Clean Fuels: Clean Diesel Technology
What is Clean Diesel Technology?
Clean Diesel Technology is technology that is used to reduce the emissions from a diesel engine. This can be done through a number of ways, ranging from federally mandated emissions standards for non-road diesel engines and equipment to reducing the idling of on road trucks which are so important in transporting the goods that keep America running. Some of the most common forms of clean diesel technology are:
- Exhaust Control measures
- Diesel Oxidation Catalysts- After-exhaust treatment which reduces pollutants through chemical reactions. They function similar to the catalytic converter in a gasoline engine.
- Diesel Particulate Filters- After-exhaust treatment which removes particulate matter through a porous filter.
- Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) control measures- After-exhaust treatment which reduces NOx emissions through Selective Catalytic Reductions, Exhaust Gas recirculation, and Lean NOx Catalyst.
- Idle Reduction Technologies
- Auxiliary Power Units- Small generators or battery banks that power the equipment.
- Fuel Operated Heater or Diesel Fired Heaters- Heaters which draw fuel from the main tank and provide heat to the vehicle.
- Aerodynamic Technology- Technology that reduces drag and improves air flow across the vehicle
- Engine repower or replacement- Replacing the engine in a vehicle or the entire vehicle with a higher emissions standard.
- Bio-based diesel fuels (Biodiesel) - Any diesel fuel that is derived from a biological source such as soy beans or recycled cooking oil.
- Hybridization- A vehicle that combines any two technologies (often electric and diesel or hydraulic and diesel) to improve efficiency of a vehicle.
Why should we care about clean diesel?
Diesel engines are prolific in day to day life, and without diesel many of the things that we use every day would not be available. According to the Diesel Technology Forum’s report, “more than four-fifths of products exported from and imported to the U.S. - by truck, train, ship or intermodal means- are moved using diesel technology”.i Diesel powers construction and farm equipment, industrial and public transportation, emergency services and emergency power. Diesel engines are more efficient and provide more power than a gasoline equivalent. With all of these diesel engines around us, there is some concern with the health effects of the emissions produced by diesel engines. Diesel engines produce the standard byproducts of combustion like CO2 and CO, but also produce hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides (NOx), black carbon and particulate matter. The Environmental Protection Agency states “emissions from diesel exhaust can lead to serious health conditions like asthma and allergies, and can worsen heart and lung disease, especially in vulnerable populations such as children and the elderly”.ii Diesel emissions also contribute to other environmental effects. NOx contributes to ground level smog productions and acid rain. All of these pollutants have the potential to damage plants, animals and crops. In addition they can have negative effects on water resources. Clean diesel technology works to reduce and eliminate these pollutants.
Clean Diesel Technology at work.
The American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest (ALAUM) actively participates in USEPA’s National Clean Diesel Campaign through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) grant programs.
The ALAUM’s involvement in these grant opportunities has produced significant reductions in diesel emissions and health impacts. The projects that have been completed and the projects that are currently being implemented are estimated to ultimately reduce diesel pollutants by over half a million tons. These projects have also helped to significantly reduce the consumption of diesel fuel. At the conclusion of these projects, the ALAUM, in partnership with USEPA and 116 diesel fleets, will have reduced emissions from 1341 diesel engines.
|Grants marked with an asterix have been completed and final reports submited. All other grants are active and the reductions reported are estimated end results. All reduction estimates were calculated using the EPA's Diesel Emissions Quantifier
USEPA’s Clean Diesel Grants are available to provide assistance for fleets of Non-Road and On Highway diesel engines interested in reducing their environmental impact. Funding is available for technologies including:
For a complete list of eligible retrofit technologies please click here.
Fleets interested in applying for funding through the DERA program may submit a Fleet Application to the American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest. Funding through this program is in no way guaranteed and is dependent upon the availability of funding from the USEPA.
To view the current USEPA Request for Proposal for the DERA program please click here.
To download a Fleet Application, please click here (MS Excel Spreadsheet).
Fleet applications may be e-mailed to Matt Marcum (firstname.lastname@example.org) or mailed directly to the American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest, Attn: DERA Grant Program, 3000 Kelly Lane, Springfield, IL 62711. If you have any questions about the application process, please call 217.787.5864.
i Aspen Environmental Group, M. Cobed. (2011). Diesel Powers The U.S. Economy: Providin High Paying Jobs, Exports and Long Term Productivity Gains in the Nation's Fundamental Sectors. Frederick: Diesle Technology Forum
ii EPA. (2011, July 11). National Clean Diesel Campaign: Basic Information. Retrieved October 27, 2011, from epa.gov: http://epa.gov/cleandiesel/basicinfo.htm