Improving Global Air Quality by Accelerating the Introduction of Cleaner Fuels and the Newest Generations of Diesel Technology

A Statement on the World Health Organization’s First Global Conference on Air Pollution and Health

Frederick, Maryland, UNITED STATES

WASHINGTON, D.C., Oct. 31, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Diesel truck, engine and equipment makers and their suppliers share the goal of improving air quality and health of citizens around the world, articulated today at the World Health Organization’s (WHO) First Global Conference on Air Pollution and Health in Geneva. 

The following is a statement from Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum, regarding the role of diesel in improving global air quality:“Heavy-duty diesel engines power key sectors of the global economy, enabling economic progress in both developing and developed countries alike. Diesel technologies facilitate mobility, transport people, and deliver goods and services. Diesel-powered equipment helps construct critical infrastructure and drives agricultural activities. Diesel plays a role in electrical power generation. In short, diesel technologies enhance the overall quality of life for millions around the globe.

“Emissions from transportation, construction and agriculture, along with residential heating and industrial sources, all contribute to the global emissions inventory. Other factors – including government policies, cultural needs and economic conditions – also contribute directly to air quality.

“Tremendous progress has been made in virtually eliminating criteria emissions from today’s generation of diesel engines. Consider that it would take more than 60 of today’s generation of diesel-powered heavy-duty commercial trucks to equal the emissions of a single U.S. model made in the pre-2000 era. Modern diesel technologies of all kinds also deliver substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, while preserving their superior fuel efficiency and performance characteristics. For more than seven years now, heavy duty diesel engines in the United States and other parts of the world have achieved near-zero levels of particulate matter and nitrogen oxide emissions.

“These systems are more than 95 percent efficient in virtually eliminating emissions of fine particles, which also achieves an important co-benefit in reducing black carbon emissions, a short-lived climate pollutant.

“The benefits of new-technology diesel engines in reducing fine particulates are striking. According to our most recent analysis of 2017 U.S. vehicles in operation data (Class 1-3) provided by IHS Markit, introduction of the newest generation of heavy-duty commercial vehicles in the United States that meet the near-zero fine particle emission standard established for model year 2007 have eliminated 1.5 million tonnes of particulate matter, an amount equivalent to the emissions from all light-duty vehicles for 13 years.

“Solutions for reducing levels of air pollution are diverse and must meet the many, varied demands of each country. A developing nations’ greatest opportunity to maximize clean air progress and achieve reductions in fine particulate emissions from diesel engines is to move to cleaner, low-sulfur diesel fuels as soon as possible. For more than a decade, the U.S. and other developed economies have required the use of ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) fuel that contains a maximum sulfur content of 15 parts per million (ppm) or less. According to the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), the world is making steady progress as more developing economies are adopting ULSD fuel standards. In just three years – by 2021 – ICCT anticipates that 81 percent of the global diesel fuel supply will be ULSD. This shift to cleaner diesel fuel is the foundation for being able to achieve the full emissions-reductions benefits of the emissions control systems now standard in many applications of advanced diesel technology.”

Health Effects Institute Research Validates Emissions Performance and Health Benefits of New-Technology Diesel EnginesThe Health Effects Institute ( Advanced Collaborative Emissions Study (ACES) is the most comprehensive emissions and health testing examination done to date of new-technology heavy-duty diesel engines meeting the U.S. 2007/2010 and EURO VI/6 on-road diesel emissions standards.

The study reports the effectiveness of diesel particulate filters in reducing particulate matter emissions by more than 90 percent and of selective catalytic reduction systems in reducing smog-forming nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by 94 percent. This combination of new technology enabled by ULSD fuel (15 ppm sulfur) meets U.S. 2007/2010, Euro VI/6, China 6, and Bharat Stage VI (India) standards. These new engines move well beyond the previous diesel engines (e.g. U.S. 2004, Euro IV/4 and V/5 – and the equivalent China 4 and 5, and Bharat State IV and V) to substantially reduce both particulate matter and NOx exposures.

The ACES results show that the aftertreatment technologies used in modern diesel engines are highly effective. These engines meet – and exceed – the reductions mandated by U.S. and EURO regulations. The results demonstrated that diesel engines which meet these standards deliver dramatic improvements in emissions. Researchers noted that “the overall toxicity of exhaust from modern diesel engines is significantly decreased compared with the toxicity of emissions from traditional-technology diesel engines.”

In some cases, particulate filters and other emissions control devices can be retrofitted on some older engines and equipment to reduce particulate emissions. In addition, the use of renewable biodiesel fuels can also contribute to reduction in emissions. Life cycle analysis completed by Argonne National Laboratory found that emissions for 100 percent biodiesel (B100) are 74 percent lower than those from petroleum diesel. Recently, the California Air Resources Board reported similar values for its lifecycle analysis of biodiesel from various sources. However, the greatest benefit is through the introduction of new technology diesel engines.

For more on advanced diesel technology and how contributes to air quality improvements around the globe, visit:

About The Diesel Technology Forum
The Diesel Technology Forum is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of Diesel engines, fuel and technology. Forum members are leaders in clean Diesel technology and represent the three key elements of the modern clean Diesel system: advanced engines, vehicles and equipment, cleaner Diesel fuel and emissions-control systems. For more information, visit


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