Research conducted in the United States of America has illustrated the positive effect new engines are having on the environment.
The majority of New Zealand’s rolling stock is older than that currently used in the US and this could mean it is a long time before we see the benefits here. A statement released by the Diesel Technology Forum (a non-profit US organisation dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of diesel engines, fuel and technology) indicated the US$2.7 billion mitigation trust established through the settlement with Volkswagen would reduce excess emissions of oxides of nitrogen (NOx).
Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum, said the best opportunity for reducing excess emissions of NOx comes from the accelerated turnover of older transport equipment to newer technology clean diesel models. He said the newest generation tractor-trailer sized trucks have 95% fewer emissions of NOx compared with models built before 2010, while a 2014 model large construction machine – such as an excavator – yields a 99% reduction in NOx emissions relative to older equipment.
“A commercial Class 8 truck manufactured since 2010 typically traveling 125,000 miles per year would save 875 gallons [3312 litres] of fuel and reduce NOx emissions by 1.1 metric tonnes compared with older models. In addition to the proven clean air benefits, the new technology clean diesel engine would save the trucker US$2400 [NZ$3384] annually (at fuel prices of US$2.75 [NZ$3.88] per gallon), and result in 8.9 fewer metric tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.”
A study by the Martec Group for the Diesel Technology Forum found that in the US between 2011 and 2015, when compared with pre-2010 engines, new technology heavy-duty clean diesel engines powering commercial vehicles had removed approximately 7.5 million tonnes of NOx. The savings were equivalent to the NOx emissions from all light-duty vehicles generated over a two-year period. In addition, the CO 2 savings were equivalent to removing 6.1 million light-duty vehicles from the road for an entire year.
Schaeffer said in the US the rate of adoption of the newest technology clean diesel truck engines was progressing well, but ultimately depended on economic and business conditions. According to analysis based on IHS Automotive 2015 vehicles in operation data, December 2015, as of the end of 2015, about one-quarter of all commercial vehicles (GVW 3-8) on the road in the US are the newest generation (2011 model and newer) clean diesel technology vehicles. He said accelerating the turnover to the new technology clean diesel engines would result in substantial NOx reductions.
Schaeffer said the settlement also provides some portion of the mitigation funding for the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) programme for eligible projects that encourage the owners of older vehicles and equipment to purchase new or replace older engines with newer technology.
In the Environmental Protection Agency’s most recent report to Congress, it stated that the DERA programme has achieved NOx reductions of 335,000 tonnes since funding was appropriated in 2008.
“The diesel engine is the most energy efficient internal combustion engine,” said Schaeffer. “It is a proven technology and its unique combination of efficiency, power, reliability, performance, low-emissions and suitability for using renewable fuels ensures a place for diesel technology to help meet the demands of a global economy. Consumers will continue to find the new generation of clean diesel cars, trucks and SUVs a competitive choice to meet their personal transportation needs, and clean diesel technology is a key strategy to achieving current and future energy and climate goals.”
For more information and the latest insights and information from the leaders in clean diesel technology, www.dieselforum.org