The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has awarded $23.6 million to the South Coast Air Quality Management District for a zero-emissions transportation test program in California to develop commercial vehicle technologies that would reduce greenhouse gases, smog and petroleum usage in ports and rail yards along busy freight corridors.
According to CARB, the project will involve four vehicle and engine manufacturers testing emerging zero-emissions technology deployed on 43 harbor trucks. The participating Volvo Group project, under its Mack Trucks brand, will couple a clean diesel engine with plug-in electric and hybrid capabilities.
“The fact that an advanced diesel engine was selected for this zero-emissions demonstration project highlights the proven benefits of clean diesel technology and in helping California achieve its clean air and climate goals,” says Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum.
Schaeffer says that although clean diesel commercial vehicles in service across California are already contributing to air quality improvements, greenhouse-gas reductions and substantial fuel savings, these immediate environmental benefits for the state could be even higher with the increased use of clean diesel vehicles.
“While the latest clean diesel technologies demonstrate enormous benefits, California comes in almost dead last of all 50 states for adoption of the latest near-zero emissions technologies,” Schaeffer asserts. “Only 18 percent of California’s commercial vehicle fleet are equipped with a clean diesel engine that meets the most recent emissions standard established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This is lower than the national average of 26 percent.
“Enormous clean air, climate and fuel savings would be immediately available to California if it reached the national level of clean diesel technology adoption,” Schaeffer asserts. “This would immediately result in the elimination of an additional 35,000 tons of NOx emissions. Indiana has the highest percentage of clean diesel trucks with 46 percent, and if California were to match this level, an additional 95,000 tons of NOx could be immediately eliminated.
Schaeffer says that although demonstration projects are important in the progression toward cleaner air, greater adoption of the latest already available technologies will provide immediate term benefits to those communities most in need, such as high-traffic areas.