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Neste biodiesel passes Mercedes truck test

Pilot project claims significant carbon dioxide reduction with trucks and buses running on diesel fuel made from sustainable biomass.

Young oil palms waiting to be planted. Neste/Ismo Henttonen

In Berlin on Tuesday, Daimler and Finnish oil company Neste Oil announced the results of a year-long pilot project in which 14 Mercedes trucks and buses ran on nothing but sustainable biodiesel for one year.

Specifically, five medium-duty Mercedes-Benz Atego trucks, five heavy-duty Mercedes-Benz Actros vehicles, and four Mercedes-Benz Citaro city buses were run exclusively on Neste's sustainably produced NExBTL renewable diesel fuel.

The biofuel, which includes hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) made from palm oil, is something Neste has been known to be working on in order to meet its goal of "100 percent sustainably produced" oil by 2015.

The result after one year was a 15 percent decrease in nitrogen oxides, and, when taking into account the entire food chain from plant cultivation to car engine use, the CO2 emissions caused by the vehicles were reduced by over 60 percent, according to project statistics provide by Neste.

The project has now been extended to three years with more results to be reported in 2011.