In an effort to lessen the emissions from “off-road” construction equipment, TTI’s Center for Air Quality Studies has been awarded a $500,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The two-year project will monitor nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions of road construction equipment before and after the installation of an emission reduction system, called selective catalytic reduction (SCR). This system uses ammonia injection to convert NOx into mostly harmless nitrogen and water.
“Reducing emissions from diesel engines is one of the most important air quality challenges facing the country today,” says Jim Blubaugh, director of the National Clean Diesel Campaign Office of Transportation and Air Quality for the EPA. “The EPA’s National Clean Diesel Emerging Technologies Program provides an opportunity to advance new, cutting edge technologies that reduce diesel emissions from existing fleets and protect public health.”
TTI has partnered with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to test 6 diesel burning asphalt re-claimers and crawler loaders. There are 3,000 individual pieces of off-road construction equipment in the TxDOT fleet.
“TTI has the talent, the equipment and the reputation to see this project to completion,” says TxDOT Fleet Manager Don Lewis. “The project will help verify for the EPA that this technology works in the real world.” TTI will measure the NOx emissions while the road equipment is in use. Lewis expects the results to show a 65 to 80 percent reduction in NOx after the SCR systems are installed.
The SCR devices used in the project are manufactured by Nett Technologies in Ontario, Canada.
“The testing will primarily take place in the Dallas area,” says Joe Zietsman, the director of the Center for Air Quality Studies. “It’s an important project because NOx is the leading cause of ground-level ozone which is dangerous to our health and the main reason why 20 Texas counties do not meet federal standards for ambient air quality.”
In addition to the TTI project, three other similar $500,000 grants were awarded in Texas, funded by the recent federal stimulus. “Grants awarded under the Emerging Technologies Program both foster the deployment of innovative technologies and encourages private-sector investment in innovation to expand retrofit options for nonroad engines and NOx reduction, such as those used in construction equipment,” Blubaugh adds.
“The technology already exists for heavy duty diesel trucks but it is fairly new for off-road equipment. This project will show us the numbers for this vital sector,” Zietsman says. “And for researchers, that’s very important.”