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Californian school district switches to Finnish renewable diesel

Pittsburg Unified School District (PUSD), a public school district in Contra Costa County, California, has switched some of its diesel-powered vehicles to renewable diesel from Finland-headed renewable fuel producer Neste Oyj.
"We have a high prevalence of upper respiratory incidents here and we are committed to doing everything we can to reduce the level of emissions our students and community are exposed to,” said Matthew Belasco, Director of Maintenance, Operations, and Transportation.

Pittsburg Unified School District (PUSD) has switched 20 vehicles to run on Neste’s renewable diesel (photo courtesy Neste).

Neste’s “MY Renewable Diesel” is a drop-in low-carbon fuel alternative to petroleum diesel and is produced from 100 percent renewable and sustainable raw materials. Distributed via the same fuel infrastructure, Neste says that the fuel can cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by up to 90 percent and enable reductions in engine-out emissions, all while enhancing fleet performance.

Matthew Belasco, Director of Maintenance, Operations, and Transportation, Pittsburg USD cites the health of the students in his community as the main reason for the switch to clean-burning, zero odor renewable fuel.

We have a high prevalence of upper respiratory incidents here and we are committed to doing everything we can to reduce the level of emissions our students and community are exposed to, Belasco said.

PUSD has switched 20 of their vehicles to renewable diesel though not without initial concerns about making the switch.

We did have a major concern, especially my mechanics. They were concerned this would ruin the engines and would provide less power. The reality was exactly the opposite, clean-burning fuel and no mechanical issues related to the fuel, said Belasco.

In addition to switching their vehicles to run on renewable diesel, PUSD’s other sustainability efforts include solar arrays; new electric buses; certified green custodial cleaning products; an idle-free program to discourage idling vehicles at school sites; farm-to-school fresh produce; active gardens at all school sites and a high percentage of recycle to waste ratio.

We are so proud to be supporting PUSD with this premium fuel that’s not only renewable and sustainable but a clean, safe, odorless fuel that reduces vapours and is less harmful to the children, the drivers, and the environment, said Jeremy Baines, Vice President of Sales, Neste US, Inc.

Western States Oil, based in San Jose, California, is the exclusive distributor of Neste MY Renewable Diesel to PUSD.

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