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Clean diesel technology improving emissions

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

The introduction of more advanced diesel truck engines, innovative emissions control systems, and cleaner diesel fuel over the past decade have successfully resulted in major improvements in air quality and fuel efficiency, according to new research compiled by The Martec Group, a global technical marketing research firm, for the Diesel Technology Forum.

The four million cleaner heavy duty diesels introduced from 2007 through 2015 have saved US consumers:

  • 29 million t of CO2.
  • 7.5 million t of NOx.
  • 218 000 t of particulate matter (PM).
  • 2.9 billion gal. of diesel.
  • 69 million bbls of crude oil.

"It is clear from these findings that the new generation of clean diesel technology is delivering large and expanding benefits to society in the form of fewer emissions and lower fuel consumption. The reductions from the 2007 and newer trucks on the road today are equivalent to removing the CO2 emissions from 6.1 million light duty cars from the road for one year, removing the NOx emissions from all light duty cars for two years, and removing the particulate matter from all light duty cars for six years," said Allen Schaeffer, Executive Director of the Diesel Technology Forum.

Schaeffer said 42% of all medium and heavy duty diesel commercial trucks (Classes 3 - 8) in operation in the US – four million of 9.5 million diesel trucks – were now equipped with newer technology clean diesel engines; up from 38% last year.

For Class 8 trucks running the newest generation (2010 and newer) engines, the new technology saved truckers US$2400/y in fuel costs by using 875 fewer gal. of fuel (based on 125 000 miles travelled).

"As the world's attention is now focused on meeting future international climate commitments, it is important to recognise the fuels and technologies that are delivering proven benefits here and now in communities all across America, because technologies like clean diesel will also be vital to achieving those future goals as well," Schaeffer said.

New regulations lead to environmental and efficiency improvements

In December 2000, the US Environmental Protection Agency established new requirements to reduce emissions from on road heavy duty trucks and buses by up to 95% and cut the allowable levels of sulfur in diesel fuel by 97% by 2010. The first requirement for a 98% reduction in particulate matter became effective in 2007. In 2010, requirements for a 98% reduction in NOx from 2007 levels went into effect.

To achieve these new standards, the new clean diesel system relies on an efficient engine and combustion system utilising the most advanced fuel injection, turbocharging and engine management strategies coupled with advanced emissions controls and after-treatment technologies including particulate filters and selective catalytic reduction (SCR) systems - all running on ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel.

These new clean diesel trucks are a key element in the clean air plans for states to meet the current and future national ambient air quality standards, noted Schaeffer. The Martec Group also calculated the emissions benefits achieved in selected states.

From 2011 - 2015 new technology diesel engines in:

  • California have removed 700 000 t of NOx from the atmosphere and saved 2.5 million t of CO2.
  • New York have removed 250 000 t of NOx from the atmosphere and saved 900 000 t of CO2.
  • New Jersey have removed 160 000 t of NOx from the atmosphere and saved 500 000 t of CO2.
  • Pennsylvania have removed 300 000 t of NOx from the atmosphere and saved 1.3 million t of CO2.

Adapted from press release by Francesca Brindle

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