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A number of renewable and alternative fuels can be used as drop-in replacements for diesel fuel. These fuels must meet the specifications and characteristics described below in order to be used in Cat® engines and reduce the risk of downtime.
Renewable fuels are derived from renewable resources such as planted crops (soy, palm, rapeseed, etc.), used cooking oil, animal fat, biomass, algae, and others. Renewable fuels reduce the carbon footprint of diesel engines on a Life Cycle Analysis basis. Renewable fuels that are derived from fats and oils may be processed through hydrotreating. The result is a high paraffinic renewable diesel (RD), also called hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO), that can be used in diesel engines.
Biomass and syn gas, which can be produced from methane gas and gas-to-liquid (GTL), can be converted into renewable fuel through various processes and is typically called biomass-to-liquid (BTL). BTL, GTL and HHVO have the same chemistry and performance specifications, and all can be used in diesel engines.
Note that alternative and renewable fuels covered in this paper are different than biodiesel fuel, which is covered in other publications.
In order to be applicable for Cat® diesel engines, Caterpillar recommends that renewable and alternative fuels meet the latest version of any of the following specifications:
Renewable and alternative fuels that meet the requirements listed above can be used at:
Renewable and alternative fuels are typically paraffinic hydrocarbons, which are included in a subset of diesel fuel composition. Hence these fuels, whether at 100% or blended, can be used as drop-in replacements for diesel fuel. These fuels have many benefits:
Here are Caterpillar’s guidance and potential impacts for the use of renewable and alternative fuels according to the specifications detailed above:
The use of fuels with low carbon footprints supports Caterpillar's sustainability initiatives. Caterpillar is continuously following the development of renewable and alternative fuels, and is involved in the development of appropriate specifications to ensure the successful application of these fuels in Cat engines.