- Reduces tax on dimethyl ether (DME) fuel to be consistent with other alternative fuels
- Renewable DME (rDME) reduces greenhouse gas emissions between 68 and 101 percent compared to diesel, with zero soot
- Production of rDME expected to begin at Brawley, Calif. facility in 2021
SAN DIEGO (September 28, 2020) Oberon Fuels, a producer of low-carbon dimethyl ether (DME) transportation fuel, celebrates the signing of California Assembly Bill 2663 into law. The bill, which received bi-partisan support and passed unanimously through the California Legislature, effectively lowers the tax on DME when used as a diesel replacement or to blend with propane to the same rate as other alternative fuels.
“AB 2663 levels the playing field for DME and removes a barrier to adoption for fleets seeking ways to reduce their carbon footprint,” said Rebecca Boudreaux, Ph.D., President and CEO of Oberon Fuels. “I want to thank Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia for championing this bill. A
bi-partisan and unanimous bill is a testament to his leadership.”
Oberon Fuels is in the middle of upgrading its plant in Brawley, Calif. from pilot to demonstration scale, thanks in part to a $2.9 million grant from the California Energy Commission last summer. The company recently added nine full-time, family-wage jobs to the facility, which is located in Imperial Valley, a county with the highest unemployment rate in the state. The plant is expected to produce 1.6 million gallons of DME from more than 5,500 metric tons of waste material when operating at full capacity.
The funding from the State of California was instrumental in helping Oberon Fuels obtain additional private funding. In 2020, Oberon announced a strategic partnership with SHV Energy, the world’s largest distributor of propane, as well as Suburban Propane’s acquisition of a
39 percent stake in the company. With a significant footprint in California, Suburban Propane is a publicly traded, nationwide distributor of propane, fuel oil and related products and services.
“Oberon’s partnership with the State of California and the private sector is proof that it’s possible to address climate change with innovative, cost-effective solutions that also create family-wage jobs in a region of the state that has long suffered from disproportionate economic and environmental impacts,” said Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia (D-56). “We look forward to Imperial Valley and California leading the way to a cleaner and greener future.”
Oberon’s renewable Dimethyl Ether (rDME) fuel is a cost-effective, low-carbon, zero-soot alternative to petroleum diesel. In addition, rDME is also a cost-effective carrier for hydrogen, making it easy to deliver this renewable fuel for the growing hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle industry. Additionally, when blended with propane, rDME can significantly reduce this clean-burning fuel’s carbon intensity. Taken together, Oberon can provide the US and global transportation sectors with practical and affordable pathways to zero-emission transportation.
“This is a perfect example of the power of public-private partnerships to drive innovation, create jobs and have a positive impact on both human health and the overall environment,” said Oberon co-founder and Chief Operating Officer Elliot Hicks. “We look forward to commercial production of renewable DME next year and working with our partners to increase adoption and use around the world.”
About Oberon Fuels
California-based Oberon Fuels is on a mission to decarbonize transportation by converting biogas and industrial waste streams into high-performing, high-value molecules. Using its proprietary small-scale process, Oberon Fuels focuses on the production of renewable dimethyl ether (rDME) from waste and/or renewable resources. Oberon Fuels’ pilot plant in Brawley, California, produced the first fuel-grade DME in North America, which has been used by Volvo Trucks, Mack Trucks, and Ford for vehicle demonstrations around the world. More information about Oberon Fuels is available at www.oberonfuels.com.
John Williams, Scoville PR for Oberon Fuels