February 27, 2019 (WASHINGTON, D.C.) – The Diesel Technology Forum issued the following statement regarding a new report from the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) and the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) estimating health outcomes from transportation sources of emissions in urban areas around the globe.
From Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum:
There are legitimate questions with the many underlying and inter-related assumptions, models and numerous estimates that form the basis of the conclusions of the ICCT/CCAC report on air pollution-related health impacts of the transportation sector – particularly, the ability and precision to draw sharp and specific conclusions that isolate and assign specific health-impact outcomes to specific sectors, equipment and emissions types across multiple continents. The report includes no observational data, actual emissions measurements or vehicle testing results to validate its various assumptions.
Air always exists in a state of complex mixtures, influenced by many factors and sources including local meteorology, industrial sources, and of course transportation related sources, the focus of this report. At any given moment in time, the chemical and physical interaction of multi-pollutant mixtures from all sources, indoors and outdoors, coupled with meteorological conditions determine local and individual air quality environments; discrete emissions sources never exist in an individual state except in a controlled laboratory setting.
Aspects of this report affirm the obvious: that more developed economies account for larger portions of the global population, have higher levels of industrial activity and higher levels of emissions. It also recognizes the substantial role of diesel power in the global economy, and the substantial positive impacts of cleaner fuels and new generations of technology have had in those countries where it has been adopted and embraced.
Diesel is a technology of continuous improvement, with each generation lower in emissions than the previous generation.
Tremendous progress has been made in virtually eliminating criteria emissions and fine particulates from today’s generation of diesel engines across the board, from passenger vehicles to the largest commercial truck engines to the largest marine and rail engines. Modern diesel technologies of all kinds also deliver substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, while preserving their superior fuel efficiency and performance characteristics. Near-zero particulate matter (PM) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions performance is achieved thanks to the use active selective catalytic reduction (SCR) systems utilizing Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) as a catalyst and diesel particulate filters. With such technology, NOx emissions can be reduced by up to 90 percent while simultaneously reducing hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide emissions by 50 to 90 percent, and PM emissions by well over 90 percent.
We recognize the efforts of the ICCT and CCAC to urge developing countries to adopt cleaner fuel standards that are the foundation for more stringent tailpipe standards. Measures encouraging the introduction of new clean technologies benefit not only the local environment and public health but also local economies through gains in productivity and economic well-being and quality of life.
Requiring the use of ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel (ULSD) – fuel that contains a maximum sulfur content of 15 parts per million (ppm) or less – is a necessary element of improving air quality on a global scale. Use of ULSD fuel immediately cuts soot emissions from all diesel vehicles and equipment using it by 10 percent. According to ICCT, the world is making steady progress as more developing economies are adopting ULSD fuel standards. In just three years – by 2021 – ICCT anticipates that 81 percent of the global diesel fuel supply will be ULSD. This shift to cleaner diesel fuel is the foundation for being able to achieve the full emissions-reductions benefits of the emissions control systems now standard in most applications of advanced diesel technology.
The greatest benefits can be achieved through the introduction of new-technology diesel engines that achieve near-zero levels of emissions. These are the standard technology today in the United States and Europe.
The clean air benefits of these new-technology diesel engines are striking. According to the Diesel Technology Forum’s most recent analysis of 2017 U.S. heavy-duty vehicles in operation data provided by IHS Markit, the introduction of the newest generation of heavy-duty commercial vehicles in the United States that meet the near-zero fine particle emission standard established for model year 2007 have eliminated 1.5 million tonnes of particulate matter, an amount equivalent to the emissions from all light-duty vehicles in the United States for 13 years.
The Health Effects Institute (www.healtheffects.org) Advanced Collaborative Emissions Study (ACES) reports the effectiveness of diesel particulate filters in reducing particulate matter emissions as more than 90 percent and of selective catalytic reduction systems in reducing smog-forming nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by 94 percent. The study showed that the aftertreatment technologies used in modern diesel engines – technologies meeting U.S. 2007/2010, Euro VI/6, China 6, and Bharat Stage VI (India) standards – deliver dramatic improvements in emissions. Researchers noted that “the overall toxicity of exhaust from modern diesel engines is significantly decreased compared with the toxicity of emissions from traditional-technology diesel engines.”
Though not mentioned in the ICCT/CCAC report, the use of renewable biodiesel fuels can also contribute to reduction in emissions. Lifecycle analysis completed by Argonne National Laboratory found that emissions for 100 percent biodiesel (B100) are 74 percent lower than those from petroleum diesel. Recently, the California Air Resources Board reported similar values for its lifecycle analysis of biodiesel from various sources.
Upgrading and replacement programs for diesel engines – noted in the ICCT/CCAC report – are proven to have a beneficial impact in reducing mobile source emissions and related benefits. For example, since its inception, in the United States, the Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) has replaced over 73,000 engines, vehicles and equipment primarily with newer generations of clean diesel technology. For every $1 in grant funding provided, this federal program has delivered $13 in health benefits.
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For more on advanced diesel technology and how it contributes to air quality improvements around the globe, visit:
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.