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September 13, 2018   |   Transport Topics


Continued Testing, Cleaner Fuel Proposed for Diesel Engines

Diesel fuel still has a large role to play in achieving greater emissions reductions in heavy-duty trucks, experts said during a recent conference in San Francisco. Separately, they urged more in-use testing of engines to verify the gains, and increased use of renewable diesel, which is chemically similar to petroleum diesel, but cleaner.

While more progress is needed, the trucking industry has come a long way over the past 30 years, one industry executive said. He noted it would take 60 trucks with 2010 engines — which were the first to drastically slash discharges of particulate matter and nitrogen oxide — to equal the emissions of one truck from 1988.

“I think that is a good story,” said Tim Blubaugh, executive vice president of the Truck & Engine Manufacturers Association (EMA).

“But maybe the flip side is that diesel engines are very durable. They are purchased for their long life, and because of that, currently about only 36% of the trucks on the road have the 2010 or newer emissions [reduction technologies],” he said

Blubaugh made his comments during an online presentation hosted Sept. 11 by the Diesel Technology Forum during the Global Action Climate Summit.

Another expert said renewable diesel could help reduce emissions even on pre-2010 engines.

“It is diesel fuel. It is certified as [ultra low-sulfur diesel] as well as CARB-certified diesel. But it is produced not from fossil crude oil, rather 100% renewable and sustainable raw materials,” said Dayne Delahoussaye, head of North American Public Affairs at Neste — the world’s largest producer of renewable diesel refined from waste and residues.

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