Diesel power provides approximately two-thirds of the energy used to run the machinery on America's farms. Diesel also operates most of the heavy equipment used in construction, including building and repairing our homes, our offices, and America's roads and infrastructure. You'll also find that diesel technology is the primary engine technology used in the mining industry today.
New 2011 Clean Diesel Technology for Farm and Construction Equipment: Tier 4 is Here
The march to clean diesel technology took another significant step in January 2011 with a new generation of technology making its debut in a wide range of equipment used in off-road applications like construction, forestry and farming.
Clean diesel technology is now the standard for all new technology, everything from new passenger cars and pick-up trucks to highway commercial trucks. The new generation of technology is another iteration of the clean diesel system: cleaner, ultra-low sulfur diesel fuels; advanced engine controls and combustion improvements coupled with emissions control technology (particulate traps and filters). Now, starting in 2011, this new generation of clean diesel technology for off-road engines and equipment known as Tier 4 will be making its way onto the construction and industrial jobsites and farm fields around the country. The equipment used in farming, mining and construction is uniquely qualified to do demanding work. No other power source shares diesel's reliability, durability and fuel-efficiency for these off-road applications.
Diesel engines power more than two-thirds of all farm equipment in the United States. Farm tractors, combines, irrigation pumps and other equipment are the workhorses in an industry vital to our national economy and quality of life. In addition, diesel engines are uniquely capable of doing demanding construction work - from lifting steel beams and digging foundations to drilling wells and trenches. Plus, America's mining sector relies heavily on diesel power to harness natural resources such as precious metals, iron, oil, gas and coal.
Implementation of the Tier 4 standards will come in two phases. The first phase begin in January 2011 and will virtually eliminate particulate matter emissions, while the second phase beginning in 2014 will similarly bring the nitrogen oxide emissions to near zero levels. In each case, the standards will be phased in based on engine size. A detailed chart of these emissions levels and their introduction dates is available here.
Leaders in clean diesel technology are using a range of approaches to meet these near zero emissions levels.
New Tier 4 Clean Diesel Technology for Off-Road Equipment -- FAQs
Five leading off-road equipment industry associations published a "frequently asked questions" (FAQ) report about Tier 4 technology - the next generation of clean diesel emissions standards established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the federal Clean Air Act. These standards apply to new diesel engines used in off-road equipment beginning in 2011.
The associations that collaborated with the Diesel Technology Forum on the Tier 4 report are:
• Associated Equipment Distributors (AED)
• Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM)
• American Rental Association (ARA)
• Farm Equipment Manufacturers Association (FEMA)
• North America Equipment Dealers Association (NAEDA)Chart Tractor
The Workhorse of Farms and Ranches
Diesel-powered equipment is a major part of the supply chain that moves crops from the farm to the dinner table. Nearly 90 percent of all agricultural trucks in the U.S. are diesel powered, and most all American railroad cars and marine vessels are powered by diesel.
The use of diesel generators and pumps for agricultural operations is critical in remote locations. This permits ranchers to perform critical tasks, and saves time and effort by increasing productivity.
Building America's Future
Today, roughly 850,000 diesel-powered vehicles nationwide are in use bringing supplies, materials and workers to and from U.S. construction sites. Earthmovers, bulldozers, bucket loaders, backhoes, cranes, pavers, excavators and motorgraders are all essential to building and expanding our economic infrastructure. For most of these machines, there is simply no substitute for diesel power.
The U.S. construction industry employs nearly six million people and contributes some $850 billion annually to the economy. This is due in no small part to the power and efficiency of diesel. Read about diesel's impact on the American economy.
Harnessing Our Natural Resources
Mining is critical to extracting and developing the raw materials that produce our nation's energy.
Overall, mining utilizes nearly $7 billion worth of diesel-powered equipment. Diesel-powered shovels and drills excavate and load natural resources into enormous mining trucks or onto conveyer belts that also operate on diesel fuel.
Clean Diesel Retrofits
Because diesel engines can last for decades, there are cleaner diesel technologies on the market now that can improve both the performance and the clean air benefits of off-road diesels.
Modernizing and upgrading off-road vehicles and equipment with cleaner engines, cleaner fuels and retrofit technology will significantly improve our nation's air quality. Farmers, mining companies and construction projects can see tremendous improvements with newer, more powerful and more efficient equipment. And communities nationwide are benefiting from improved air quality.
In August 2005, the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) was signed into law as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. DERA will provide federal funding to retrofit programs nationwide, including off-road vehicles for farming, mining and construction applications.
Other methods of reducing emissions include the use of ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD), as well as proper preventive maintenance programs such as training equipment operators in anti-idling practices and educating fleet managers about engine replacement.