||Interest in biofuels has been growing in New Hampshire, primarily focusing on the use of biodiesel, although limited use of ethanol is required to replace methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) as a fuel additive to reduce air emissions. Fuel providers in the state are currently blending 10 percent ethanol into gasoline supplies, but to date, there has not been a retail location interested in providing E-85. Currently, all commercially available ethanol is from corn-based mid-west stock and is significantly more expensive. As cellulosic ethanol becomes commercially available and produced locally, there will likely be more interest in developing an expanded infrastructure for ethanol in the state.
New Hampshire’s use of biodiesel, usually at the 20 percent blend (B-20), is increasing. The annual 2006 Clean Cities survey reported 764 vehicles in NH using biodiesel, up from 434 in 2005, offsetting an estimated 12,820 gallons of petroleum diesel. This estimate represents only those vehicles that report to the NH Department of Environmental Services (DES) under the Granite State Clean Cities Coalition (GSCCC); many more in the state use biodiesel without reporting their use. Biodiesel has been available at as many as 11 retail service stations, although currently only 9 are carrying biodiesel.
The City of Keene has led the way, switching the entire city fleet to biodiesel in 2002. Keene’s fleet made the switch with assistance from a grant from the Governor’s Office of Energy and the GSCCC. The City recently faced budget cuts, but insisted that it would continue to use biodiesel, even though it is slightly more expensive than ultra low sulfur diesel.
Keene State College uses B-20 in their campus diesel vehicles and B-100 in their lawn maintenance equipment.
Numerous companies in New Hampshire now use biodiesel blends, including Cranmore Mountain Resort in North Conway, COAST Transit in the Seacoast area, Northland Forest Products in Kingston, Rymes Propane and Oils in Antrim, Evans Group in Enfield, and J.W. Ohler Excavation in New London. Many of these users have noted a marked reduction in headaches during equipment use.
In the summer of 2006, the State of New Hampshire opened its first B-20 fueling station in Durham, serving the University of New Hampshire (UNH), and the NH Department of Transportation (DOT), and more recently serving the Oyster River Cooperative School District (ORCSD). UNH received eight new buses in 2006 and began running B-20 in four, while four ran on diesel. In February, after assessing the performance of both groups of buses, UNH switched its entire diesel bus fleet to biodiesel, with the exception of 3 very old buses that will be retired as soon as possible, for a total of 27 biodiesel buses. Both UNH and NH DOT plan to continue to use B-20 at their own cost, $.17 more per gallon on average. ORCSD began using B-20 in its bus fleet in March 2007 through a grant from the GSCCC to cover incremental cost differences, and they plan to continue using biodiesel through at least the 2007-2008 school year.
In July 2007, the DES Pollution Prevention Program partnered with the GSCCC on a workshop for the ski industry on climate change and steps that could be taken to abate climate change, including idling reduction and the use of biodiesel. Dr. Melinda Treadwell, Keene State College and Nora Traviss reported their findings on emissions at ski areas, and Ben Wilcox, General Manager at Cranmore Mountain Resort, reported on the successful use of biodiesel in their grooming equipment over the past three years. As a result of the workshop, one NH ski area has already requested bids for biodiesel for next winter, and several others appear to be working towards using biodiesel as well. Several areas have also decided to adopt idling reduction policies.
A number of NH towns have expressed interest in using biodiesel, and it is anticipated that commercial fleets will also transition to biodiesel as in-state experience continues to demonstrate that biodiesel blends are viable in this climate. GSCCC and the biodiesel industry continue to stress the importance of using only biodiesel certified to the American Society of Testing Methods D6751 standard and fuel providers that are familiar with proper cold weather blending techniques.
Over the summer of 2007, a New Hampshire legislative study commission has been studying impediments to increased use of biodiesel in New Hampshire, focusing on state and regional production and distribution of the fuel. A full report will be issued from that commission by November 1, 2007.