The U.S. EPA Is Expected to Follow California Air Resources Board
As Natural Gas Again Provides the Cleanest Transportation Option,
Next-Generation Engines Are to Be Available for Vehicles in 2016
The California Air Resources Board has certified the 100% natural gas-fueled 8.9-liter ISL G engine by Cummins Westport for “near zero emission” of nitrogen oxides: just 0.02 grams per brake-horsepower – 90% cleaner than the existing NOx standard of 0.2 grams in effect since 2010.
The agency executive order was signed on September 10. Similar certification is expected from the U.S. EPA in the coming days, Cummins Westport said at NGVAmerica’s 2015 North American Natural Gas Vehicle Conference & Expo this week in Denver.
Next-generation ISL G engines will be available for use in such vehicles as garbage trucks and transit buses next year.
Effectively as Clean as Electric
CARB sees its near zero emission level as equivalent to a 100% battery truck using electricity from a modern combined cycle natural gas power plant.
In addition to the dramatic reduction in NOx, closed crankcase technology allows for 70% lower methane emissions from the ISL G – also now CARB-certified.
‘Near Zero’ ISX12 G and ISB6.7 B Engines Coming Too
Cummins Westport is working on similar reductions for its 11.9-liter ISX12 G natural gas engine, and for the 6.7-liter ISB6.7 G introduced earlier this year at ACT Expo 2015 in Dallas (F&F, May 5).
The new engines, especially when combined with the increased use of RNG/renewable natural gas – aka biomethane –make feasible California’s aggressive plans for pollution and greenhouse gas reduction:
- 50% petroleum displacement by 2030,
- the total elimination of toxic particulate matter from diesels, and
- a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050,
all achieved while driving economic development and job creation via in-state biofuel production and advancing the state’s transportation technology leadership.
“We will have access to the cleanest heavy duty truck technology on the planet in the next six to 36 months,” Gladstein, Neandross & Associates CEO Erik Neandross said in a presentation titled Game Changer at the NGVAmerica meeting yesterday.
“Advanced heavy duty NGVs and renewable natural gas may represent the cleanest heavy duty transportation technology available,” he said, “including heavy duty battery electric vehicles and fuel cell vehicles.”
‘Change the Dialogue’
“We need to change the dialogue and get back to selling the environmental benefits of NGVs,” Neandross said. “They are significant. They are important.”
Neandross made clear in Denver that despite Cummins Westport’s “near zero” achievement and the advent of large-volume RNG in California, GNA is not picking NGVs over other clean transportation options.
“It is important to note that we are not advocating one technology over another,” he told F&F. “We are not saying we should use NGVs and not EVs or FCVs.
All the New Transportation Technologies Must Succeed
“What we are recognizing is that in the heavy heavy-duty applications such as refuse and over-the-road trucking, in the foreseeable future, the combination of ultra-low NOx engine technology and RNG is likely to be the only feasible approach to meeting our multiple environmental goals.
“If we are to meet our long list of air quality and energy policy targets,” he said, “we need all alternative fuels and all advanced transportation technologies to be wildly successful.”
Fleets & Fuels publisher GNA is developing a marketing and communications initiative to emphasize the role of natural gas vehicles in meeting California’s long-range clean air targets. Shorter term, a white paper and such ancillary materials as a new website will highlight how increased investments in next-generation NGV technology and RNG can provide immediate air quality benefits.
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Source: Fleets & Fuels at NGVAmerica in Denver