San Francisco

Bay Area to Become First U.S. Region to Use Renewable Diesel Ferries

The Bay Area is set to become the first major region in the country to begin using renewable diesel fuel for its fleet of ferries, San Francisco city officials announced Thursday.

The move would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 60 percent or more, in addition to reducing other emissions such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter.

Unlike fossil fuel, renewable diesel fuel is made from nonpetroleum renewable sources such as natural fats, vegetable oils and grease.

San Francisco Mayor Mark Farrell made the announcement Thursday alongside officials with the San Francisco Department of the Environment and the Port of San Francisco.

"San Francisco is and always will be a leader in protecting our planet," Farrell said in a statement. "As the federal administration fails to act on this crucial issue, San Francisco will be at the forefront of environmental leadership for the nation and the world. To protect our region and our environment, we are taking climate action now," he said.

Bay Area ferries and excursion providers that have committed to transitioning to renewable diesel in 2019 include Golden Gate Ferry, Hornblower Cruises, Blue & Gold Fleet and the Water Emergency Transportation Authority.

The San Francisco Fire Department has also committed to transitioning to renewable diesel this year, as has the Port's public fuel dock at Hyde Street Harbor.

Red and White Fleet made the switch late last year.

"At a time with increased water transit ridership, we are pleased to partner with our ferry and excursion providers to be on the forefront of climate action and environmental leadership for our city and nation," the Port's Executive Director Elaine Forbes said in a statement.

With the move, city officials hope to set a precedent for all water fleets worldwide to switch to renewable diesel.

The transition was made possible through a collaboration between the city and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the National Park Service, the California Air Resources Board, the California Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Coast Guard in California, as well as fuel providers and engine manufacturers, according to Farrell's office.

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