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November 02, 2020   |  


Greener Fuels on the Way to Zero Emissions

Not a week goes by, it seems, without another announcement related to zero-emissions commercial vehicles, whether battery-electric or fuel-cell electric technology. It’s an exciting time, to be sure. But for heavy-duty trucks, advocates of clean diesel engines and renewable fuels believe there’s still a place for these technologies, which are getting “greener” all the time and more cost-effective than electric vehicles, at least at this point in their development.

Clean Diesel Proves Itself at the Ports
The Diesel Technology Forum points to the Clean Trucks Program at the Port of Long Beach as an example. In 2019, trucks serving the POLB accounted for just 7 tons of fine particle (PM 2.5) emissions, down from 186 tons in 2005.

“This 97% reduction in emissions is largely due to the introduction of new technology diesel trucks even as cargo volumes in the port have expanded by 14%,” said a DTF press release. “In 2005, trucks were the second leading source of all PM 2.5 emissions after ocean going vessels. In 2019, port trucks were the second smallest source of PM 2.5 emissions after cargo-handling equipment.”

The Clean Trucks Program at the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles requires that all trucks meet the latest tailpipe emissions standard for PM 2.5, and new trucks entering service in the port as of 2018 must meet near-zero tailpipe emissions standard for ozone-forming compounds (NOx) as well. According to the latest data, 90% of the estimated 14,000 port trucks entering and exiting marine terminals in southern California are powered by diesel. About 65% are of the latest-generation diesel technology that achieve near-zero emissions performance for both NOx and PM 2.5. The remaining 10% are primarily natural gas-powered vehicles, many now running on near-zero engines with renewable natural gas.

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