Latest-generation diesel technologies deliver more than 80 percent emission reductions in the marine environment

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The newest generation of diesel technologies offer innovative and sustainable options that help America’s ports achieve near-zero emissions, today.

“America’s sea and river ports underpin roughly 26 percent of the U.S. economy, generating $4.6 trillion in economic activity, and providing jobs for 23 million workers. Moving this trade requires many diesel-powered trucks, trains, ships, cargo handling equipment, barges and marine workboats,” said Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum. “It’s important that we do so in the most economic, environmentally friendly way possible. By using new-technology diesel engines and ultra-low-sulfur diesel fuel, port administrators and equipment operators can be sure to deliver fuel efficiency, power, performance and reliability, along with significant emission reductions for the communities near our nation’s ports.”

Starting in 2015, new diesel engines used in large equipment were required to meet Tier 4 emissions standards which, relative to previous generations of technology, reduces emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and fine particle emissions (PM) between 88 and 95 percent.

Recent research conducted by the Diesel Technology Forum and the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) confirms that upgrading the engines in two of the key pieces of equipment used in ports – tugboats and switcher locomotives – to the latest clean diesel technology offers the most cost-effective option for reducing diesel emissions. Clean diesel upgrades for the engines on a single tugboat can reduce 96,840 lbs. of NOx and 2,646 lbs. of PM for $4,379 per ton of NOx eliminated. A clean diesel upgrade on a single switch locomotive can reduce 37,602 lbs. of NOx and 974 lbs. of PM for $15,201 per ton of NOx eliminated.

“The Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach (LA/LB) offer stunning examples of the incredible impact new-technology diesel engines can have for port communities,” said Schaeffer. “The LA/LB Port Authority estimates that between 2005 and 2015, PM emissions fell by 85 percent (745 tons) per year, while NOx emissions fell by 51 percent (8,325 tons) per year. The overwhelming majority of these clean air achievements are attributable to the introduction of the new generation of clean diesel technology in Southern California. Other ports have also reported similarly impressive emission reductions.”

While the latest clean diesel technologies are ready and available to reduce emissions, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that by 2020, only 5 percent of America’s switch locomotives and 3 percent of America’s marine workboats will be the newest generation of near-zero emissions technology.