The future of diesel is very bright. Diesel power is the most efficient means we have today for transporting goods, and the cost to us all would simply be too great to move away from it now. What’s more, there is plenty of diesel fuel available and plenty of crude with which to make diesel, even in these challenging times.
Clean air, however, is the overriding and compelling issue now and for the future. As we better understand the health effects of pollution it will become an even more urgent concern. Once mothers start truly relating their children’s asthma attacks to air quality problems, for instance, there will be huge pressures brought to bear on society in general and industry in particular to eliminate toxic emissions from all sources.
There has already been enormous progress made in reducing emissions from diesel engines, largely through modifications to the engines themselves. Even these quantum leaps forward, however, are still not enough.
We have to do more, but we have moved beyond the era where one size fits all—where we can add a filter or re-time engines in a way that will meet every need. Tomorrow’s solutions will be tailored to fit the clean air requirements of a particular region, the nature of the fleet operation, and the characteristics of the vehicles involved.
These customized responses will require a holistic approach and a collaborative effort, a marriage of the strengths of engineering and chemistry. Together, we will provide “layered” answers to emissions problems, beginning with combustion modification technologies to keep toxic emissions from forming in the first place and moving on through aftertreatment options for cleaning up vehicle exhaust. New alliances and new levels of cooperation between fuel suppliers, additive suppliers, engine manufacturers, aftertreatment suppliers and truck OEMs will be a by-product of this initiative—even when it means sacrificing some control and sharing some formerly proprietary knowledge in order to achieve the common goal for the common good.
State and federal agencies will also play an important role. In California and Texas, for example, we have already been granted tax relief for our PuriNOx technology, which permits our blender partners to combine the additive package with regular diesel fuel and 20% water to create a fuel that reduces NOx emissions from compression ignition engines by up to 30% and particulate matter by up to 50%.
By removing the tax on the water portion of the fuel, these states brought the equivalent of a 3¢ per gallon retail price savings to fleets in California and a 4¢ per gallon savings to customers in Texas. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has also verified the PuriNOx technology and has made millions of dollars in grant money available directly to Lubrizol and to qualifying fleets (through various programs) to encourage companies to implement clean air solutions.
Our vision statement at Lubrizol is: “Fluid technologies for a better world.” Working to help make sure there will be clean air for people to breathe is one way to realize that goal.