Full Use of Renewable Diesel at Orange County Waste & Recycling Landfills

Full Use of Renewable Diesel at Orange County Waste and Recycling Landfills

Published May 2021

Client: County of Orange Waste & Recycling

Orange County Waste & Recycling (OCW&R) operates three active solid waste landfills in Orange County, California. Collectively, OCW&R currently operates 94 heavy-duty off-road vehicles (HDVs) powered by a total of 104 diesel engines. This fleet annually consumes approximately one million gallons of California ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD).

OCW&R continually seeks to reduce fleet emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and “criteria” pollutants, including nitrogen oxides (“NOx”), fine particulate matter (“PM10”), and sulfur oxides (“SOx”). Towards this goal, OCW&R has been pilot testing renewable diesel (RD) as a replacement for ULSD in two off-road HDVs at one landfill. Broadly, RD is low-GHG diesel fuel produced from renewable feedstocks (typically vegetable oils and animal fats). Unlike biodiesel, RD is chemically almost identical to ULSD, as defined under ASTM D975. In California, it is dispensed in large volumes (roughly 700 million gallons per year) as a low-carbon-intensity “drop-in” replacement for ULSD. Use of neat RD (typically 99 percent, or RD99) is fully sanctioned by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and essentially all major HDV engine manufacturers.

RD99 provides compelling full-fuel cycle GHG reductions (currently 60 to 70 percent) when it replaces ULSD; this is the case for all diesel engines, whether in-use or new. RD99 can also help improve local ambient air quality by reducing HDV emissions of NOx, PM10, SOX. Lastly, user fleets and stakeholders have widely reported that switching to RD99 can provide significant savings on operational costs.

Anyone who is interested in the full report may contact Jon Leonard at