Clean diesel arrives and exceeds the grade and I as clean as propane or natural gas with a well funded and maintained Particulate Matter Trap… Traditional diesel fuel is dirty with high particulate matter (PM2.5) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions. But add a Particulate Matter Trap, a three way oxidation catalyst and particulate matter decreases by 90%. I ran an analysis of Clean Diesel on a Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Class 6 (!6,001-19,500 lbs gross vehicle weight rating) with a Particulate Matter Trap and a three way oxidation catalyst versus 1 traditional diesel vehicle and the got the results.
Nitrogen oxides (NOx) were reduced by 25%, Particulate matter (PM2.5) by 90%, volatile organic hydrocarbons (VOC) by 75%, carbon monoxide (CO) by 75%, and carbon dioxide (CO2) remained unchanged. Clearly Clean Diesel has arrived at the table and exceeded the grade with these two simple control technologies that can easily be retrofitted on existing diesel trucks cost effectively. I ran the analysis because I’ve seen Volkswagen advertising a Clean Diesel passenger car which got 52 miles per gallon; clearly offering carbon dioxide emissions reductions compared the current average 25 mpg fleet wide fuel economy. A Class 6 vehicle is like a UPS delivery truck gets about 11 miles a gallon, maybe more or less depending on speed and neighborhood or highway free flow travel.
So, should Clean Diesel be classified as an Alternative, Clean Fuel? The government says yes, as Clean Diesel qualifies for tax credits under the Stimulus Bill. Welcoming traditional technologies to the Alternative, Clean and even Renewable Energy category is contentious among environmentalists. Making Clean Diesel, Clean Coal, and Refuse to Energy clean. In some cases, these can be labeled Renewable when pushed hard on Capitol Hill as traditional Energy Groups lobby hard to get some of their cleaned up fuels classified as Clean or Renewable. What is at stake is billions of dollars in tax credits and subsidies. Environmentalists argue that only Solar and Wind Power should classify as Renewable, since they have long lagged the investment in their development relative the money Old Energy can invest in cleaning up their fuel and power sources.
As energy intensive states continue lobbing for Green, Clean, Renewable status of some of their new and improved fuel technology, the battle will be fierce. Unfortunately, these cleaned up traditional fuels will likely get the Clean, Alternative, and in some cases Renewable status of Wind and Solar. This will be an inevitable comprise needed to pass the market based carbon cap and trade bill in the House and Senate. The House is trying to dodge a full floor vote in the fall until the Obama can come up with a filibuster proof 60 vote margin in the Senate, a tough process. Energy is by far the most daunting challenge facing Obama in his presidency, much more difficult to pass than health care reform. Do not underestimate Obama in his willingness to compromise, but will environmentalists and Liberal Democrats remain on board? Climate Change Control could be Obama’s biggest triumph, or his first massive Legislative defeat.
(Photo by Kevork Djzasazian Getty Images)