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February 03, 2020   |

Press Release

Newest-Generation Diesel Engines Help Passenger Vessels Reduce Emissions for Near-Port Communities

Large-engine upgrades to the newest-generation diesel technologies offer the fastest, most cost-effective path to cleaner air for ports and surrounding areas.

February 3, 2020 (Tampa, FL) – Upgrading and replacing the oldest, largest engines used in passenger vessels to the newest-generation advanced diesel technologies is one of the most effective ways to reduce emissions for operators and communities near ports, according to Ezra Finkin, director of policy and external outreach for the Diesel Technology Forum, who today addressed attendees of the Passenger Vessel Association Annual Convention at MariTrends in Tampa, Florida. 

“Ferries are a valuable asset to the North American Transportation system and moved 92 million people and 24 million cars in 2018. And 90 percent of these ferries are powered by diesel engines,” said Finkin citing data from the U.S. Department of Transportation. “Ports are home to a large population of diesel engines. From drayage trucks, to cranes, material handling equipment, locomotives and tugboats, diesel provides an unmatched combination of efficient operation, performance and reliability demanded by the global economy. And now the newest generation of diesel power is near-zero in emissions, nearly eliminating particulate matter (PM), or soot and oxides of nitrogen (NOx), a ground level ozone forming compound.”

The latest diesel innovations developed to meet the most recent stringent emissions standard required of off-road engines including marine engines,  “Tier 4” standards, are now widely available and achieve over 90 percent reductions in emissions of NOx and PM. “Repowering an older marine vessel including a passenger vessel with the latest diesel innovations can eliminate as much as 30 tons of NOx and 2,000 pounds of fine particle emissions per year, compared to older models,” said Finkin.  “This is equivalent to removing thousands of cars from the road.”

A variety of funding programs are available to help marine and passenger vessel owners replace older and higher emitting engines with new diesel options including the Diesel Emission Reduction Act program managed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and funding provided to the states through the Environmental Mitigation Trust. “Recent research by the Diesel Technology Forum and Environmental Defense Fund confirms that replacing these older marine engines are the most cost-effective projects to reduce emissions, delivering cleaner air to some of the nation’s most vulnerable communities in the shortest timeframe,” said Finkin. 

Diesel engines that power marine vessels are larger and also much longer lived. The average build year for a typical ferry was 1989, according to analysis by the Diesel Technology Forum of data published by the U.S. Department of Transportation. “The average ferry boat in operation today was constructed more than a decade before emission controls were required of their engines,” said Finkin. “While there are programs to help repower the oldest of these engines in service today, our research confirms that these marine engine repowers are among the most cost-effective, delivering significant clean air benefits to communities and commuters. We encourage vessel owners to consider availing themselves of these opportunities to help repower older engines with cleaner and more efficient options and we are here to help.”

Diesel engines are capable of operating on high quality advanced biofuels including biodiesel and renewable diesel fuel to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Passenger vessel fleets are incorporating these fuels to achieve large and low-cost greenhouse gas emissions. All ferryboats in operation in northern California’s Bay Area recently announced their switch to 100 percent renewable diesel fuel and reduced greenhouse gas emission by 22,000 tons. “These are immediate term greenhouse gas emission reductions that are equivalent to taking almost 5,000 cars off the road for a year and do not require any additional investments in new engines or fueling infrastructure on the part of vessel operators,” said Finkin. 

Leading Marine Propulsion System Manufacturers

Advanced Renewable Biofuels Producers

Advanced Technology Emissions Control Systems

Visit https://www.dieselforum.org/about-clean-diesel/port-and-marine and https://www.dieselforum.org/largeengineupgrades to learn how your community could gain substantial emissions performance improvements, greenhouse gas reductions and cost savings by using the latest-generation diesel technologies.

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About the Diesel Technology Forum

The Diesel Technology Forum is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness about the benefits and importance of diesel engines, fuels and technology. Forum members are leaders in clean diesel technology developing advanced engines and components, cleaner diesel and renewable fuels, and emissions-control systems. For more information, visit  www.dieselforum.org.


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