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Home > Feature Articles > Alternative Energy Solutions > Fuels & Renewable Energy

2008 will be a great year for DIESEL

California will see a whole new onslaught of diesel applications based on ultra-low-sulfur diesel and other innovations.

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Diesel is the fuel of choice for many business applications. However, particulate matter (PM) is coming under heavy regulation because it is being shown to cause health problems among children in particular. Here's an update on diesel for the coming year...and a couple examples of how niche markets are responding to diesel innovations.

Passenger Cars Welcome Bumper Crop of New Models in 2008

Allen Schaeffer, Executive Director of Diesel Technology Forum www.dieselforum.org reports that California will see a whole new onslaught of diesel passenger cars. BMW, Mercedes, Dodge, and Crysler. "Low-carbon fuels and climate change are driving near term solutions, and diesel is a technology undergoing a massive transformation. Taking sulfur out of diesel takes out some of the stink and makes diesel more efficient. Diesel provides the most energy efficient internal combustion engine today.

Cleaner diesel fuels with advanced particulate filters and new advanced engines, you can eliminate over 95% of the fine particles.

Biodiesel can also be part of the solution. A 2% or 5% blend with a quality source is becoming more readily available. Renewable fuels are biological products and they break down over time, so letting them set for a long time can be problematic.

Consumer Waste is Driven by Diesel Power in the Refuse Sector

The private and public delivery sectors that haul our residential waste from neighborhoods to landfills and recycling centers are exploring business models that incorporate cost savings with new technologies and cleaner, less expensive alternative fuels.

Industry sectors look to examples of fleet conversions far a wide -- such as how the United States Postal Service has served as an impressive model through their diversification of fuels and technologies.

The refuse market is primed to realize significant savings by using alternative fuels and new technologies. With more than 150,000 refuse trucks operating today, most of them are more than ten years old and running on diesel. Community and neighborhood groups are beginning to demand cleaner burning options for refuse trucks, school buses, moving vans, city buses...and delivery trucks.

With the upcoming 2010 EPA diesel standards as well as fluctuating oil prices many fleets are exploring new alternatives such as low-sulfur diesel and biodiesel.

  • California's legislative and regulatory actions include the CARB Diesel Risk Reduction, and the Global Warming Solutions Act (AB32).
  • The fleet owner cannot move faster than clean air technology is reasonably mature
  • Economics govern when technology can be rolled-out
  • The government’s schedule for the solid waste system to deliver emissions reductions is faster than normal turnover or the replacement schedule for the vehicles and equipment in use today
  • The current rates charged to the customer cannot alone support the migration to cleaner technology
The California Refuse Removal Council is made up mostly of family-operated solid waste collection companies and recycles with 100 member companies across the state.

The Clean Fleets Coalition is a policy advocacy group representing Heavy duty vehicle owners whose mission is to protect the environment through state air quality regulations that are economically and technologically feasible...and as rapidly as possible.

In California municipalities serve 11% of the state and private haulers server 89%. The total fleet is 12,000 heavy-duty diesels, about 1% of registered heavy-duty fleets in California.

"We see advanced combustion and exhaust after-treatment being the picture for 2007 and beyond," says Sean R. Edgar.

The big discussion today is about bringing together people, money, policy and technology.

The fuels of the future will have new standards for low carbon fuel. Efficiency and sustainability are key parameters for fuels.

The Moyer funds have dried up for many reductions because they are mandated for use only with surplus emissions avove and beyond regulations. Now the cost burden is entirely on the shoulders of the truck owners.

2008, 2009 models will be the new diesel engines with new consumer vehicles. Honda is bringing a diesel car to the US by 2009.

Hybrids seem to be "anointed" as good...but clean diesel can compete with hybrids in efficiency and clean results. The emissions challenge is being met.

Natural Gas Trash Trucks (NG)

Edgar estimates there are 1400 NGVs are in service, largely due to the Moyer funds. However, these early advances have slowed because the Moyer funds have dried up. Few of the private haulers who took early steps to convert to natural gas and qualify for Moyer funds report full cost recovery with the Moyer program.

Support for fleet conversion to natural gas will now come from the customer and the natural gas industry. The natural gas opportunity is huge because virtually every diesel engine used to deliver solid waste will be under a diesel emission reduction mandate by early 2008.

SOURCES:

Clean Fleets Coalition
Sean R. Edgar
916-739-1139
cleanfleets@edgarinc.org
Clean Fleets Coalition is a policy advocacy group focusing on heavy-duty motor vehicles in Sacramento and Washington, D.C.

Diesel Technology Forum
5291 Corporate Drive – Suite 102
Frederick, MD 21703
Phone: (301) 668-7230
Fax: (301) 668-7234
E-mail: dtf@dieselforum.org
www.dieselforum.org



Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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