Mid-Atlantic diesel users adopt new air quality strategies

By Agri-Pulse staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, May 12, 2016 - When it comes to tackling air quality concerns, a Mid-Atlantic coalition is making great progress. At least that's the assessment offered by Diesel Technology Forum Executive Director Allen Schaeffer during a recent speech.

Speaking to members of the Mid-Atlantic Diesel Collaborative in Pennsylvania last week, Schaeffer recognized the regional collaborative for its “innovative and successful approaches to improving air quality from existing vehicles and equipment.” The coalition is comprised of leaders from federal and state agencies, regional EPA offices, environmental groups, trucking fleets and engine and equipment makers.

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One example Schaeffer noted was how the region has established itself as a national leader in efforts to replace and upgrade drayage trucks.  These short-haul trucks move containerized cargo from the respective ports generally less than 50 miles to the next mode of transport - highway truck or rail.  Drayage truck replacement programs have been successfully implemented at the Port of Baltimore and most recently in Virginia with the assistance of the Environmental Finance Center at the University of Maryland.

Schaeffer said the Mid-Atlantic region is close to the national average for adoption of the newest technology clean diesel commercial trucks with near zero emissions of particulates and nitrogen oxide, a contributor to regional ozone levels. For example, since 2010 the fleet of clean diesel commercial vehicles on the road in Pennsylvania has eliminated 1.3 million tons of CO2 and 300,000 tons of nitrogen oxide, while saving 3.1 million barrels of crude oil, he said.

The additional air quality benefits that could result from greater adoption of trucks powered by a diesel engine that meets the 2010 model year emissions standard are significant, according to the Diesel Technology Forum. An additional 30,000 tons of nitrous oxide and almost 1 million tons of CO2 could be eliminated if just half of the commercial vehicles in use in Pennsylvania met the model year 2010 diesel standard.

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Schaeffer said that in the next decade diesel will remain the prime mover for the global economy and that new engines would be far more efficient and have lower greenhouse gas emissions. He predicts substantial gains in efficiency from construction and farming equipment in the future, thanks to aggressive implementation of smart and connected job-sites and machines using the latest generation of clean diesel engines. 

In the next decade, there will be an increase in the use of clean-burning biodiesel and renewable diesel fuels, said Schaeffer. He noted that cities such as San Francisco, Oakland and New York are currently using these renewable biodiesel fuels to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The Mid-Atlantic Collaborative includes Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.

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