Clean diesel technology highlighted at global clean air event

The effectiveness and advancements in new diesel technology will play an essential role in international efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who was speaking at special event hosted by the Climate and Clean Air Coalition in Stockholm, Sweden, on June 3. 

“We know we cannot solve this crisis without the active cooperation and, indeed, the leadership of the private sector, particularly oil and gas companies, makers of diesel trucks, green tech companies that can help turn methane from landfills into clean energy,” Clinton said.

Because more than 90% of all global trade and an increasing number of automobiles are powered by diesel engines, advancements in clean diesel technology are gaining international attention, according to Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum.

“Secretary Clinton recognizes the leadership of the makers of diesel trucks and the private sector in her call for an international cooperative effort to reduce climate pollutants,” Schaeffer said. “The U.S. diesel engine manufacturers are continuing to build on their decades of research and progressive technological improvements which have resulted in new diesel engines that are near zero in emissions.”

Progressive improvements in diesel technology have reduced emissions from trucks and buses by more than 98%, Schaeffer said. In the last 10 years in the United States, emissions from heavy-duty diesel trucks and buses have been reduced by 99% for nitrogen oxides (NOx) — an ozone precursor — and 98% for particulate emissions, Critical to this progress has been the availability of ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) fuel which has reduced sulfur emissions by 97% – from 500 PM to 15 PM — enabling advanced emissions control devices, he added.

“As international leaders and coalitions seek consensus on actions to improve air quality and impact climate change in the near term, increased attention is being focused on existing and proven technologies like clean diesel that is fuel efficient and has near zero emissions,” Schaeffer said.

He pointed to new research that highlights how clean diesel technology has improved public health and is addressing climate change including:

  • In a special presentation on May 24, 2012, to the California Air Resource Board (ARB) in Sacramento, CA, leading international scientists noted a 50% reduction of black carbon in ambient air over the past 20 years due primarily to advancements in clean diesel technology. Mary Nichols, chairman of CARB stated: “It is encouraging to see that ARB’s diesel regulations, while designed to improve public health are also addressing climate change.”
  • In its March 2012 Report to Congress on Black Carbon (BC), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stated: “The United States will achieve substantial BC emissions reductions by 2030, largely due to controls on new mobile diesel engines.” The report also recognizes the challenges in reducing emissions from both mobile and stationary diesel engines in developing countries such as Asia, Latin America and Africa since they typically do not have ready access to cleaner low-sulfur fuels that are required for most advanced emissions control technologies.
  • A new study released on April 12, 2012, by the Health Effects Institute (HEI) provides important new insights on the advancements in clean diesel technology and ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel.  The peer-reviewed study was conducted to test the emissions and health effects of the new technology diesel engines and concluded: “Overall, these results showed few biologic effects related to diesel exhaust exposure.”
  • New research released April 23, 2012 from North Carolina State University — “Real-World Measurement and Evaluation of Heavy Duty Truck Duty Cycles, Fuels, and Emission Control Technologies” — shows that federal requirements governing diesel engines of new tractor trailer trucks have resulted in major cuts in emissions of particulate matter (PM) and nitrogen oxides (NOx). Trucks in compliance with newer standards showed a 98% decrease in NOx and 94% reduction in PM emissions.
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