The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Oct. 11 that it awarded $30 million for clean diesel projects across the country. The funding is part of the Diesel Emission Reduction Program (DERA) and State Clean Diesel Grant Program, which are intended to replace or retrofit old diesel-powered engines like those used by marine vessels, locomotives, trucks and buses.
"We are pleased EPA is supporting clean diesel projects with this important funding," said Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum. "DERA has been one of the most bipartisan and successful clean air programs in the past decade. The combination of new clean diesel technology and ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel has helped to reduce diesel emissions to near zero levels for new buses, trucks and off-road equipment. Now the older engines that continue to power our economy will also benefit from the upgraded engines and filters provided by DERA."
One of the reasons for the success of clean diesel programs is the support they receive from both political parties, Schaeffer said. “EPA has found that $1 in government investment returns $13 worth of health and environmental benefits to the American people,” he said.
However, according to Wikipedia, low-sulfur diesel has a lower energy content than standard diesel fuel, giving it a lower fuel economy and the manufacturing process requires a more costly grade of oil. Regardless, low-sulfur diesel allows lower emissions and adoption of such fuel has steadily increased in Europe over the past few years and now its use continues to spread in the U.S.
"There are an estimated 11 million existing older diesel engines and equipment that do not have the most recent clean diesel technology, which has reduced emissions by 97 percent. The U.S. needs a two-fold approach based on a solid economic plan that gets the nation's contractors and truckers to invest in the new generation of the cleanest and most fuel efficient diesel engines ever made,” Schaeffer said.