Renewable Synthetic Diesel for Airport Shuttle Buses

After the successful introduction a few decades ago of synthetic oil, a pilot project is testing the feasibility of filling tanks with synthetic fuel.

Enterprise Holdings, owner and operator of the Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car brands, is piloting a program with Mansfield Oil Company to use renewable synthetic diesel in its airport shuttle buses at Louis Armstrong International Airport in New Orleans and Houston Hobby Airport in Texas.

“By using synthetic diesel and embracing alternative fuels, we are following our ongoing commitment to help grow the clean fuel market and increasing opportunities for alternatives to become commercially viable,” said Lee Broughton, head of corporate sustainability for Enterprise Holdings.

According to the Southwest Research Institute, benefits of synthetic diesel compared to petroleum-based diesel include:

• 16 percent reduction in particulate matter

• 68 percent reduction in non-methane emissions

• 33 percent reduction in NOx gases

• 23 percent reduction in carbon monoxide

“Synthetic diesel is a sustainable, ultra-clean burning, high-cetane fuel that reduces carbon emissions up to 70 percent and significantly reduces particulates and NOx when combusted in existing diesel engines,” said Doug Haugh, president of Mansfield Oil Company. “Enterprise is the first car rental company in the United States to utilize renewable synthetic diesel to power their shuttle buses. Mansfield’s partnership with Enterprise further emphasizes our shared commitment to introducing new transportation fuels to the U.S. market while maintaining a high standard of service for our customers.”

Enterprise also supports renewable fuels research. Since 2006, Enterprise’s owners, the Taylor family, have given $35 million to the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center and its Enterprise Rent-A-Car Institute for Renewable Fuels.

At the Enterprise Institute, scientists are researching and developing new and sustainable methods of creating next-generation biofuels from nonfood crops such as camelina, switchgrass and algae that someday could be used to power cars, trucks and aircraft.