Clean diesel coming to farms near you


SALEM, Ohio – The Environmental Protection Agency is getting just what it asked for: cleaner diesel fuel.
Last week, U.S. refineries began producing low-sulfur diesel fuel for use in off-road equipment used on farms and fields, on construction sites, and on water.
By Dec. 1, locomotives, barges, tractors and construction equipment will make the switch to diesel with nearly 85 percent less sulfur than today’s version.
The switch is part of the EPA’s national clean diesel campaign.
Better for all. The new off-road clean diesel has sulfur content of 500 parts per million, reduced from a whopping 3,000 parts per million in the previous blend.
The new off-road fuel, combined with innovative engine technology, is expected to dramatically reduce diesel emissions and offer clean air benefits, according to Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum.
“The diesel industry is committed to being a part of the clean air solution without sacrificing the power, reliability, maintenance, and fuel economy of modern diesel equipment,” he said.
Expansion. The production ramp-up follows the expanded production and availability of clean diesel for on-road use that came a year ago.
“Last year saw the nationwide availability of on-highway ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel enabling manufacturers to engineer the cleanest diesel trucks ever. This new fuel will begin bringing the same benefits to off-road equipment,” Schaeffer said.
On-road diesel engines have a stricter limit, however, in that their fuel must be below 15 parts per million. EPA likens this amount to one ounce of sulfur per tanker truck of fuel.
By 2010, sulfur levels in most non-road diesel fuel will be reduced to those ultra-low levels, making it possible for engine manufacturers to use advanced exhaust control systems that significantly reduce emissions.
For locomotive and marine fuel, this step will occur by 2012, according to the EPA.
Campaign. The purpose of the EPA campaign is to reduce emissions through fuels and other methods to keep Americans and our environment healthier.
EPA said technologies like particulate traps, capable of emission reductions of 90 percent and more, will be required under new standards set to begin phasing into the highway sector in 2007, and into the off-road sector in 2011.
These programs are projected to yield ‘enormous’ long-term benefits for public health and the environment, the EPA says.
Diesel engines, notorious for emitting large amounts of nitrogen oxides and particulate matter, are blamed for public health problems like asthma attacks and lost work days.
EPA says by 2030, when the entire U.S. diesel fleet has been turned over to the new technologies, emissions will be reduced a total of 4.25 million tons per year. EPA says the benefits of the cutback will exceed $150 billion.
(Reporter Andrea Zippay welcomes feedback by phone at 800-837-3419 or by e-mail at


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