World Environment Day: diesel states its case

World Environment Day: diesel states its case

Makers and suppliers of diesel engines, equipment and fuels embrace the global challenge of a cleaner environment by taking positive actions to use less energy and reduce emissions whilst also enabling the prosperity of peoples and countries around the world.

“In developed and developing countries alike, technologies, fuels and power sources must be able to meet people’s needs, today,” said executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum Allen Schaeffer. “These essential resources must be accessible, reliable, serviceable and durable, and – most of all – be able to the job that is needed to be done.

“Diesel happens to deliver on every single one of these counts, better than any other technology today. On top of these, diesel technologies also provide a solution to what is quickly becoming a new requirement: environmental and clean air progress. The many changes made to diesel engines over the past few decades ensure these technologies continue to offer even greater benefits for tomorrow.”

Diesel engines are the workhorses of the global economy, thanks to their unmatched combination of efficiency, reliability, power and performance. In every corner of the world, these engines make progress possible – whether it be the planting and harvesting of agricultural products, the movement of people and goods, the delivery of clean drinking water, or the support of vital public health infrastructure such as wastewater treatment or continuous electricity.

Substantial progress has been made on today’s new diesel engines now in operation in the United States and Europe. These new-generation engines virtually eliminate emissions, relying on a combination of advanced engine technologies, emissions control systems and cleaner fuels. Today’s heavy-duty diesel engines in the United States and Europe are over 98 per cent lower in emissions of particulates (PM 2.5) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions, down to near-zero levels. In the United States alone, the societal benefits for using new-technology diesel engines now tallies as 26 million tons of NOx reduced and nearly 60 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) between 2011 and 2017.

A pillar of this global clean air progress is cleaner fuels, like ultra-low-sulphur diesel fuel (ULSD), biodiesel or renewable diesel fuel. As prescribed in the Worldwide Fuel Charter, established in 2013, more nations adopting cleaner diesel fuels will accelerate the benefits. Today, 32 per cent of the world, or 69 countries – both developed and developing – are using cleaner diesel fuel.

India is the latest global economy to make the transition to advanced, near-zero emissions diesel engines: the country is slated to transition to Bharat Stage VI engine emissions standards in 2020. The availability of high quality ultra-low sulphur diesel fuel is an essential aspect to success.

“Our experience here in the United States, now nearly 13 years ago, proved that governments, oil suppliers, engine and equipment manufacturers, and users can work successfully to ensure a smooth transition to cleaner, ultra-low sulphur diesel fuels that enable near-zero emissions from new clean diesel engines and equipment,” said Schaeffer. “Accelerating the turnover to the newest generation of cleaner engines and fuels is paramount to achieving progress to improve air quality, in India and other parts of the world.”

A key area of growing interest is the opportunity and additional benefits for diesel engines – both existing and new – to utilise a wide array of high-quality renewable biodiesel fuels. Made from sustainable feedstocks and a diverse array of waste streams, biodiesel fuels are another option for developed and developing countries.

“In the United States, success with these fuels is being seen in both urban settings and entire regions,” said Mr Schaeffer. “Using these renewable fuels, countries can make immediate progress toward achieving carbon reductions, while still utilising existing technologies and existing infrastructures. For example: in California, the largest reductions in CO2 emissions have come from the use of renewable diesel fuel rather than from electrification of the transportation fleet.”

The Diesel Technology Forum shares and supports several of the principles outlined by the Climate and Clean Air Coalition:

  • Expand and accelerate the global uptake of world-class standards in countries and trade blocs.
  • Accelerate fleet turnover to remove vehicles and equipment with older technology and retrofit/replacement/scrappage programs.

Companies that manufacture advanced clean diesel engines, equipment and vehicles are also developing a range of alternative fuels and technologies like electrification, hybridisation, fuel cells and more for their customers.

“The diverse demands of the global population are clearly not a one-size fits all solution, which is why diesel engines will continue to play a dominant role in key sectors of the global economy,” said Schaeffer.



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