As national leaders debate the size, scope and merits of a national infrastructure plan, the need to build smarter, more resilient, and equitably are top of mind. The newest generation of advanced diesel technology will be at the center of delivering both these promises and the real-world projects to help propel America forward.
“Infrastructure underpins everything in America. It facilitates our mobility, ensures our connectivity, and enables a healthy and productive public with access to safe drinking water and wastewater disposal. Building the next generation of infrastructure particularly at the scale envisioned is a tall order and one that will require a fleet of the most advanced tools and technology to get the job done. Most construction machines and equipment are powered by diesel engines thanks to diesel’s unique combination of efficiency, power, performance, durability and reliability, and now near-zero emissions. From backhoes and excavators to articulated trucks and pavers, the new generation of diesel will get the job done with near zero emissions, delivering needed progress along with cleaner air to communities across the country,” said Allen Schaeffer, Executive Director of the Diesel Technology Forum, an educational association representing diesel engine, vehicle and equipment manufacturers.
“Diesel engines power the majority of the most heavily utilized pieces of equipment found on job sites across the country including those used in building roads and bridges, and those used to build renewable electric power generation projects like solar or wind, diesel is the mainstay of this industry. According to U.S. EPA, a typical 200 horsepower excavator found on jobsites big and small that is a fourth generation (“Tier 4”) diesel solution achieves near-zero emissions and can eliminate over one ton of smog forming compounds when replacing an older generation of equipment without modern emissions controls,” said Schaeffer.
“New more modern engines deliver efficiency improvements over previous generations of technology. Replacing older technology that has exceeded its useful life with newer engines delivers substantial fuels savings and emission reductions. One crane operator in metropolitan New York City, replaced several 1970s vintage engines with new MTU diesel engines to save the operators over $100,000 in fuel costs each year. That also translates directly to greenhouse gas emission reductions.
“Productivity boosting solutions are in the forefront of leading manufacturers equipment offerings. Telematics and connected worksites monitor and streamline equipment operations, guiding operators to minimize repetitive task time, enabling the ability to achieve accurate finished task results on first pass rather than multiple pass operation. Industry estimates that smart solutions like telematics can reduce diesel fuel consumption by 40 percent, translating into significant greenhouse gas emissions reductions and climate benefits.
“Thanks to the repetitive duty cycles of some machines and equipment, such as those used for moving large quantities of materials (stone, dirt, debris), hybrid energy storage systems are now incorporated into a growing number of new off-road machines and equipment like wheel loaders and excavators, where they reduce fuel consumption and emissions without sacrificing power and durability. Caterpillar integrated hybrid systems into one of its most used excavators to generate real world fuel savings. The equipment used to build rail lines for the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District reduced fuel use by 30 percent helping to contribute to important project sustainability goals.
“Autonomous technology is available in some construction machine types, boosting worksite safety and productivity, particularly in hazardous environments. Volvo construction equipment has integrated autonomy into some of its most used equipment types to reduce emissions by over 40 percent. Precision use of the equipment also places workers away from dangerous locations and boosts worksite safety.
“Beyond the innovations in new technology advanced diesel machines and equipment, fuel switching is an easy strategy to reduce the carbon footprint of equipment operations. Diesel engines old and new are capable of operating on renewable diesel fuel and blends of biodiesel to deliver big and cost-effective emissions reductions. For example, the City of Oakland, CA made the switch to exclusively use renewable diesel fuel in the city’s fleet of heavy-duty vehicles and equipment. This fuel that can be used as a drop-in replacement to petroleum diesel, reduces emissions by upwards of 80 percent compared to petroleum diesel. City managers estimate that the switch to renewable diesel fuel has displaced over 250,000 gallons of petroleum diesel fuel and eliminated 1,500 tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year.”