Automaker Daimler AG and Finnish oil firm Neste Oil found carbon dioxide emissions reductions of more than 60 percent during a one year test of 14 Mercedes Benz trucks powered with renewable diesel in Germany.

The companies launched a joint pilot test project in mid-2008, collaborating with other companies that operated the trucks. The companies supplied them with renewable diesel from hydrotreated vegetable oil produced by Neste Oil. The vehicles were driven for 1 million kilometers (about 621,000 miles) exclusively on the biofuel.

CO2 emissions of the fuel used in the test from the time of cultivation of the palm oil, to its processing and to the fuel's use in the vehicle, have been reduced by more than 60 percent compared to fossil fuels, the companies said Tuesday.

All of the participants agree that the current field test is an initial but promising step toward using an effective and permanently sustainable biofuel, a statement posted on the Daimler AG website yesterday read.

The biofuel called NExBTL worked perfectly in Mercedes-Benz trucks and buses, compared to previously used biodiesel from the so called first generation of biofuels which required more maintenance checks, Dr. Manfred Schuckert, company strategist for emissions and safety for commercial vehicles at Daimler AG noted in a statement.

The project is planned to run for a three-year period ending in 2011.