Economy and Emissions Impacts from Solazyme Fuel in UPS Delivery Vehicles

Kenneth Kelly, Adam Ragatz

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


To improve understanding of the potential fuel economy and emissions impacts from switching a fleet of vehicles from conventional petroleum diesel to synthetic renewable diesel, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) conducted fuel economy and emissions analyses at NREL's Renewable Fuels and Lubricants (ReFUEL) Laboratory. Representative test cycles were developed based on real-world data from six package delivery vehicles and six class 8 day-cab tractors operated by UPS in the Dallas, Texas, area. A three-week in-field data collection period yielded 170 days of real-world vehicle operations data that NREL used to select representative standard drive cycles for testing. Fuel economy and emissions tests at the ReFUEL Laboratory showed that, in general, when switching from conventional diesel to renewable diesel observed changes in tailpipe carbon dioxide (CO2), fuel consumption, and fuel economy are primarily driven by changes in fuel properties such as the hydrogen-to-carbon ratio, density, and lower heating value (LHV). The vehicles tested with the renewable diesel showed a consistent 4.2% reduction in tailpipe CO2 emissions, but a 3.5%-4.8% reduction in fuel economy compared with local pump diesel. This is consistent with the 4.2% lower volumetric LHV of the sourced renewable diesel compared to the pump diesel. The UPS package car tested on renewable diesel also demonstrated a 4.1% oxides of nitrogen (NOx) reduction. NOx emissions from the UPS selective-catalyst-reduction-equipped tractor were an order of magnitude lower than the package car but showed relatively higher variability in results from cycle to cycle.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages16
StatePublished - 2018

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-5400-68896


  • drive cycle
  • efficiency
  • emissions
  • heavy-duty dynamometer testing
  • renewable diesel
  • truck testing


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