Diesel Industry Touts New Clean Diesel Engines

by | Jan 4, 2007

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With new clean diesel heavy- duty engines set to roll off of assembly lines nationwide this year, the Diesel Technology Forum – a partner of the Clean Diesel Fuel Alliance – says it has met the technological and regulatory challenges of manufacturing trucks that produce up to 90 percent fewer emissions than the previous generation of diesels.

“This new year signals the arrival of a new generation of clean diesel trucks that will fundamentally change the way people think about diesel engine technology in this country,” said Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum. “New clean diesel trucks sold beginning in 2007 will produce 90 percent fewer emissions of particles and significantly lower emissions of nitrogen oxide than trucks built in 2006. The exhaust from these trucks is so clean they even pass the ‘white handkerchief test,’ and more importantly, they will play a key role in helping states and communities around the country meet more stringent clean air goals.”

According to the Forum, clean diesel will ultimately bring emissions reductions across a range of applications, including:

Trucks and Buses – New trucks and buses will be the first class of equipment to benefit from clean diesel.  While 2006 trucks or buses already produced only one-eighth the tailpipe exhaust compared to those built in 1990, new vehicles will be even cleaner.  It will take 60 trucks built in 2007 to equal the soot emissions of one truck sold in 1988, according to the Forum. The EPA predicts that these new trucks will reduce emissions of smog-forming gases by 2.6 million tons each year and cut soot emissions by 110,000 tons annually once they fully replace the existing fleet.

Increased Demand For New Fuel – The roll-out of these new cleaner engines follows the October 2006 introduction of ULSD fuel, containing only 15 ppm sulfur content, compared to 500 ppm for the old fuel, for a 97 percent reduction in sulfur.  Clean diesel fuel is critically important because sulfur tends to hamper the effectiveness of diesel exhaust-control devices, much the way lead once obstructed the catalytic converters on gasoline cars.

Passenger Vehicles – Clean diesel technology, designed to deliver 20-40 percent greater fuel economy, also can be found in several new diesel cars, trucks and SUVs, the market for which is expected to expand in the next several model years, according to auto industry forecasting.

Construction Equipment – Since 1996, when EPA first issued emissions regulations for off-road equipment, industry has made dramatic progress.  For some categories of equipment, such as backhoes and excavators, emissions levels have already been reduced by more than 80 percent.  Off-road machines and equipment will also move toward adoption of clean diesel fuel and technology starting June 1, 2007 with the use of low-sulfur diesel required for off-road machines.

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