Diesel as fuel is a dirty option. It emits, among other gases, nitrogen oxides, which are bad for the lungs and the ozone layer. Reducing pollution from this type of fuel is part of the action plan of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which has funded nearly 60,000 pieces of clean diesel technology through the National Clean Diesel Campaign. The campaign enables EPA to offer funding assistance to eligible entities on a competitive basis.
Leonardo Academy, an organization dedicated to promoting sustainability, is one of the latest beneficiaries of the program, having received a $1,600,000 Diesel Emission Reduction Act Grant. Projects funded with this grant help accelerate the deployment of proven technologies that will contribute to an overall cleaner air.
The award to Leonardo will impact as estimated 50 diesel engines in EPA Region 5, which corresponds to the Upper Midwest. The organization said it will partner with a variety of organizations, including trucking companies, public transit fleets, school bus operators, construction companies and airline ground fleets on a range of projects to reduce diesel emissions. Several fleets will replace outdated diesel trucks with new natural gas vehicles.
The remaining projects will use the grant funding to assist in the implementation of exhaust control technologies or engine repowers. To give the public an idea of the environmental benefit of such changes, Leonardo estimates they will reduce over 30 tons of nitrogen oxides, 1.3 tons of particulate matter, 1,000 tons of carbon dioxide, and 110,000 gallons of diesel fuel per year.
Diesel fumes are very toxic to the environment and to human health. A recent analysis of air samples taken from California’s San Joaquin Valley and an Oakland traffic tunnel showed diesel emissions are having a bigger impact than previously thought, according to this LA Times report. The study focused on second organic aerosol (SOA), a type of aerosol that has been altered chemically by exposure to other elements and which contributes to smog, besides heart and respiratory problems.
Diesel engines manufactured these days are cleaner than ever. Recent diesel-related regulations have focused on light- and heavy-duty highway vehicles, non-road diesel equipment, locomotive and marine engines, and large ocean-going vessels. However, because diesel engines can operate for 20 to 30 years, millions of older, dirtier diesel engines are still in use and need to be made cleaner or replaced.
Fleets or organizations interested in signing up for future funding opportunities should contact Leonardo Academy as soon as possible. They can contact Andrea Bachrach at (608) 280-0255 for further information.
Image credit: Leonardo Academy
Corporate Social Responsibility writer for Justmeans, Antonio Pasolini is a journalist based in Brazil who writes about alternative energy, green living and sustainability. He also edits Energyrefuge.com, a top web destination for news and comment on renewable energy and Elpis.org, a recycled paper bag/magazine distributed from health food stores in London, formerly his hometown for over a decade. He is also a happy herbivore.