Now, we know that climate change and automobiles are connected. That's not news. Still, the march and Summit let the Diesel Technology Forum take advantage of the moment to say that diesel vehicles can be a "key solution" in working to minimize climate change. We haven't heard anything specific from any of the major automakers tied in to the Summit, but that's par for the course. Still, there have been numerous announcements and reams of data issued this week. All important, of course, but sometimes doing all this reading about climate change just can't prepare you for seeing it in person.
"The climate is changing faster than our efforts to address it." – President Obama
Now, we've seen lots of activists in the streets before and we've seen world leaders and powerful organizations (like, say, the Pentagon) issue dire warnings and promise action, but there's something about the discussion regarding climate change this week that feels different than it has before. So, we ask again, it is just us, or did something just happen?
Introducing New Technology Engines, upgrading existing engines and expanding renewable Fuel-use help slash Greenhouse Gases
Washington, D.C. – As the United Nations Climate Summit 2014 convenes in New York, clean diesel technology is poised as a key solution to help the world tackle the climate challenge, said Allen Schaeffer, the Executive Director of the Diesel Technology Forum.
"Diesel power has long been the workhorse for economic progress and improving quality of life around the world," Schaeffer said. "Now, it is the new generation of more energy efficient clean diesel technology and the use of renewable low-carbon fuels that will ensure that diesel is a technology of choice for the sustainable future.
"In the past 15 years, major advancements in clean diesel technology and fuel have created near-zero emissions trucks, cars, machines and equipment that are more fuel efficient and are already yielding a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. and around the world.
"No technology can match the role of diesel engines and equipment today or in the future. More than 90 percent of the world's cargo today is moved by diesel-powered engines and more than two-thirds of all farm machines and construction equipment are powered by diesel. This is why the major transformation to clean diesel technology will have a significant global impact in a shorter timeframe in reducing greenhouse gas emissions," said Schaeffer.
As examples, Schaeffer said studies indicate:
The 2.9 million light duty new clean diesel cars and light trucks sold in the U.S. between 2007 and 2012 have saved 7.6 million tonnes of CO2 and 1.2 billion gallons of gasoline;
Clean diesel commercial trucks sold between 2007 and 2012 have already saved 560 million gallons of fuel and eliminated 5.7 million tonnes of CO2, which is equivalent to removing 105 coal-fired power plants for one year.
Proven Options for Reducing Particulate Emissions, Black Carbon from Existing Equipment
"While new clean diesel technology offers the greatest combined efficiency and emissions benefit, the population of existing diesel engines and equipment is a valuable asset. As a result, manufacturers have developed proven solutions in a growing number of applications that reduce particulate matter and other emissions through use of cleaner fuels coupled with the installation of retrofit particulate filters. Soot emissions, also known as black carbon, have been identified as a short-lived greenhouse gas emission," Schaeffer said.
Schaeffer said researchers had identified diesel as being responsible for about 25 percent of all black carbon sources, with the main global sources of black carbon being the open burning of biomass including residential burning of solid fuels such as coal, wood, dung (53.5 percent), industrial and coal use (7.2 percent) and other sources (14.5 percent).
"Thanks to the use of ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel, more efficient, clean diesel engines and more effective emissions control technologies, even though the U.S. contribution to black carbon (soot) emissions accounts for only 5 percent of the global total, diesel engines account for 90 percent of the transportation sector's inventory, which is 53 percent of the U.S. total inventory. The diesel portion is projected to decline by 70 percent by 2030, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency," Schaeffer said.
UN Environment Program Encourages Adoption on Clean Diesel Standards
"This power of reducing particulate (black carbon) emissions has not gone unnoticed by world leaders. This week in New York, the United Nations Environment Program is hard at work encouraging other countries to adopt clean diesel standards beginning with cleaner diesel fuels. To accomplish this on a global level, all nations must work for high-quality ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel and renewable diesel fuels. These are the foundation that enables the use of low-emissions technology like particulate trap upgrades to engines and equipment," Schaeffer said.
"Here in the U.S., the emission reduction benefits been realized the most in the fleet of heavy duty vehicles," Schaeffer said. "More than one-third of all medium and heavy duty commercial trucks registered in the United States today – 2.9 million of 8.8 million trucks - are deployed with these technologies that have saved at least 560 million gallons of fuel while reducing carbon emissions by 5.7 million tons and substantially reduced other emissions by hundreds of thousands of tons.
Black Carbon Reduction Decreases Global Warming
"One of the leading climate scientists who discovered the greenhouse gas effect, Prof. Veerabhadran Ramanathan, estimates that one ton of black carbon emissions reduction is worth anywhere from 1,000 to 2,000 tons of carbon dioxide. New technology diesel engines, on the road in the U.S. since 2007, nearly eliminate soot from diesel. It's important to note that the state of California has been a leader in encouraging the adoption of these clean diesel technologies. Prof. Ramanathan estimates that if the rest of the world followed California's lead in reducing black carbon, we could cool a warming planet by 2 degrees Celsius."
Today's clean diesel technology embraces key tenets of sustainability – energy efficiency and the use of renewable and low-carbon fuels – which together helps mitigate or reduce greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, Schaeffer said. Manufacturers of clean diesel engines and equipment have already made significant progress and have produced the most advanced diesel engines:
Smaller and more powerful – Advances in combustion science enable the downsizing of engines which produce more power. Smaller engines mean the use of less raw materials and energy for manufacturing and use.
More energy efficient – Diesel engine efficiency has exceeded 50 percent thermal efficiency thanks to advances in combustion science in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy and diesel engine manufacturers. In comparison, gasoline engine efficiency is approximately 25 percent. Customers of diesel engines demand consistent improvements in performance and energy efficiency outside of any government mandates.
Capable of Using the most advanced renewable, high-quality low-carbon biodiesel fuels – From biodiesel fuel produced from soybeans to fuel based on waste cooking oil, algae, gas-to-liquid or a myriad of other fuel types, the inherent energy efficiency of the diesel engine coupled with blends of renewable diesel fuels is a proven low-carbon choice available today.
Increasingly incorporating hybrid-drive – From transit buses to wheel loaders, clean diesel hybrid electric vehicles and equipment are increasingly in use around the world.
Read more about Climate Change, Black Carbon & Clean Diesel.
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, and working with policymakers and other stakeholders on common solutions. Forum members are leaders in clean diesel technology. For more information visit www.dieselforum.org.
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