March 3, 2015 8:00 AM, EST

California Approves DME as a Transportation Fuel

TT File Photo

The California Department of Food and Agriculture has approved use of dimethyl ether, or DME, as a transportation fuel.

DME can be can be made from a number of feedstocks, including food, animal and agricultural waste, as well as from natural gas.

“Use of fuels like DME will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve air quality and lead to a positive impact on California and the environment,” said Kristin Macey, director of the department’s measurement standards division.

Oberon Fuels Inc., the first company to manufacture fuel-grade DME in North America, said the approval builds on earlier approvals and ongoing work by other regulatory bodies, including the California Air Resources Board, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and ASTM

“These approvals are a key step in increasing confidence among distributors, engine manufacturers and fleet owners that DME is ready for commercial markets, which will benefit Oberon as we build out a global supply of DME fuel,” said Rebecca Boudreaux, Oberon Fuels’ president.

Volvo Trucks, which has expressed interest in the fuel, said the approval was a significant step forward for trucking’s use of the fuel.

“Volvo Trucks is continuing to invest in DME because it delivers diesel-like performance with propane-like handling and will provide a faster ROI for truck customers than other alternative fuels,” said Susan Alt, Volvo Group North America’s senior vice president of public affairs. “Each certification increases their confidence that the fuel is good for trucks and the environment.”