Cummins pushes emissions agenda

AMERICAN-based engine manufacturer Cummins has appeared before a US senate committee to support legislation to reduce emissions from older diesel engines.

James Bowen

The Diesel Emissions Reduction Act complements Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules for on and off-road diesel engine vehicles and provides incentives to create engine retrofit or replacement programs. The act, which was formulated with input from the diesel industry and US environmental groups, was passed in June by a senate vote of 92 to one.

Measures it proposes have been shown to cause an immediate, and often significant, reduction in nitrous oxide and particulate matter.They range from after-treatment devices for exhaust systems to installing new engines with more stringent emission standards.

The act authorises $US1 billion ($A1.3 billion) to be spent on promoting the reduction of diesel emissions over a five-year period, with 70% of the funds to be distributed by the EPA, 20% going directly to the US states for retrofit programs and 10% for the states to match federal funding for the programs.

Cummins vice president Michael Cross told members of the senate subcommittee on clean air, climate change and nuclear safety that ultra-low sulphur diesel fuel standards set for 2006 were essential to meeting EPA emissions targets for 2007 and 2010. The targets are for 90% reduction of nitrous oxide and particulate matter produced by new diesel engines from 2004 levels.

Cross said ultra-low sulphur fuel would also make it easier to realise the full benefits of the emissions act. The fuel has a content of 15 parts per million, compared with the current standard of 500ppm.EPA requirements for engine emissions came into effect in October 2002. Cross said Cummins was one of the first manufacturers to offer a full line of highway trucks that complied with the stricter standards.He said the company had invested billions of dollars to create cleaner-burning and more efficient engines.

The EPA has extended the transition period for the introduction of ultra-low sulphur diesel fuel to October 15 2006. This was ample time for compliance, Cross said.

"Cummins requests that congress make every effort to ensure these ultra-low sulphur diesel standards are not compromised," he said.