, with the WP6DME engines using a newly developed EP1FA-00 high-pressure pump in place of the Bosch CP2.2 used in the base diesel engine.

DME-fueled Jinggong Chutian street sweeper

DME-fueled Jinggong Chutian refuse truck


Ford Leads Project to Develop First Production Passenger Car Fueled by DME

AACHEN, 15 September 2015 | Ford Motor Company has announced that it will lead a project co-funded by the German government to develop and test the world’s first production passenger car to run on DME. The three year, €3.5 million project involves international collaboration by Ford’s European Research & Innovation Center with entities including Oberon Fuels (supplying DME to the project), DENSO, IAV Automotive Engineering, and Germany’s leading engine technology research network the FVV, whose more than 150 members include BMW, Bosch, Caterpillar, DAF Trucks, Daimler, Delphi, Honda, MAN, Nissan, PSA Peugeot Citroen, Toyota, Shell, Volkswagen, and Volvo.

The project, whose findings will be shared with key players in the automotive industry, will look at the use of DME and OME (oxymethylene ether) as diesel replacements in passenger cars and heavy-duty vehicle engines. Like DME, OME is also easily produced from methanol, produces almost no particulate emissions (soot) when combusted, and has characteristics likely to provide comparable performance and enhanced fuel efficiency in diesel engines converted to its use.

“DME is safe, burns cleaner than conventional diesel, and most importantly is versatile” said Andreas Schamel, Ford’s Director of Global Powertrain Research & Advanced Engineering. “Alternative, renewable fuels like methyl ethers will play a pivotal role in the future.”

The first two years of the project will involve technical preparations and engine development, with the third year focused on the production and testing of demonstrator cars based on the Ford Mondeo.

A parallel project being done together with RWTH Aachen University will research the viability of different DME production methods from fossil natural gas, biogas, and other renewable sources, looking at conversion efficiency, estimated fuel prices and infrastructure aspects. Werner Willems, Technical Specialist for Powertrain Combustion Systems at Ford of Europe said that “This is a project that could help place vehicles with significantly reduced carbon dioxide and particulate emissions on the market at affordable costs."

Read more... | Ford media release Read more... | Ford Europe media release
Read more... | Oberon Fuels media release Read more... | (Deutsch)
Read more... | Engine Technology International  


Go-Ahead for First Large-Scale DME Fuel Production in the Americas

TOKYO, 3 September 2015 | A consortium comprising Japanese trading company Mitsubishi Corporation, Mitsubishi Gas Chemical (MGC), and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) has made a final investment decision for the construction of a 1 million TPY methanol and 20,000 TPY DME project in Trinidad and Tobago after securing financial support from the Japanese government and a commercial bank.

Together with local partners the National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago and the Massy Group, the companies have secured $485 million in project financing from the state-owned Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) to develop the $990 million Caribbean Gas Chemical project. The project will be co-financed by the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, bringing the total amount of funding of $693 million.

The country's ministers of Energy and Finance joined representatives of the consortium partners at a groundbreaking ceremony in La Brea on September 1st.. Construction of the chemical plants in southwest Trinidad and Tobago is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2018, and the facility plans to be operational by March 2019. The project will work with the Trinidad and Tobago government to promote the use of DME as a substitute for diesel in the domestic market and other Caribbean countries.



List of Hottest 7 Technology Companies Includes DME

19 August 2015 | Small-scale DME process technology provider Oberon Fuels was included in Biofuels Digest's list of the "Hottest 7 Methane Technologies to Watch as U.S. Methane Regulation Steps Up", joining a short list of companies attracting some of the largest investments in the dynamic methane conversion space right now including Siluria Technologies and Kiverdi.

New regulations proposed this week by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to significantly reduce methane emissions could provide a compelling business case for the use of such technologies to convert captured methane emissions into high-value fuels and chemicals such as DME.


Oberon Fuels' California plant

Washington Becomes First State in the U.S. to Introduce DME Vehicle Tax Incentives

OLYMPIA, WASHINGTON, 15 July 2015 | Washington Governor Jay Inslee has signed into law a transportation investment package providing financial incentives for the purchase of commercial vehicles using a “clean alternative fuel”, and specifying dimethyl ether as one of the alternative fuels meeting this definition.

The legislation (Senate Bill 5987) provides businesses with tax credits for the purchase or conversion of vehicles that are “principally powered” by a clean alternative fuel. The maximum credit amounts range from $5,000 to $20,000 per vehicle, and total credits may not exceed $250,000 or 25 vehicles per person per calendar year.

The bill includes dimethyl ether in the definition of "clean alternative fuel", along with methane, natural gas, LNG, CNG, propane, hydrogen, and electricity.


Washington State Capitol


International Specifications for DME Fuel Published

GENEVA, 15 May 2015 | The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has published a specification for DME fuel, marking another important milestone in the introduction of DME as an ultra-low emission fuel for a range of automotive, power, and heating applications.

The standard - ISO 16861:2015 | Specifications of dimethyl ether (DME) - specifies the characteristics of DME used as fuel of which the main component is the DME synthesized from any organic raw material. ISO 16861 is one of a number of new specifications establishing characteristics and testing methods for DME fuel, providing important benchmarks for DME producers, engine manufacturers, infrastructure developers and others involved in the introduction of DME as a fuel worldwide.


"DME Could Really Be a Game Changer" - Volvo CEO Olof Persson

LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY, 30 March 2015 | In a keynote presentation to an audience of almost 1,000 people gathered at the Mid-America Trucking Show this week, Volvo Group CEO Olof Persson highlighted the "tremendous promise" that Volvo sees in DME as an alternative fuel, particularly for long haul heavy-duty trucking.

Persson was recently named co-chair of the United Nations' Advisory Group on Sustainable Transport, and his remarks provided perspectives on the company's focus on sustainability, the environmental goals that are likely to drive demands made on the industry, and the attraction of DME.  "Converting natural gas to DME is an innovative way to address many of the storage and fueling challenges otherwise presented by natural gas - particularly liquefied natural gas - as a heavy truck fuel."


Volvo CEO Olof Persson

DME Receives Approval for Legal Use as a Vehicle Fuel in California

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA, 26 February 2015 | The State of California has approved DME’s use as a vehicle fuel, allowing the retail sale of DME throughout the state. The regulation, Specifications for Dimethyl Ether Used in Compression Ignition Engines, proposed in July of last year by the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s (CDFA) Division of Measurement Standards (DMS), was approved and became effective this year. California state law requires all commercially sold fuels to meet an ASTM or SAE specification, and the publication last year of an ASTM specification for DME fuel provided the basis for California to issue its own regulation.

This latest approval marks another significant milestone enabling commercial adoption of DME as a vehicle fuel in North America, paving the way for further development by industry and the state of infrastructure, sampling equipment, test methods, and a variety of other items required for large scale production and dispensing of the fuel in compliance with statutory requirements.  This month the California Air Resources Board (CARB) published its Multimedia Evaluation Tier I report on DME, part of the “multimedia risk assessment” required by the state before new fuel specifications can be adopted.

California enacted the first low-carbon fuel standard in the world in 2007, requiring fuel producers to reduce the carbon footprint of their products, and maintains a significant leadership role in the reduction of air emissions and carbon intensity of fuels used in the transportation sector as the only U.S. state empowered to design and set its own vehicle emission standards.



Volvo Trucks Continues to Drive Introduction of DME in North America

GREENSBORO, NORTH CAROLINA, 1 October 2014 | In an announcement outlining modifications to the company's plans for the introduction of alternative fuel vehicles Volvo Trucks today confirmed that it will continue with customer field tests of its DME-powered heavy-duty vehicles in North America, while putting on hold plans to launch its own compression ignition liquefied natural gas (LNG) engine in that market.


Volvo VNL 300 DME truck

DME Becomes First Biogas-Based Fuel Approved under Renewable Fuel Standard

WASHINGTON, D.C., 3 September 2014 | Another important step forward has been achieved for the commercial introduction of DME as a transportation fuel with confirmation by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") that DME produced from biogas and other renewable sources by IDA member company Oberon Fuels qualifies for inclusion under the Renewable Fuel Standard ("RFS"). Oberon's biogas-based DME is now eligible under the Clean Air Act for high value cellulosic biofuel (D-code 3) and advanced biofuel (D-code 5) renewable identification numbers ("RINs") under the RFS.

This determination by the EPA marks another important milestone in 2014 for DME's introduction as a fuel, following on the publication in February of an ASTM specification for DME (ASTM D7901 – Standard Specification for Dimethyl Ether for Fuel Purposes), another initiative led by executives from Oberon Fuels. The ASTM specification (see feature below) provides guidance for fuel producers, engine and component suppliers, and infrastructure developers on DME purity, testing, safety, and handling.

The EPA's analysis determined that biogas-based DME produced using the Oberon process resulted in an approximate 68% reduction in greenhouse gases when compared to baseline diesel fuel. The determination confirms that renewable DME produced using biogas from landfills, municipal wastewater treatment facility digesters, agricultural digesters, separated MSW digesters, and biogas from the cellulosic components of biomass processed in other waste digesters through the Oberon pathways qualifies for cellulosic biofuel RINS, while renewable DME produced from biogas from waste digesters processing renewable biomass that is assumed non-cellulosic through the Oberon pathways qualifies for advanced biofuel RINs.

The program for the DME 6 conference in San Diego (7 – 8 October) includes updates from Oberon Fuels and other companies on commercial and technical developments connected with the production (from natural gas, biogas, coal, and biomass) and commercialization of DME for fuel applications.


Oberon Fuels Maverick DME Plant

Virgin Feature on Entrepreneurship, DME, and Oberon Fuels

LONDON, 7 August 2014 | Virgin Unite, the non-profit foundation responsible for market-driven low-carbon and climate initiatives such as the Carbon War Room, interviewed Oberon Fuels President Rebecca Boudreaux in an article providing interesting perspectives on DME and entrepreneurship.

Last year, Rebecca met with Richard Branson at his Necker Island (British Virgin Islands) home and discussed DME and Oberon Fuels' plans to commercialize small-scale plants enabling distributed production of the fuel throughout North America. Branson is well known for pursuing environmental and renewable energy projects, and has invested time and money to promote the expansion and growth of companies and technologies in the sector through vehicles such as the Carbon War Room and the Virgin Green Fund.

Read article...

Virgin Group founder Richard Branson
at Carbon War Room meeting

ASTM Issues Specification for DME Fuel

WEST CONSHOHOCKEN, PENNSYLVANIA, 3 February 2014 | ASTM International has issued a standard specification for DME for fuel purposes. The specification, ASTM D7901 (Standard Specification for Dimethyl Ether for Fuel Purposes) covers DME for use as a fuel in engines specifically designed or modified for DME, and for blending with liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).  The specification was published this week and is available for purchase on the ASTM website.

IDA member Oberon Fuels initiated and led an ASTM task force focused on developing a specification for DME as a fuel. In addition to Oberon Fuels, the ASTM DME task force involved representatives from a number of international companies and organizations including Volvo, BP, Delphi, Marathon Petroleum, Petrobras, the National Propane Gas Association, and the California Department of Food and Agriculture. The DME task force operated within ASTM Committee D02’s Subcommittee H (Liquefied Petroleum Gas), which in October 2013 voted to revise the subcommittee’s scope to include DME.

The approval of an ASTM specification for DME marks an important milestone for DME’s introduction as a fuel, providing DME producers, engine manufacturers, infrastructure developers and others involved in the introduction of DME as a fuel with an important benchmark on which to base their work. 



Dimethyl Ether: The Most Promising Fuel You've Never Heard Of

RESEARCH TRIANGLE, NORTH CAROLINA, 28 January 2014 | DME can help commercial carriers achieve goals associated with efficiency improvement programs such as the EPA’s SmartWay. By converting some of their truck fleets to DME, commercial carriers will be substituting oil-derived diesel with a fuel that can be made not only from natural gas, but also from other domestic sources such as landfill and animal wastes. With some large carriers seeing over 60% of their operating costs allocated to fuel, DME-powered trucks can be a major part of carriers’ plans to improve their operating margins while reducing their near 100% dependence on diesel fuel.


Volvo DME truck run by Martin Transport

Australia and India Launch DME Collaboration

MELBOURNE, 10 October 2013 | Australia’s CSIRO and its equivalent in India, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), have launched a three-year, A$6-million (US$5.6 million) collaboration focused on reducing the size of DME processing plants and make them mobile enough to be taken to remote locations where large quantities of stranded natural gas are located.

In addition to CSIRO and the CSIR Indian Institute of Petroleum (CSIR-IIP), the project will draw on the expertise of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT-Roorkee), Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL), the Centre of Advanced Materials and Industrial Chemistry (CAMIC) at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, and the University of Melbourne.


CSIRO laboratories in Clayton, Victoria

Major Chinese City To Trial DME Use in Heavy-Duty Trucks and Public Transportation to Reduce Pollution

SHANGHAI, 6 September 2013 | Shanghai has announced a plan to test the use DME in heavy-duty trucks, buses and taxis to help reduce vehicle emissions, in particular the fine particles ("PM 2.5") that present a number of health risks to humans.  Vehicle emissions are the biggest source of PM2.5 pollutants, accounting for a quarter of air-borne particles in Shanghai, according to the Shanghai Environmental Protection Bureau.

In addition to heavy-duty trucks, DME will be tested by 50 or so taxis in Minhang District and a few local bus lines, the Shanghai Economic and Information Technology Commission said.


Source: Shanghai Daily

DME fuel pump at ENN
service station, Shanghai

Mack Trucks to Begin Production of DME Vehicles

GREENSBORO, NORTH CAROLINA, 20 June 2013 | Mack Trucks announced that it will begin production of DME-powered Mack Pinnacle Axle Back models. The truck model powered by DME will be equipped with a Mack MP8 engine, offering a 13-liter engine able to handle heavy workloads. The Pinnacle Axle Back model is ideal for highway van trailer applications, bulk hauling, flatbed and dump trailer jobs.

One of the most significant advantages of the fuel is that it produces no soot, eliminating the need for a diesel particulate filter (DPF). DME can provide up to a 95 percent CO2 reduction compared with diesel when produced from biomass or biogas. DME has the same performance and energy efficiency as diesel. The fuel is compression ignited, is handled and stored similar to propane and does not need cryogenic temperatures, high tank pressures, or the use of protective equipment when refueling. “Mack is a leader in natural gas technology development, and we believe DME has tremendous potential as an effective way to use the country’s abundant natural gas reserves to power heavy-duty trucks,” said Kevin Flaherty, president of Mack Trucks North American Sales & Marketing.


Mack MP-8 DME Engine

Gas Chemical Project Feasibility Study Between Sojitz and Papua New Guinea Includes DME Production

TOKYO, 12 June 2013 | Japan’s Sojitz Corporation and the government of Papua New Guinea have announced that they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to conduct a feasibility study for a gas chemical project in Papua New Guinea.

The study, which could take one to two years, would include, but not be limited to, methanol, ammonia and dimethyl ether (DME) using locally-sourced natural gas as a feedstock.


Volvo To Introduce First Commercial DME-Powered Vehicles

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA, 6 June 2013 | In a press conference on the steps of the California state capitol today, Volvo Trucks became the first manufacturer to announce plans to commercialize DME-powered heavy duty commercial vehicles in North America. The company plans to introduce the first such vehicles with the technology available in Volvo's D13 engine - the top-selling heavy-duty engine in the world.

Volvo has been running demonstrations of trucks powered by DME in Europe for several years, and revealed ongoing customer field testing in the U.S. with Texas-based Martin Transport, which operates a fleet of tank trucks providing transport of petroleum products, LP gas, and numerous other bulk commodities. Volvo Trucks will partner with Safeway, one of the largest food and drug retailers in North America, and Oberon Fuels to test heavy-duty commercial vehicles runnning on BioDME in the Safeway fleet. 

Speaking of the decision to invest in DME technology and the roll-out in North America, Volvo cited numerous benefits DME offers as a heavy-duty truck fuel: high cetane number; smokeless combustion eliminating the need for a diesel particulate filter; easy onboard storage; and sustainability, amongst many others.


Announcement and Volvo DME truck display on steps of California state capitol

Oberon Fuels Brings Production Units Online, Launching First North American DME Fuel-Grade DME Production

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA, 6 June 2013 | Oberon Fuels announced that their modular DME production units will go online this month, a milestone launching the first fuel-grade DME production facilities in North America. Oberon’s first plant, with a capacity of 4,500 gallons per day, will commence production at their new facility in Brawley, California.

Oberon Fuels will produce bio-derived dimethyl ether for use in Volvo heavy-duty diesel trucks, and one of North America's largest food and drug retailers, Safeway, announced plans to test the diesel alternative in two trucks with Volvo D13 engines converted for DME in their fleet.


Oberon Fuels President Rebecca Boudreaux with the company's DME
fuel dispenser


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