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January 09, 2018   |   Diesel Technology Forum

Policy Insider

Let's Get to Work: Clean Diesel Power Ready for Infrastructure Challenge

Clean diesel-powered trucks, trains and equipment are vital to complete must-do infrastructure projects and the latest clean diesel innovations will deliver projects on time and with the smallest environmental footprint for the communities in which they serve.

Infrastructure is the backbone of every nation’s economy. Bridges, tunnels, roads, highways, ports and airports, broadband, drinking and wastewater systems are the means for economies to connect, for personal mobility and delivery of vital goods and services. These systems require continued upkeep and investment, and a growing list of elected leaders are calling for an investment strategy to ensure that infrastructure remains top notch.

To build and maintain a world-class infrastructure requires powerful machines and equipment of which nearly all is powered by clean diesel technology. From the trucks and trains to deliver bulk materials to the construction equipment to complete projects, the latest innovations in clean diesel technology will help deliver projects on time while using less energy and generating near zero emissions.

U.S. infrastructure was once built to meet the rapid pace of technology at the time, and American architects and engineers did it with style. That infrastructure built generations ago has suffered from years of deferred maintenance and fails to keep up with the increasing pace of technological innovation.

Just this week, the 5th busiest airport in the U.S.- Kennedy Airport - suffered a massive water main break while runways and terminals could not keep up with the flow of international arrivals. When the facility was built in 1958, Kennedy airport was the wonder of the world, built for the jet age and with architectural flair.   

While the events at Kennedy airport captured news attention, deferred maintenance on other important pieces of infrastructure across the country suffer a similar fate. On the heels of a big legislative win on Capitol Hill, President Trump has signaled that he intends to work across the political divide to unite Democrats and Republicans with a big national infrastructure spending package to make U.S. infrastructure the envy of the world…again.

Essential to all of this work is clean diesel technology that powers over 90 percent of the vehicles and heavy equipment necessary. A large fleet of trucks and trains to deliver steel, concrete, aggregate and other raw materials while hauling away debris. Completing public works projects will also require a fleet specialized construction equipment to dig, trench, pile, pave and perform an enormous variety of tasks.

The latest innovations in clean diesel technology couple advanced near-zero emissions to insure that projects impose the least emissions on the communities in which they operate along with next-generation productivity enhancing features to make sure that these projects are delivered on time. For example, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey required that diesel-powered construction equipment used in the massive Bayonne Bridge mega project be deployed with the latest near-zero fine particle emissions technology as construction work placed equipment inches from residential apartment windows. The latest technology is already deployed in the field to make the most of this equipment to deliver projects faster than anticipated and to keep America moving. Advanced telematics and even autonomous technologies are found in equipment to perform work more accurately and safely. One road contractor even uses a fleet of drones to accurately perform paving and lane striping work to complete a project in weeks when it may have taken a year.

As elected officials begin debate to make American infrastructure great again, clean diesel technology is ready and will be the means to produce and restore a world class infrastructure, doing so efficiently and with lower impacts on the environment.


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Ezra Finkin
Director, Policy

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