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Boron Ops Has Rio Tinto’s First Renewable Diesel-Powered Truck

:: Friday, December 17, 2021

This past week, U.S. Borax became the first site across Rio Tinto to trial “renewable diesel” fuel in one of our haul trucks. We are currently conducting a 5,000-hour trial to ensure the truck’s performance meets our standards and that the renewable diesel does not impact the truck’s fuel system components life.

What is renewable diesel?

Renewable diesel is a like-for-like replacement for the standard diesel that currently runs our trucks.

The major difference with is that renewable diesel is manufactured using organic biomass, such as vegetable oil and a variety of waste including tallow and residues. These materials are hydro-treated in the same manner as normal diesel, but the feed stock used means renewable diesel fuel produces significantly less emissions—between 70 to 80% less.

Is renewable diesel the same as biodiesel?

No, the two fuel types have very different properties:

  • Biodiesel can only be use as blend of up to 20% volume of normal diesel. Renewable diesel can be used as a complete replacement or mixed with normal diesel.
  • Biodiesel is measured against ASTM Standard D6751. Renewable diesel is measured to ATSM 975 the same as normal diesel.
  • Biodiesel can’t be used in cold weather application due to gelling while renewable diesel can.
  • Biodiesel has a six-month shelf life. Renewable diesel is the same as normal diesel (between six to 12 months depending on storage conditions).

Teamwork for a sustainable future

Several teams across our business came together to make this trial possible, including:

  • Truck shop
  • Rio Tinto Procurement
  • Asset Management Centre of Excellence
  • Pioneering pitch
  • MTU, our engine supplier

The green sticker the refitted truck carries on its side represents a breakthrough for Boron Operations, Rio Tinto, and the mining industry.

U.S. Borax truck shop team with the first renewable diesel haul truck

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U.S. Borax, part of Rio Tinto, is a global leader in the supply and science of borates—naturally-occurring minerals containing boron and other elements. We are 1,000 people serving 650 customers with more than 1,800 delivery locations globally. We supply around 30% of the world’s need for refined borates from our world-class mine in Boron, California, about 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles.  Learn more about Rio Tinto.

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