On February 6, Nippon Oil (ENEOS), Toyota Motors, Hino Motors and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government announced the launch of a joint project aimed at putting bio hydrofined diesel (also known as BHD, or second-generation biodiesel) into practical use. In 2007, the city will begin trial operation of city buses that run on a 10% BHD-diesel blend.
Produced through a process of hydrogenating vegetable oil and animal fats, BHD is more resistant to oxidation than conventional biodiesel known as fatty acid methyl ester (also known as FAME, or first-generation biodiesel), allowing for higher concentrations in diesel blends. While FAME concentrations in diesel blends are limited to 5%, BHD concentrations can reach 10%. The new fuel complies with Tokyo's latest emission control regulations.
Furthermore, the BHD production process allows for the raw materials -- vegetable oil, animal fat and used cooking oil -- to be processed together. In FAME production, each type of raw material must be processed separately.
Before deciding whether or not to put BHD into practical use, the group will study the overall effectiveness of the fuel as a means of fighting global warming, as well as the feasibility of establishing a fuel production and supply system. The proposed move toward BHD is the first stage in the Tokyo Metropolitan Government's project to cut carbon emissions to 25% of 2000 levels by 2020.