New Health Effects Study Highlights Advancement in Clean Diesel Technology

A new study released by the Health Effects Institute (HEI) provides important new insights on the advancements in clean diesel technology and ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel, according to Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum.

The peer-reviewed study entitled “HEI Research Report 166: Advanced Collaborative Emissions Study (ACES) Subchronic Exposure Results: Biological Responses in Rats and Mice and Assessment of Genotoxicity”, was conducted by the Health Effects Institute (HEI) in collaboration with the Coordinating Research Council.

The goal of ACES is to test the emissions and health effects of the new technology diesel engines to document the improvements that have been made and to ensure that there are no unintended emissions from this new technology.  The study evaluated impacts from exposure to diesel exhaust emissions on laboratory animals over various time intervals.

In their Commentary on the study the ACES Review Panel concluded: “Overall, these results showed few biologic effects related to diesel exhaust exposure.”

“As this new study illustrates, the 2007 compliant diesel technology provided historic improvements in reducing particulate and nitrogen oxide emissions,” Schaeffer said.

“And the 2010 and newer diesel technology is even cleaner with near zero emissions. In the past decade, emissions from heavy-duty diesel trucks and buses have been reduced by 99 percent for nitrogen oxides (NOx) - an ozone precursor - and 98 percent for particulate emissions which include black carbon,” Schaeffer said.

While this study is limited to highway diesel engines like those used in commercial trucks and buses, virtually the same technologies (cleaner diesel fuel and advanced engine and emissions controls) are being phased in for all non-road engines and equipment used in construction, agriculture, mining and other industries.

“Getting to these near-zero levels of emissions is a result of the highly integrated clean diesel system - cleaner ultra low sulfur diesel fuel, advanced engine technologies and emissions control systems,” Schaeffer said.  “Not only are the engines near zero emissions, they are also achieving important gains in fuel efficiency of anywhere from two to 10 percent, bringing valuable savings to owners and operators of new clean diesel engines.”

HEI Study and EPA Black Carbon Report Highlight Importance of Clean Diesel Technology

Schaeffer said the findings in the new HEI report coincide with the Environmental Protection Agency’s recently-released “Report to Congress on Black Report”, which stated: “The United States will achieve substantial (black carbon) emissions reductions by 2030, largely due to controls on new mobile diesel engines.  Diesel retrofit programs for in-use mobile sources are a valuable complement to new engine standards for reducing emissions.”

“Today diesel engines are responsible for less than six percent of all particulate emissions in the U.S.,” Schaeffer said.  “As clean diesel technology continues to advance, these improvements will be even more significant.”