Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum, issued the following statement regarding the Environmental Protection Agency’s new “Report to Congress on Black Report”:

“While there may still be some debate about the role of black carbon on the earth’s climate, this report assures that there is no doubt about the benefits and importance of clean diesel technology in reducing black carbon emissions in the U.S.  Thanks to the switch to ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel coupled with advances in diesel engine design and emissions control technology, fine particulate emissions have been virtually eliminated from new diesel vehicles and equipment in the U.S.

“Today diesel engines are responsible for less than six percent of all particulate emissions in the U.S.

In the past decade, emissions from heavy-duty diesel trucks and buses have been reduced by 99 percent for nitrogen oxides (NOx) - an ozone precursor - and 98 percent for particulate emissions which include black carbon.  Today, clean diesel technology with near zero emissions is standard equipment in nearly all off‐road diesel vehicles and equipment such as construction equipment, agricultural vehicles, stationary generators, locomotives and marine vehicles.

“Not only are the clean diesel engines near zero emissions, they are also achieving important gains in fuel efficiency of anywhere from two to 10 percent, bringing valuable savings to owners and operators of new clean diesel engines.

“According to the report, the U.S. currently accounts for about eight percent of the global black carbon emissions, with 52 percent of that coming from mobile sources, and 93 percent of the mobile sources attributed to diesel engines.  On top of the 32 percent reduction from 1990-2005, EPA projects this percentage will decline by 86 percent by 2030 ‘largely due to controls on new mobile diesel engines’.  As clean diesel technology continues to advance, these improvements may be even more significant.

“This report also highlights the far greater role of other sources of black carbon in developing countries such as Asia, Latin America and Africa, where residential cooking and biomass burning are the primary sources of black carbon.  It also recognizes the challenges in reducing emissions from both mobile and stationary diesel engines in these developing countries since they typically do not have ready access to cleaner low sulfur fuels that are required for most advanced emissions control technologies. 

“Beyond the new technology advancements in reducing particulate emission, the opportunities for modernizing and upgrading existing diesel engines and equipment are also highlighted in the report.  We are continuing to work with national environmental and health organizations to increase funding for the highly-successful voluntary and incentive-based Diesel Emissions Reduction Act, which is helping to modernize and upgrade older diesel engines in school and transit buses, commercial trucks, construction and agricultural equipment, and marine vessels.”