Pilot test shows: Less CO2 emissions with new diesel from renewable energy sources

09.06.2009
  • First pilot test results were presented in Germany today
  • 14 Mercedes-Benz trucks and buses in everyday service for the past year
  • Significant reduction of pollutants and CO2 emissions

Berlin — Today in Berlin, Daimler AG, Deutsche Post DHL, the energy group OMV, the Stuttgarter Straßenbahnen AG public transportation company, and the Finnish oil company Neste Oil took part in a discussion-oriented event titled “Diesel from renewable sources — A step toward zero-emission transportation?”. At the event, the companies presented the initial results of their joint pilot test project focusing on fuel from sustainable production. Since mid-2008, 14 series-produced Mercedes-Benz trucks and buses that run exclusively on sustainably produced NExBTL renewable diesel have been in service under everyday conditions in Germany. The vehicles have already covered one million kilometers. The field test shows that the combustion of the alternative diesel fuel from hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) in the engines results in significantly reduced emissions of pollutants. For example, emissions of nitrogen oxides decrease up to 15 percent. The overall CO2 balance is also positive: From the sustainable cultivation of palm oil and its processing to the fuel’s use in a vehicle, the CO2 emissions of the fuel used in the pilot test have been reduced by more than 60 percent compared to fossil fuels.

Plans call for the joint project to run for a three-year period ending in 2011. Its objectives are to test the usability of the new diesel fuel made from renewable energy sources and to determine the level of CO2 savings that can be realized in everyday use with series-produced vehicles. The field test calls for the Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicles to be driven a total of 3.3 million kilometers while realizing savings of more than 2,000 tons of CO2 emissions. During this period, Deutsche Post DHL is operating ten Mercedes-Benz trucks in the Greater Nuremberg area. They consist of five medium-duty Mercedes-Benz Atego trucks and five heavy-duty Mercedes-Benz Actros vehicles. In addition, Stuttgarter Straßenbahnen AG has four Mercedes-Benz Citaro city buses on the road, which all run on NExBTL renewable diesel. Neste Oil produces the biofuel, and OMV is responsible for supplying the fuel to the project partners.

The collaboration by companies from different sectors makes it possible to integrate and study every step along the entire value chain — from biofuel production to its use in urban, intercity, and long-distance transportation. “The results from the first year of testing show that the fuel works perfectly in Mercedes-Benz trucks and buses and is tolerated very well by the engines,” says Dr. Manfred Schuckert, company strategist at Daimler AG. “This is very important for our customers because the previously used biodiesel from the so-called first generation of biofuels often leads to more frequent maintenance checks, which in turn leads to higher costs for the vehicle operators.” Daimler Trucks and Daimler Buses are forging ahead with measures for significantly reducing the fuel consumption and the CO2 and pollutant emissions of their vehicles. The world’s leading commercial vehicle manufacturer expresses this commitment in its “Shaping Future Transportation” initiative.

In addition to providing important findings concerning the trouble-free use of biofuel from hydrotreated vegetable oils (HVO) in commercial vehicles, the pilot project is also important in terms of achieving significant reductions of CO2 emissions from motor vehicle traffic, which immediately reduce the environmental impact. “As a global logistics company that operates a large fleet of vehicles, we want to actively support research into biofuels from renewable sources. That’s because we think that second- and third-generation biofuels can significantly reduce our carbon footprint,” says Steffen Frankenberg, company strategist at Deutsche Post DHL, who also is responsible for the company’s “GoGreen” climate protection program.

A study conducted by Deutsche Post DHL, for instance, showed that more than 80 percent of all CO2 emissions from freight transport are generated on medium- to long-distance routes. Estimates indicate that the transport volumes on these routes will double by the year 2020. At the same time, the requirements for companies are becoming more demanding regarding climate protection. For example, the emissions standards for the automotive industry and the requirements for the use of renewable energy throughout the EU are becoming stricter. This means, for example, that all EU member countries will have to increase their use of renewable energy in the transportation sector to ten percent by 2020. Deutsche Post DHL was the first company in its sector to set itself a concrete climate-protection target of improving CO2 efficiency by 30 percent company-wide by 2020. “In the future we will face the challenging task of having to transport more goods while generating far fewer emissions,” explains Frankenberg. “We will therefore desperately need alternative fuels, especially fuels that are sustainably produced.”

In addition to the logistics sector, public transport companies are taking a proactive stance when it comes to reducing CO2 and pollutant emissions. This is why Stuttgarter Straßenbahnen AG (SSB) is taking part in the field test. “Greater Stuttgart has been fighting high emission levels for years,” says Markus Wiedemann of the SSB. The use of local public transport is a very important step in the effort to reduce emission levels. By using biofuels in our buses we can speed up the process of reducing CO2 emissions,” says Wiedemann.

To ensure that the use of biofuels is technically and economically sensible as well as ecologically sound, binding standards and regulations need to be established on the European and international levels. There are, however, no internationally recognized standards for biofuels from sustainable production — standards specifying, for example, the compatibility in engines. This is very problematic for fuel producers, distributors, and automakers because they must be able to guarantee the quality of their products. Walter Böhme, Head of OMV Research and Development: “This new diesel from renewable sources allows us to provide our customers with an environmentally friendly solution that is sustainable over the long term. On the one hand, that means that high admixtures of biofuels can be used, while on the other, the fuel meets the future needs of engine and vehicle manufacturers.” OMV is playing a pioneering role in environmentally friendly technologies, and the company’s entry into the production of sustainable forms of energy is the next logical step in this process. To support this development, the company has established the OMV Future Energy Fund. As a wholly owned subsidiary of OMV, the Future Energy Fund identifies renewable energy and emissions reduction projects within the OMV group, supports their implementation and provides funding for them.

In addition to solve technical challenges there is an equally important need to determine sustainably produced bio raw materials. At the Berlin event “Diesel from renewable sources — A step toward zero-emission transportation?” Martina Fleckenstein of the World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF) said, “We need an internationally valid certification system for the production of biofuels. The crucial factor here is that all systems, whether they are in the preparation stage or already existing, must comply with strict sustainability regulations that are ecologically, socially, and economically sound.”

All of the participants agree that the current field test is an initial but promising step toward using an effective and permanently sustainable biofuel. The Finnish oil company Neste Oil has set very stringent rules for the production of raw materials in order to ensure that the NExBTL renewable diesel satisfies demanding ecological requirements. “We know exactly where our raw materials come from and how they are produced, and we also constantly have them tested by independent institutions,” says Simo Honkanen, Senior Vice President Sustainability and HSSE at Neste Oil. “Our suppliers are contractually obligated to engage in sustainable production. This is how we can guarantee our customers that the fuel is 100 percent sustainably produced. Neste Oil has also committed itself to solely using certified palm oil by the end of 2015 or even before that if sufficient volumes become available.” Neste Oil is engaged in R&D with 23 research institutions and universities around the world to develope completely new type of feedstocks for renewable fuels production. Research work is ongoing with for instance algae, other microbes and wood residues.


Press Contacts:

Daimler AG
Heinz Gottwick
Director, Global Communications Commercial Vehicles
Phone: +49 711 17 4 15 25
E-Mail: heinz.gottwick@daimler.com

Deutsche Post DHL
Dirk Klasen
Corporate Communications – Media Relations
Phone.: +49 (0)228 182-99 44
E-Mail: pressestelle@deutschepost.de

OMV Aktiengesellschaft
Michaela Huber
Head of Media Relations
Phone.: +43-1-40440-21475
E-mail: michaela.huber@omv.com

Stuttgarter Straßenbahnen AG
Susanne Schupp
Communications
Phone: +49-(0)711- 78 85-26 86

Neste Oil Corporation
Hanna Maula
Director, Corporate Communications
Mobile +358 50 458 4618
E-mail: hanna.maula@nesteoil.com

 
About Daimler

Daimler AG, Stuttgart, with its businesses Mercedes-Benz Cars, Daimler Trucks, Daimler Financial Services, Mercedes-Benz Vans and Daimler Buses, is a globally leading producer of premium passenger cars and the global market leader of heavy- and medium-duty trucks as well as buses. The Daimler Financial Services division has a broad offering of financial services, including vehicle financing, leasing, insurance and fleet management. Daimler sells its products in nearly all the countries of the world and has production facilities on five continents. The company’s founders, Gottlieb Daimler and Carl Benz, continued to make automotive history following their invention of the automobile in 1886. As an automotive pioneer, Daimler and its employees willingly accept an obligation to act responsibly towards society and the environment and to shape the future of safe and sustainable mobility with groundbreaking technologies and high-quality products. The current brand portfolio includes the world’s most valuable automobile brand, Mercedes-Benz, as well as smart, AMG, Maybach, Freightliner, Western Star, Mitsubishi Fuso, Setra, Orion and Thomas Built Buses. The company is listed on the stock exchanges in Frankfurt, New York and Stuttgart (stock exchange abbreviation DAI). In 2008, the Group sold 2.1 million vehicles and employed a workforce of over 270,000 people; revenue totaled €95.9 billion and EBIT amounted to €2.7 billion. Daimler is an automotive Group with a commitment to excellence, and aims to achieve sustainable growth and industry-leading profitability.

Deutsche Post DHL is the world’s leading mail and logistics services group.

The Deutsche Post and DHL corporate brands offer a one-of-a-kind portfolio of logistics (DHL) and communications (Deutsche Post) services. The Group provides its customers with both easy to use standardized products as well as innovative and tailored solutions ranging from dialog marketing to industrial supply chains. Over 500,000 employees in more than 220 countries and territories form a global network focused on service, quality and sustainability. With programs in the areas of climate protection, disaster relief and education, the Group is committed to social responsibility. In 2008, Deutsche Post DHL revenues exceeded € 54 billion.

The postal service for Germany. The logistics company for the world.
 
OMV Aktiengesellschaft

With Group sales of EUR 25.54 bn and a workforce of 41,282 employees in 2008, OMV Aktiengesellschaft is one of Austria’s largest listed industrial companies. As the leading energy group in the European growth belt, OMV is active in Refining and Marketing (R&M) in 13 countries. In Exploration and Production (E&P) OMV is active in 17 countries on four continents. In Gas & Power (G&P) OMV sells approximately 13 bcm gas per year. Via Baumgarten, one of the most important turntables for gas in Europe, approximately 66 bcm gas is transported annually. OMV’s Central European Gas Hub is amongst the three largest hubs in Continental Europe.
OMV is the leading energy group in the European growth belt with oil and gas reserves of approximately. 1.2 bn boe, daily production of around 308,000 boe and an annual refining capacity of approximately. 26 mn t. OMV now has 2,477 filling stations in 13 countries. The market share of the group in the R&M business segment in the Danube Region is now 20%. OMV further strengthened its leading position in the European growth belt through the acquisition of 41.58% of Petrol Ofisi, Turkey’s leading company in the retail and commercial business.
In June 2006, OMV has established the OMV Future Energy Fund, a wholly owned subsidiary to support projects in renewable energy with more than EUR 100 mn to initiate the change from a pure oil and gas group to an energy group with renewable energy in its portfolio.

Stuttgarter Straßenbahnen AG

Stuttgarter Straßenbahnen AG (SSB) is the public transport company of the city of Stuttgart. SSB operates 16 streetcar lines on tracks with a total length of approximately 130 kilometers in Stuttgart and the four surrounding districts. In addition, the company operates bus lines covering a total of more than 650 kilometers. SSB serves downtown Stuttgart and other areas of the city, connects the state capital to other independent cities such as Fellbach, Remseck, Gerlingen, and Ostfildern, and provides public transportation within the surrounding communities. In this way, SSB serves as the urban counterpart to the red trains and suburban railway systems that connect Stuttgart to more distant locations outside the region. SSB has around 170 electric streetcars and more than 270 buses in its fleet, which makes it the biggest publicly owned urban transport company in the federal state of Baden-Württemberg. SSB’s vehicles transport around 190 million passengers each year, or about half a million per day. Each inhabitant therefore makes almost 200 trips per year on public transport systems. Around half of the people who use a vehicle in downtown Stuttgart are transported by SSB. With its approximately 2,600 employees, of whom about 1,200 are drivers, SSB is also important to the region as a provider of largely recession-proof jobs.

Neste Oil in brief

Neste Oil Corporation is a refining and marketing company concentrating on low-emission, high-quality traffic fuels. The company’s target is to be the world’s leading supplier of renewable diesel. Neste Oil’s refineries are located in Porvoo and Naantali and have a combined crude oil refining capacity of approx. 260,000 barrels a day. The company had net sales of EUR 15 billion in 2008 and employs around 5,200 people. Neste Oil’s share is listed on the NASDAQ OMX Helsinki.