Eliminating Transport Emissions – An Industry Priority

Over the past 15 years, government emissions standards have become increasingly stringent as part of a national effort to reduce pollution and improve air quality. This has led to some challenging innovations in the world of transportation technology. Vehicle manufacturers have responded to these new regulations by improving fuel efficiency and developing increasingly sophisticated engine systems to reduce emissions such as diesel-particulate filters, or DPFs.

Fuel companies are also involved, as they’ve been working to produce increasingly cleaner-burning fuel. One example is ultra-low sulfur diesel, or ULSD, which burns approximately 90 percent cleaner than its predecessor.

The transport industry has also been active in adjusting to meet new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines, and as a result today’s trucks are cleaner and quieter than ever before. As we take a look at what’s on the horizon, here are some of the challenges that we currently need to address when it comes to transport emissions:

Reducing Emissions for Stop-And-Go Trucks

Every engine is slightly different, but when it comes to emissions it’s not so much the type of truck as the type of hauling that makes a difference. Modern truck engines have built-in filtration systems (DPFs) that capture the particles that remain from incomplete combustion. These particles can then be incinerated and contained in the DPF, leading to cleaner emissions. These systems are most efficient when the trucks have been running for a longer period of time within the optimum RPM range (“sweet spot”), and can reach normal operating temperatures. This process is therefore more efficient during longer-haul trips rather than trips that require frequent starting and stopping. Trucks spending less time with their engines running in high-efficiency mode tend to have more performance issues and require more care to remain in prime performance range.

One challenge for the transport industry will be to find a way to replicate the efficiency of this technology for the trucks making shorter-haul trips and requiring more frequent stops.

Staying Ahead Of The Pack With Cutting-Edge Technology

There are always some growing pains when new technology hits the market. These innovations require a whole new way of doing things. DPFs are a great example of this: in order to work effectively, these systems are designed to be very sensitive to the engine’s output, but unfortunately that sensitivity can be a double-edged sword. It means that these components often require special maintenance and involve more complex solutions when things go wrong. This makes maintaining them a constant challenge. Still, it’s a relatively small price to pay for equipment at the forefront of trucking technology—and for the environment.

Experts credit the ongoing partnership between the trucking industry, truck manufacturers, advocacy groups and the EPA for the success we’ve had in reducing emissions and pollution without sacrificing the power and performance at the heart of trucking. The industry has come a long way in the past decade and a half, and while we still have some work to do, there’s no doubt that our progress to date gives us reason to be optimistic about a cleaner, greener future.

Resources:
  • http://fleetowner.com/regulations/long-journey-clean-truck-0201
  • http://fleetowner.com/regulations/long-journey-clean-truck-0201
  • http://fleetowner.com/regulations/long-journey-clean-truck-0201
  • http://www.epa.gov/oms/highway-diesel/regs/420f06064.pdf
  • http://www.epa.gov/oms/highway-diesel/
  • http://fleetowner.com/regulations/long-journey-clean-truck-0201

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Dave Bardwell

Dave Bardwell

As the Maintenance Operations Supervisor at Wadhams Enterprises, Dave develops programs for monitoring financial results, training technicians, enforcing safety programs, maintaining standards of service, and developing a parts and material procurement program. He is responsible for multiple company-owned heavy duty vehicle service facilities.