Trucks and other vehicles are a staple in today’s society. Without them, people would have a pretty difficult time getting around. Because of this, more and more vehicles are being made each year. And while the manufacturing industry contributes $2.17 trillion to the economy each year, vehicle emissions are damaging to the environment. But a new study found that a natural gas can actually reduce smog emitted from heavy-duty trucks.
The study was conducted at the University of California, Riverside’s College of Engineering Center for Environmental Research and Technology (CE-CERT). The tests done in the study focused on the Cummins Westport ISX12N, which features a near-zero-emissions, 11.9-liter natural gas engine. During the study, the researchers looked at factors like regulated and non-regulated emissions, global warming potential, ultrafine particles, and fuel economy.
Reports from Southern California Gas Co., which helped fund the study, showed that the engine attained California’s lowest smog-forming emissions standard. Furthermore, the level of emissions remained steady throughout varying types of driving.
Various types of driving were stimulated using a dynamometer. Types of driving that were tested covered a large platform and included regional hauling and pulling into a loading dock. The testing found that the near-zero-emissions engine could be used, and reduce emissions, for several applications, from transit and refuse to hauling loads of products.
With the United States being the largest producer of chemical products worldwide, chemical manufacturers have continuously worked towards fuel that won’t cause harm to the environment. And with the majority of heavy-duty vehicles on the roads today running on diesel, they account for one of the biggest sources of smog-forming emissions and fuel consumption in the country. Fortunately, the new near-zero-emissions engine exceeds the California Air Resources Board’s cleanest standard of emissions.
Last year, Kent Johnson, assistant research engineer at CE-CERT, performed similar testing on a near-zero, 8.9-liter Cummins Westport engine. Those results also showed promise — with the smaller engine having even lower emissions.
According to Sharon Tomkins, vice president of customer solutions and strategy for SoCalGas, “The transportation sector accounts for more than 80 percent of smog-forming emissions in California. The test results from UC Riverside once again show the latest natural gas engine technology, which is available and on the road today, will play a vital role in achieving California’s clean air goals.”
Focusing on fuel emissions is something California has continuously been focusing on over the past several years. Seeing as how about 41% of greenhouse gas emissions in the state are from transportation, state officials are hoping for a transition towards near-zero-emission engines. When these engines are fueled with renewable natural gas, greenhouse gas emissions can be decreased by at least 80%, which would make a huge difference.
With PwC predicting that about 107 million vehicles will be made globally in 2020, now is the time to focus on reducing emissions from vehicles, particularly those that produce high amounts of greenhouse gases. The University of California at Riverside has a major focus on pressing environmental changes and hopes to continue their research on emission-reducing engines over the next several years.