• Oct 19th 2010 at 11:56AM
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The U.S., like many other countries across the globe, is pushing for additional legislation aimed at reducing emissions and increasing fuel economy. Some standards take effect in 2016 and stricter regulations may follow soon after. While automakers focus on solving the problem through advanced technologies, a recent study by Hart Energy Consulting suggests that diesel fuel will play a significant role as a future energy source for automobiles.
The Hart report notes that demand for diesel has outpaced gasoline in most developing countries, for good reason. Diesel offers environmental improvements over gasoline, but unlike some other advanced automotive technologies, diesel's supporting infrastructure is already in place. The study suggests that demand for diesel in the U.S. could rise nearly two percent per year for the next decade or more. The increased demand will be driven by upcoming fuel economy regulations and by buyers crying out for more efficient vehicles. The report also claims that new emissions standards, which require modifications to all diesel-fueled vehicles, will make new oil burners 98 percent cleaner than road-going models fitted with outdated 2000-era technology.

The Hart report sums up the advantages of diesel this way:
Because of diesel fuel's unique attributes - its energy density, low-sulfur content, widespread availability and compatibility with biofuels - it is easy to recognize diesel's emergence as a leading fuel of the future. With superior fuel economy of up to 35 percent above gasoline vehicles, diesel provides a strong option for meeting efficiency requirements while maintaining performance and power.
If you glance at our recent reviews of diesel-fueled vehicles, you'll see that oil burners have advanced to the point of which we often recommend them over many a hybrid. Hit the jump for more from Hart's energy report.

[Source: Hart Energy | Image: respres – C.C. License 2.0]


Hart Energy Report Outlines Diesel's Role In New Green Economy

Diesel Fuel Poised to Play Expanded Role Meeting New Environmental & Energy Efficiency Requirements of Green Economy, According to New Hart Energy Report

"Because of diesel fuel's unique attributes - its energy density, low-sulfur content, widespread availability and compatibility with biofuels - it is easy to recognize diesel's emergence as a leading fuel of the future." - Hart Energy Consulting

WASHINGTON, DC - October 13, 2010: With the United States moving to implement stronger environmental and fuel economy standards and expand the use of renewable fuels, clean diesel fuel is "poised to take on an even greater role in the U.S. transportation market," according to a newly-released Hart Energy Consulting report.

"Diesel: Fueling the Future of a Green Economy" was released today by the Diesel Technology Forum in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Energy's 2010-2011 Winter Fuels Outlook Conference at the National Press Club. (To access the complete report go the DTF website.)

"While there has been a lot of speculation about the role of unproven energy technologies in the emerging green economy, this new analysis clearly highlights that clean diesel will play a vital role in the green economy both today and in the future generations of energy and transportation," said Allen Schaeffer, the executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum.

Diesel Market Growth Has Been International
"The growth in the diesel market has occurred throughout all regions of the world. Though not all areas have experienced substantial diesel penetration into the passenger vehicle market, growth in diesel demand has outpaced gasoline and other refined products in nearly all developing countries, including China. Diesel fuel is the workhorse of economies throughout the world. As global economies have expanded, so has the demand for diesel-fueled commercial transportation and industrial activities," according to the Hart report (p.7)

Diesel in the Clean Energy Spectrum
While there is much speculation on the transformation to energy sources like electric and natural gas vehicles, the report highlights diesel's significant role as both a current and future energy source.

"A search for secure, reliable energy supplies has led policy makers and industry to explore the use of new transportation fuels such as electricity and renewable fuels. Because of diesel fuel's unique attributes €" its energy density, low-sulfur content, widespread availability and compatibility with biofuels, it is easy to recognize diesel's emergence as a leading fuel of the future," according to the Hart report (p.5).

"Diesel offers energy and environmental improvement without the need for development of an infrastructure to support the advanced technology. Diesel's unique capability to utilize a range of renewable fuels and blends enhances its desirability under emerging renewable fuel requirements." (p.27)

New Fuel Economy & Climate Policy Initiatives to Increase Demand for Diesel
The Hart report states that diesel fuels has been the largest growth petroleum product, representing 20 percent of refined product demand, increasing at an annual rate of 2.8 percent for the past five years. Hart says U.S. diesel demand is expected to increase 1.7 to 2.0 percent per year over the next decade, driven largely by the heavy duty transportation sector and by pending fuel economy and climate policy initiatives that will increase diesel use among automobiles (p.27).

Also, the diesel industry is in the midst of implementing advanced engine and emissions control technology that will lower emissions from on-road vehicles and no-road machines and equipment by more than 98 percent compared to 2000-era technology, according to the report. With superior fuel economy of up to 35 percent above gasoline vehicles, diesel provides a strong option for meeting efficiency requirements while maintaining performance and power (p.27).

Refineries Increase Diesel Production; Gas Stations Expand Diesel Availability
In addition, Hart reports that the refining industry has made adjustments and plans additional investment designed to meet increased global and U.S. demand for diesel fuel. For example, two of the largest expansion projects in the history of the U.S. refining industry will incorporate capacity for maximizing diesel yield (p.28).

The report also highlighted another indicator of increased current and future diesel sales - the percentage of gas stations offering diesel fuel has increased from 35.4 percent in 1997 to 52.1 percent in 2007 (p.25)

Diesel Auto Sales Expected to Significantly Increase

In addition, the Hart report predicts sales of clean diesel automobiles in the United States to increase from just 2 percent in 2009 to 8.5 percent in 2020. The report notes that other independent projections forecast domestic diesel car sales to increase to 9 percent by 2013 (Ricardo) to 10-15 percent by 2015 (J.D. Power) (p.12-13).

"Fuel economy will be the primary factor in the future role for diesel in the U.S. light and medium duty vehicle markets," the report states. "Depending on the vehicle size and load, diesel engines typically achieve 20% to 35% better mileage than gasoline vehicles of comparable size and performance." (p.12)

"The significant growth in diesel car sales forecast for the United States has already occurred in other regions of the world," said DTF's Allen Schaeffer. "The Hart report highlights that in the European market diesel car sales have increased from 32.1 percent in 2000 to an astounding 53.3 percent in 2007. The new emission and higher mileage standards mandated by the federal government will increase the importance of diesel autos for American drivers."

About Hart Energy Consulting

Hart Energy Consulting is a division of Hart Energy Publishing, LP, one of the world's largest energy industry publishers, with a diverse array of informational products for the worldwide energy industry. Headquartered in Houston, with offices in New York, London, Washington, Brussels, Bahrain, and Singapore, Hart Energy Publishing's market-leading publications include Oil and Gas Investor, E&P, FUEL and PipeLine & Gas Technology.

About the Diesel Technology Forum

The Diesel Technology Forum is a non-profit national 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 www.dieselforum.org.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      Horrible. Diesel burns far dirtier than gasoline.

      Even if elaborate measures are employed to control its inherent filthiness, it is still petroleum.

      Thus, diesel:

      -fails to break petroleum's effective monopoly over transportation fuel;

      - fails to end OPEC's permanent control over the petroleum market;

      - fails to end OPEC's brutally regressive "tax" on the rest of the world, to the tune of around a trillion dollars annually;

      -and fails to end OPEC super-profits being spend on spreading extremism and funding terrorism.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Nobody ever mentions in these articles how this new generation of "clean diesels" will fare once their emission control equipment starts to age and fail. Will they go back to the heavily carcinogenic, high particulate emissions that diesels are so well known for now? Particulate diesel emissions are a major cause of cancer in urban areas (in some cases more so than even smoking). Same question for biodiesel. Does it still release highly carcinogenic particulates (that just happen to smell nicer)? Would love to see a serious article addressing these issues somewhere.

      Question #2: Diesels get high mpg since there is more energy per gallon in the fuel. Isn't a little misleading to promote them as more efficient if the fuel they are burning is more energy dense? Shouldn't we be looking at them as maybe miles per btu, per gallon of gasoline equivalent, or per kwh, or some other actual measure of the actual energy consumed per mile rather than the volume of some random liquid dino juice burned per mile? When you unquestionably repeat these claims from the automakers are you not really just passing on unquestioned propaganda? Maybe they really are more efficient, I just don't know because it never gets presented that way.

      Question #3: These posts are almost always presented as a gas-hybrid or diesel either-or choice. What about a diesel-hybrid? Wouldn't hybridizing a diesel give you just as much bang for your buck in improved economy (maybe more) than hybridizing a gasoline engine? What I would really love to see is a plug-in hybrid CNG but that's a whole new tangent.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yearly tests on diesel cars in the UK at least include checking their emissions, although the standards need tightening to analyse them more thoroughly.
        I doubt standards are any more lax elsewhere in Europe so makers are well aware that their diesels need to carry on having low emissions throughout their lifetimes, not just when new.

        A diesel hybrid need not cost $50k, although Peugeot is bringing them in at the top of their range.
        The 3008 diesel 2.0 TDi costs around $38k, with all the luxuries, and they reckon that the hybrid will cost perhaps $4k more. Don't forget that cars are more expensive in Europe anyway.
        As for the hybrid due in spring 2011:
        'If four wheel drive is really what you need, then 3008 customers will have to wait until 2011 when the range will get a Hybrid4 option. Basically a 2.0-litre 163bhp diesel engine will power the front wheels and when drive from the rear wheels is needed this will be supplied by a 37bhp electric motor. Around 74.3mpg is promised with CO2 emissions of just 99g/km.'


        It's a crossover vehicle, but AFAIK smaller than anything in the same sort of class in the US.
        • 4 Years Ago
        To answer question #1.
        No, biodiesel does not realease any particulates. Adding a 20% biodiesel content to petrol diesel will reduce particulates by 50%. If you would love to see a serious article, I would suggest you try looking. The American Lung Association has given biodiesel a positive endorsement.
        • 4 Years Ago
        We basically have to assume cars will get dirtier as they get older. Newer cars have sensors that light up the check-engine light when they detect a higher emission issue. It then becomes an issue of whether the operator heeds the light. And for the record, gasoline is as carcinogenic and much more flammable than diesel is.

        #2- All things being equal, it will take X amount of energy to get a VW Jetta down the road. The gas version will require X gallons, the diesel less, because diesel is more energy dense. I would call the diesel more efficient. Its fuel is more space efficient by packing more energy in less space. One could also consider its cost efficiency as well, as in the cost of the fuel per gallon or btu or whatever. Of course, you're free to split hairs however you'd like.

        I'd love a diesel hybrid! But, as I understand it, diesel engines cost more to manufacture than gasoline, and hybrid drivelines are expensive too. Add those two together and you're looking at a $50,000 Jetta. Sorta prices itself out of its target market... Bummer, but those are market forces for you.

        CNG, sure, but aren't you just replacing one non-renewable with another? Yes it burns cleaner, but you've got the same basic dirty, wilderness destroying extraction process with CNG as you do with petroleum, not to mention it is SIGNIFICANTLY more dangerous! Anytime you need to play with compressed gasses, its more dangerous (even inert compressed gasses). Diesel you can at least derive from waste plant materials (biomass gasification) and animal and vegetable oils, things we already have in abundance and constantly renew. The latest research is also showing the various bio-diesels are lower in emissions and carbon than petro-diesels. Today's infrastructure with tomorrow's emissions and self-reliance. (I think that's why the ethanol thing got so popular so quick, except the energy balance doesn't work so good.)

        Not saying there won't be issues (nothing's ever perfect), just seems to me that bio-diesels hold better overall sustainable promise than other fuels. My opinion.
        • 4 Years Ago
        related to #2 is diesel has more CO2 per gallon (an probably more other emissions per gallon too).
        • 4 Years Ago
        Q1: Well, gasoline isn't any better. Gasoline particulates are much smaller so the total mass of particulates is lower but not the amount. And it's the really fine particles that are most associated with things like cancer, stroke, heart disease, etc. At least the new EURO 5 regs will monitor diesel particulate number emissions, they haven't yet figured a standard on gasoline (harder to measure, also secondary aerosol issues) but should in the next few years. If the cars have to pass yearly checks the number monitoring will keep track of emission control degradation. But so far only in Europe.

        Q2: Higher energy density is only part of it, the other is that the diesel cycle is more efficient (greater expansion, lower intake losses). But if you're going to be picky about energy you should consider full well-to-wheel efficiency. Diesel is more efficient well to tank (requires less crude as it is easier to refine) as well as tank to wheel.

        Q3: Yes it would. They keep saying it's too expensive, but they said that about gasoline hybrid as well.

        A request to ABG: could you PLEASE stop calling it "clean diesel"? It's a fossil fuel! It is a better option than gasoline but it is NOT clean!
        • 4 Years Ago
        It saddens me that there is still so many misunderstandings


        Diesel contains at MOST 15% more energy per unit volume (gallon).

        That DOES NOT account for the 35% increase in fuel economy (MPG).

        The efficiency of the diesel engine is simply higher than that of a gasoline engine. And there are several factors that attribute to this. Compression ignition vs. spark... higher compression ratio... direct injection... leaner air fuel ratio at load... turbocharged with a high psi... etc..
        • 4 Years Ago
        When I went to Spain 30 years ago I wondered why every city there smelled "funny".

        A few years later I realized it was the difference in smell between a gasoline majority society and a diesel majority society.

        I'm not sure Americans would get used to the smell.
        • 4 Years Ago

        You can't compare diesel 30 years ago to today. Stand behind a new diesel these dayas and most likely you'll never smell anything. The black cloud you used to see is also gone. Stand next to an idling BMW 335d and you might not even recognize it's a diesel engine from the sound. They've just gotten that much better.
      • 4 Years Ago
      So in other words, they're finally gonna put emissions controls on big rigs and public transit.

      Boy, we're spoiled!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Clean diesel? isn't that an oxymoron?
      • 4 Years Ago
      For the record, Biodiesel does have a positive effect on both PM (soot) and CO2 but unfortunately has a NOx spike (cause of acid rain and smog).... Need 2nd generation biodiesels ( or also known as BTL biomass to liquid) which is the future but governments and oil companies will not invest due to high start up costs..
      • 4 Years Ago
      clean fuel?

      arrrrhhhhhhhhhhhhhh sigh
      • 4 Years Ago
      Diesel is not lower sulfur than gas. It's low sulfur if you either start from low sulfur feedstock or if you remove it. This is exactly the same as gas.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Part of diesel's apparent efficiency is from the increased amount of carbon. The rest is from more efficient combustion especially for common rail mills (albeit with particulate and NOx issues) and the particularly sweet ability to turbocharge them without worrying about timing the spark.

      The problem,as always, is cost. They cost more. You can, stop start them fairly cheaply and this is coming to be the norm outside of North America (outside because the EPA standards have not been updated to reflect real use patterns - and as a result this type of system that saves about 10-15% on city emissions would not change the EPA number).

      You can hybridize them, one would think to even better economy (particularly in the city where this would be particularly attractive) but that is yet another price hike, and the marginal gain in litres of fuel used will not be as great as the diesel will be using less to begin with. You need EU type fuel stock pricing (ie taxes) to even start the manufacturers to producing such
      • 4 Years Ago
      Diesel can be made reasonably clean. But people are going overboard about its efficiency. They charge more for diesel so even if it is more efficient per gallon, it is probably no longer more efficient per dollar. And adding lots more diesel vehicles will make the situation worse as more vehicles compete for less diesel.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I appreciate these comments. From http://www.rosesandgifts.com
      • 4 Years Ago
      I would be buying a Diesel right now if i was in need of replacing my current rice/corn rocket.
      • 4 Years Ago
      The comment "Particulate diesel emissions are a major cause of cancer in urban areas (in some cases more so than even smoking)."

      I would like to see the data on this one.

      The underground mining industry only allows diesels underground mines; trucks, loaders up to 760 hp. The industry in Australia has been using them for 40 years now and there is no evidence of harm to health, lung cancer ETC. Modern diesels have about 20 times lower levels of CO and Nox than engines from even 10 years ago.

      Diesel may not be the future but it is the right answer at the moment. Anyone who has driven a modern diesel will understand. IE BMW 2.0 liter diesel, twin turbo, 200 hp and 400 nm of torque.
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