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December 05, 2019   |   Allen Schaeffer

Press Release

Advanced Technology Diesel Engines Delivering Major Clean Air and Climate Benefits Today; Ready to Deliver Efficient, Clean and Renewable Power for Freight Transport in the Future

Comments to the United States House of Representatives Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Hearing “Where’s My Stuff? Examining the Economic, Environmental, and Societal Impacts of Freight Transportation”

December 5, 2019 (WASHINGTON) – In comments submitted today to the U.S. House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, the Diesel Technology Forum outlined the leading role played by diesel engines in global commerce across all sectors.  Thanks to a fundamental transformation in environmental performance, the Forum further outlined how the technology achieves levels of near zero emissions, and how it will continue to be a dominant technology in the future for moving freight.

“Our goods movement industry can’t move without diesel technology.  The fleet of trucks, trains, marine vessels and cargo handling equipment rely largely on diesel engines to move goods from factory floors, to warehouses and our doorsteps.  The latest generation diesel technologies are now far more efficient and fundamentally cleaner while the manufacture and maintenance of diesel engines, and the vehicles and equipment they power, are drivers of employment and economic growth,” said Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum (DTF).  DTF is a not-for-profit educational organization dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of diesel engines and the latest generations of advanced diesel technologies and fuels.

“Whether by land, sea, road or rail, diesel engines are the prime mover of the global economy, powering over 95 percent of all marine workboats and vessels, over 95 percent of heavy-duty commercial vehicles, 100 percent of freight rail, and a substantial percentage of supporting materials handling equipment.  Because of a unique combination of features, including the most energy efficient internal combustion engine, power density and performance in moving heavy loads, durability and reliability, global availability of fuels and servicing, diesel engines are the undisputed technology of choice for moving goods today.

“Over the last two decades, investments in the newest generation of advanced diesel engines and cleaner, low-sulfur diesel fuels have enabled our economy to expand, while also dramatically reducing emissions from highway freight transport.  In long-haul trucking, diesel technology dominates, powering 97 percent of Class 8 big-rig trucks in the United States.  New technology diesel engines, in everything from the smallest commercial trucks to railroad locomotives to the largest marine workboats, now achieve near-zero emissions performance.  Coupled with the ability to utilize a wide range of renewable low-carbon biodiesel fuels as well as suitability for hybridization and electrified components, diesel technology is ensured a key role in the future of moving goods.”   

As the Committee examines the economic, environmental and societal impacts of freight transport consider the following:

There are significant opportunities for rapidly reducing emissions of criteria pollutants (nitrogen oxides and particulate matter) through strategies to accelerate the turnover from older technology to new technology, particularly in the marine, rail and trucking sectors.  For example, replacing a single older marine workboat engine in the ports of Houston, Baltimore or New York can reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides by 30 tons of NOx per year, an amount equivalent to removing over 26,000 cars for a year.

While new fuels and technologies for freight movement are emerging, diesel engines, particularly in the largest trucks, are expected to continue to dominate the sector well beyond the 2030 timeframe.  Truck and engine manufacturers are continuing now to reduce emissions from diesel engines.  Further progress for lower emissions is on the horizon, as truck and engine manufacturers are engaged with the U.S. EPA and the California Air Resources Board on the Clean Truck Initiative, developing tomorrow’s generation of diesel engines.

From coupling with hybrid-electric technology and battery-storage systems, to pushing thermal efficiency boundaries, to advanced waste-heat recovery systems, to utilizing high-quality advanced renewable biodiesel fuels, new-generation advanced diesel technology will continue to be a dominant technology for commercial trucking and other goods movement sectors and help achieve clean air and climate goals for a sustainable future.

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About The Diesel Technology Forum

The Diesel Technology Forum is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of diesel engines, fuel and technology. Forum members are leaders in clean diesel technology and represent the three key elements of the modern clean-diesel system: advanced engines, vehicles and equipment, cleaner diesel fuel and emissions-control systems. For more information, visit http://www.dieselforum.org.


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Allen Schaeffer
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