Reducing the Impact of Fossil Fuels on Our Marine Environment

May 26th, 2016 |  Mentions

Originally published May 26, 2016 by King County Water Taxi

There is a reason for the faint whiff of fried chicken or french fries while waiting to board the Water Taxi. It’s not from the ship’s galley. It comes from the used cooking oil mixed in the fuel.

We take seriously the goals in our King County Strategic Climate Action Plan, which sets ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, one of which calls for a tenfold increase in the amount of alternative fuels consumed by King County over the next ten years. That’s why we choose to power our boats with Ultra-Low Sulfur diesel blended with 10-percent biodiesel.

The use of biodiesel reduces the amount of fossil fuels we consume, provides a non-toxic fuel alternative, and supports growth of a cleaner fuel economy in the region. We fill our tanks at the Harbor Island fuel dock, where we worked with Maxim Petroleum to install fuel-mixing equipment for biodiesel.

How and where biofuel is made affects emissions, and ours is provided by a local company called SeQuential — 85% of which they get from used cooking oil recycled from more than 10,000 local restaurants and businesses. The remaining 15% of the biofuel comes from canola oil sourced in Washington or Canada. Biodiesel refined from used cooking oils has the lowest carbon footprint of any diesel alternative on the West Coast.

Marine environments are especially sensitive to hydrocarbons and pollutants. Every percent of petroleum that King County displaces with non-toxic, biodegradable, non-hazardous biodiesel reduces the impacts of fossil fuels on our marine ecosystems while improving the air emissions above water.

Our new vessels, the Sally Fox and the Doc Maynard, have the cleanest engine technology available. We strive to do our part to increase the amount of clean, lower carbon renewable fuel King County uses and reduce greenhouse gas emissions as much as possible. We hope our success with locally-sourced biodiesel inspires others throughout the region and nation to follow our lead