The sustainability trend has swept across the transportation and fuel industries in recent years. I want to share a case study of how biodiesel is helping a fleet—G&D Integrated, a for-hire carrier based in central Illinois—win business and meet both customer and internal environmental goals.
“We’ve noticed that there are more and more customers asking us to participate in their sustainability efforts,” says Vince Buonassi, group manager of transportation programs. “We’ve actually been awarded freight based on our biodiesel usage.”
Their worldwide customers do business in heavy equipment manufacturing and parts fulfillment, agricultural machinery, automotive parts and components, food containers and food packaging.
G&D Integrated’s services include transportation, warehousing, and distribution and logistics. On the transportation side, it offers point-to-point hauling, dedicated contract carriage, ocean container drayage and freight brokerage.
Its fleet of 430 vehicles travels up to 26 million miles annually. The diesel-powered units run year-round on a blend of B20, 20% biodiesel and 80% petroleum diesel, which is known as B20.
Biodiesel has been key not only in the company’s sustainability efforts, but also in growing its business. For instance, biodiesel usage is showing up in some RFPs and, Buonassi says, has been “directly related” to the company winning bids. It also has helped G&D Integrated strengthen its relationship with East Coast ports that want to reduce their carbon footprint.
“Many of our customers analyze their entire supply chain for environmental impact, and some have even gone as far as incorporating sustainability into their purchasing departments,” he says.
Significant carbon reduction
The reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from G&D’s use of biodiesel is equal to nearly 230,000 fewer gallons of gasoline consumed each year. Particulate matter is reduced by 2,854 lbs. annually. The numbers come from the B20 Club, a program from the Illinois Soybean Association and the American Lung Association.
“We’re talking a material difference here,” Buonassi says.
G&D Integrated started using biodiesel several years ago after its fuel supplier introduced the company to the fuel.
“They were claiming that this product would not only cost us less money, but also would not result in any efficiency losses,” Buonassi says.
He found that to be true and says biodiesel has not caused G&D Integrated to increase its rates.
Fuel that performs
G&D Integrated started with a B11 blend before quickly moving up to B20. Each time, it rigorously tested the fuel.
“What we observed was absolutely zero degradation in performance,” Buonassi says.
In fact, biodiesel added lubricity. It also performed well in cold weather. Buonassi says it’s important to use high-quality biodiesel.
“A company like Renewable Energy Group has production facilities that make top-of-the-line, quality-controlled biodiesel,” he says. “And they’re sourcing different forms of feedstock that go through testing before being converted to the end product.”
It’s a product that Buonassi credits with helping G&D Integrated stay ahead of the curve.
“There’s really no sense in fighting the tide of sustainability,” he says. “A lot of other truck carriers will. At G&D, we feel it’s our duty to be good environmental custodians, and it makes business sense for us.”
This article was contributed by Troy Shoen, senior manager of marketing for Renewable Energy Group (REG).