San Francisco Fire Department Biodiesel Program

In early 2005, two San Francisco Fire Department members, Firefighter Mike Ferry and Firefighter Paramedic Brie Mathews, began researching biodiesel for use in our fire department engines, aerial trucks and ambulances. The motivation for converting to biodiesel is cleaner emissions for the protection of firefighters and the people we serve.

In May of 2006, the San Francisco Fire Department implemented a Biodiesel Pilot Program, which lasted for seven months, and tested the use of a fuel blend of 20% biodiesel and 80% regular diesel, commonly referred to as B20.

When we began our program, we were the first San Francisco City department to implement a large-scale pilot study with biodiesel. In May of 2006, however, the Mayor of San Francisco ordered all City departments to use B20 in all diesel vehicles, with full implementation by December 2007.

Initially, five fire department vehicles, three engines (triples), one tillered tractor/trailer aerial ladder truck and one ambulance were designated to use B20 fuel only. The fuel was stored and drawn from a single 3000-gallon Underground Storage Tank that had been cleaned and the regular diesel within the tank had been filtered prior to the delivery of the B20.

In May of 2007, we received our first shipments of B20 to two additional storage tanks. With three tanks now filled with B20, we have six engines, two trucks, and twenty-two ambulances being fueled on a regular basis with B20, and a dozen or so vehicles pulling B20 on an occasional basis.

For more information about the San Francisco Fire Department Biodiesel Program, contact the Public Information Officer.