Last week, representatives from government, environmental groups, and the private sector met in Pennsylvania to discuss clean diesel strategies for continuing air quality improvements in the Mid-Atlantic region. That area includes Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. The Mid-Atlantic Diesel Collaborative is a partnership between leaders from federal and state agencies, regional EPA offices, environmental groups, trucking fleets, engine and equipment makers and other interest groups. Together, they are working to reduce emissions from existing engines and equipment.
German environmental watchdogs Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH) have claimed that some diesel-engined cars built by Renault-Nissan are exceeding EU NOx limits in an alarming way. Specifically, cars powered by the companies’ 1.6 dCi engine had NOx emissions up to twenty-five times higher than the current EURO 6 emissions limits. (!)
Jürgen Resch, the DUH chief, was quoted as saying that the Renault tests “show a certain pattern. Only when the car was prepared in a certain way for next day’s test, the car passed with flying colors. Any deviations of the reconditioning resulted in emissions which we had never measured that high.”
The DUH study was conducted in cooperation with the Washington-based International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), which was the same group that effectively “caught” VW cheating emissions tests earlier this year. The group claims that the “preconditioning” Renault was putting its test vehicles through would effectively burn out old/accumulated carbon deposits that had built up in the engine, leaving it sparkly clean for emissions testing.
Renault-Nissan, for its part, has flatly denied the use of such a cheat in their cars. Renault-Nissan Alliance spokesperson Rachel Konrad told Dailykanban that Renault “does not make, install, authorize or otherwise use defeat devices.”
Since both Renault and Nissan are seen as leaders in the development of electric vehicles, it seems unlikely that they’d risk their green cred on such a low-volume product. Although, to be fair, you could have said the same about Volkswagen a few months ago!
This is part of a 10-part series on the ”Top 10 Toxic Ingredients Used By The Fossil Fuel Industries.” Read, share, and check in tomorrow for the next part, which will focus on benzene. 2. & 3. Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) and Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) Fossil…
Truck company Navistar has filed a lawsuit against Lisa Jackson, the Director of the EPA, accusing her agency of allegedly not upholding the Clean Air Act and not doing its job in protecting public health.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA or sometimes USEPA) is an agency of the federal government of the United States charged with protecting human health and the environment. This is done by the agency writing and enforcing regulations based on laws passed by Congress. The EPA was proposed by President Richard Nixon and began operation on December 3rd 1970. Lisa Jackson has been in office since 2006.
Navistar International Corporation is a United States based holding company which owns the manufacturer of International brand commercial trucks, MaxxForce brand diesel engines, IC School Bus, and commercial buses. Navistar also owns Workhorse brand chassis for motor homes and step vans, and is a private label designer and manufacturer of diesel engines for the pickup truck, van, and the SUV markets. The company’s products, parts, and services are sold through a network of nearly 1,000 dealer outlets in the United States, Brazil, and Mexico and more than 60 dealers in 90 countries throughout the world. Navistar also provides financing for its customers and distributors principally through its wholly owned subsidiary, Navistar Financial Corporation.
Navistar has in recent months seen a decrease in profits. As a result a restructuring of the organization has taken place that has included the closing of its Canadian plants as well as a slowdown in production of the companies Workhourse chassis. Thousands of employees are now in the process of being laid off in the United States and in Canada.
Even with a restructuring taking place, Navistar has, as of July 5th, filed a lawsuit against the EPA. If Navistar’s claims hold true trucks from model year 2010 and forward would not have to meet Clean Air Act standards when it comes to nitrogen oxides.
Navistar is by no means thinking green by calling out the EPA, although they do dabble with green tech. However, the alleged actions, or lack of action, being done by the EPA and the environmental impact is tied to Navistar’s profits; profits that are not doing so well.
Back in 2001 the EPA issued limits for nitrogen oxides. Manufactures of large trucks, like Navistar, had to come up with solutions to meet the new standards set by the EPA, and do so in order to meet a set 2010 deadline for change. To meet the EPA standards large truck manufacturers took one of two routes to reach a solution. While Navistar took one route, all of Navistar’s competitors took another. Now that the 2010 model trucks are being shipped Navistar is raising a red flag of environmental violation by Navistar’s competitors based on the required EPA standards.
Navistar’s competitors chose a solution to the EPA standards in which truck drivers have to monitor the levels of new emission controlled fluids and refill those fluids when they are running low inside their trucks. Navistar’s solution is similar but does not place monitoring duties on the truck drives. Instead other Navistar employees using additional systems do the monitoring; this means more cooks in the kitchen and more money being spent to meet EPA standards by Navistar, although the system is less prone to tampering (truck drivers are known to fill the emissions regulating fuel tank with water to trick the system.”
Navistar claims that when drivers do not keep the emission controlled fluids topped off within their trucks the controlling effects on the nitrogen oxide emissions from those trucks is negated. This therefore is a violation of EPA standards. Additionally, Navistar has found that emissions can pass the EPA’s limit if drivers substitute in water, if the fluid freezes, or if the exhaust cools like in scenarios involving stop and go traffic.
Navistar’s suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, alleges that the EPA has certified their competitors’ systems without checking whether the system actually works. If Navistar’s claim is validated in a court of law than the EPA would have to modify the 2010 nitrogen oxides emission standards— leveling the playing field between Navistar and their competitors.
Is this case of sour grapes from Navistar, a company that is indeed struggling and seems to be realizing that their chosen solution to appease the EPA was not the best? Maybe; but if Navistar’s claims turn out to be accurate it would be a black on the face of the EPA during a time where the EPA has reputedly come under fire, from certain political factions, as being a wasteful bit of government spending.
Source: The Springfield News Sun
Andrew Meggison was born in the state of Maine and educated in Massachusetts. Andrew earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Government and International Relations from Clark University and a Master’s Degree in Political Science from Northeastern University. Being an Eagle Scout, Andrew has a passion for all things environmental. In his free time Andrew enjoys writing, exploring the great outdoors, a good film, and a creative cocktail.
Here’s one for the thinking-out-of-the-box crowd. A research team at the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) in the Netherlands have invented a type of paving material that can be mixed in with normal asphalt or concrete that actually removes some pollutants from the air as cars travel over the surface. The effect works well enough to remove some 25% to 45% of nitrogen oxides from vehicle emissions.
The best part: the material reportedly doesn’t even cost that much more than a normal roadway to construct.
Since last year, many of us have been eagerly awaiting the introduction of ‘clean-diesels’: the 2008-2009 models touted as having superior mileage and cleaner emissions than comparable gas models.
So where are they? Strangely, promised 2008 models didn’t materialize, and I had trouble finding more on the story. As far as I can tell, we’ll just have to look forward to next summer’s release of the 2009 VW Jetta TDI. The new Jetta gets similar mileage to older models, 50 mpg ( though VW engineers claim 30% better mileage under real world conditions). More importantly though, it’s the first diesel to meet the world’s toughest emissions standards, California’s Tier II, bin 5, earning it clean-diesel status. If you noticed the recent lack of diesel vehicles for sale (especially in CA), it was the direct result of reengineering emissions systems:
Although it won’t be wearing the “BlueTec” badge, the Jetta will be using emission-cleansing technologies developed under the cooperative formed by Audi, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen to make it 50-state legal. Most BlueTec vehicles control NOx emissions—one of the biggest environmental hurdles facing diesels, along with particulate matter—by injecting a urea-based solution into the exhaust system upstream from the catalytic converter, where NOx is then converted into nitrogen and water. The Jetta will instead use a NOx-storage catalyst, which is basically a reservoir that temporarily holds the noxious emissions, like a particulate filter, until they can be burned off during one of the engine cycles.