EPA and the State of Utah Spur Clean Diesel Upgrades to Agricultural Vehicles
The Recovery Act is leveraging clean diesel technologies to make existing vehicle fleets more energy-efficient and reduce air pollution through engine upgrades. An innovative project in Utah, completed in the fall of 2010, helped farmers in Salt Lake, Davis, and Utah counties upgrade their old diesel engines, and their familiar black puffs of smoke, by replacing them with clean-burning diesel engines.
With the help of a $750,000 EPA grant under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, local farmers replaced nine tractors, replaced engines in 22 pieces of heavy-duty agricultural equipment, and installed 32 fuel-saving auxiliary power units on long-haul trucks. Many of the participating farmers also invested in their own vehicle upgrades, contributing an additional $450,000 to the effort.
As part of this project, Recovery Act funds were used to install 32 auxiliary power units (APUs) on long-haul trucks outfitted to haul cattle and food. The units allow truckers to turn off the main engine of their trucks when not driving by providing a more efficient way to heat, cool and power the main cabin instead of idling the engine. And while they draw diesel from the same tank as the regular engine, APUs use one tenth of the fuel and emit one tenth of the pollution—offering big air quality benefits and fuel savings.
Not only does this effort contribute to improved air quality, but it helps local farmers and businesses save money on fuel over the long term. In all, the project will help save approximately 33,000 gallons of diesel fuel. These upgrades are contributing to regional air quality improvements by reducing emissions of particulates, ozone-forming nitrogen oxides, and greenhouse gases in a part of the state that faces tough air quality challenges. EPA estimates that 241.7 tons of pollution will be removed from the air annually.
EPA and the Utah Department of Environmental Quality worked through the Utah Department of Agriculture to identify farmers interested in taking advantage of this opportunity to replace their equipment with clean diesel technologies. Outreach through the University of Utah, the Utah Dept. of Agriculture and tractor dealerships led to a bidding process where farmers bid for specific upgrades based on the individual needs of their companies. Federal funds covered cost share for the lowest bid, so if farmers wanted more expensive options they had to cover the difference.
This project is just one of many recent clean diesel projects funded by EPA in Utah. Since 2003, Utah has received a total of more than $3.9 million to support several projects statewide. You can learn more about EPA’s efforts under the Diesel Emissions Reduction Program nationally at http://www.epa.gov/cleandiesel and locally at http://www.epa.gov/region8/air/rmcdc.