EPA offers $32 million for diesel emissions reduction

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) National Clean Diesel Funding Assistance Program is currently soliciting proposals nationwide for projects that achieve significant reductions in diesel emissions in terms of tons of pollution produced and diesel emissions exposure, particularly from fleets operating in areas designated by the EPA Administrator as poor air quality areas. A total of $32 million is available

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) National Clean Diesel Funding Assistance Program is currently soliciting proposals nationwide for projects that achieve significant reductions in diesel emissions in terms of tons of pollution produced and diesel emissions exposure, particularly from fleets operating in areas designated by the EPA Administrator as poor air quality areas. A total of $32 million is available.

The Request for Proposals (RFP) will close on January 13. Eligible diesel emission reduction solutions include: verified emission control technologies such as retrofit devices, cleaner fuels, and engine upgrades, verified idle reduction technologies, verified aerodynamic technologies and low rolling resistance tires, certified engine repowers, and/or vehicle or equipment replacement.

Eligible diesel vehicles, engines and equipment include: buses, medium-duty or heavy-duty trucks, marine engines, locomotives and non-road engines, equipment or vehicles used in construction, handling of cargo (including at a port or airport), agriculture, mining or energy production (including stationary generators and pumps).

According to the RFP, the Agency will fund a wide variety of equipment and technologies, at various levels, including:

  • Verified Exhaust Controls: Up to 100% of the cost of eligible exhaust controls.
  • Engine Upgrades: Up to 75% of the cost of eligible engine upgrades.
  • Verified/Certified Cleaner Fuel Use: The cost differential between the eligible cleaner fuels and conventional diesel fuels.
  • Verified Idle Reduction Technologies: EPA will fund 50% to 100% of the cost of an eligible, verified idle reduction technology, depending on the combination of technologies chosen.
  • Verified Aerodynamic Technologies and Low Rolling Resistance Tires: EPA will not fund stand-alone aerodynamic technologies or low rolling resistance tires. EPA will fund 50% to 100% of the cost of verified aerodynamic technologies or verified low rolling resistance tires, depending on the combination of technologies chosen.
  • Certified Engine Repower: Up to 75% of the cost (labor and equipment) of an eligible engine repower.
  • Highway diesel vehicles and equipment - EPA will fund the incremental cost of a newer, cleaner vehicle or piece of equipment powered by a 2010 or newer model year certified highway heavy-duty diesel engine, up to 25% of the cost of an eligible replacement vehicle or piece of equipment, except for drayage vehicles, in which case it will fund up to 50% of the cost of eligible drayage trucks that meet EPA’s 2007 or newer emissions levels for heavy-duty highway vehicles. There is also funding for non-road vehicles and equipment.

No funds awarded under this RFP can be used to help cover the costs of emissions reductions that are mandated under Federal, State, Tribal or local law.

As is generally the case, funding will be provided through various public and non-profit agencies rather than directly to fleets or other private businesses. According to the RFP, eligible entities include regional, State, local or tribal agencies (or intertribal consortia) or port authorities with jurisdiction over transportation or air quality, and nonprofit organizations or institutions that represent or provide pollution reduction or educational services or have, as their principal purpose, the promotion of transportation or air quality.

If you decide to write your own grant applications, Terry Levinson, an environmental systems scientist for Argonne National Laboratory's Center for Transportation Research, Energy Systems Div., has reviewed many grant applications and offered some advice. “A lot of people just don't know how to write a grant,” she said. “You have got to answer the questions clearly without putting in a lot of superfluous information.

“If you don't feel comfortable with the process, by all means hire someone else who is,” Levinson said. “One cautionary note, however. If you use a professional grant writer, make sure they are creating a proposal that is unique to your operation and not just using the same language they use in all the applications they write. You want your application to stand out.”

Argonne National Laboratory publishes the monthly National Idling Reduction Network News, which is a source of information about current funding opportunities, as well as about idling regulations and legislation.

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