Contact: Pamela McCurdy, 651-757-2559
St. Paul, Minn. ― In March, the MPCA completed funding $1.53 million for 282 approved projects that reduce diesel engine air pollution through a federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant. An extra $600,000 was leveraged with grantee matching funds, making the actual amount injected into the economy more than $2 million.
MPCA Commissioner Paul Aasen said, “The reductions in pollution are immediate and will continue for a decade or more. The grants also gave a nice financial boost to Minnesota businesses, cities and others during the economic downturn.”
The federal grant allowed the MPCA to award 68 grants to public and private entities in Minnesota; from small, one-truck owner-operators to fleets with hundreds of trucks. Though the majority of grantees were long-haul trucking companies, others included construction companies, a river tour boat, the city of Shakopee and the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe. Grantees were from 59 cities across the state.
The grant funded 155 small auxiliary power generators (APUs) that cool and heat long-haul truck cabs on overnight stops. APUs allow truckers to avoid idling the truck’s engine all night.
“These APUs alone are reducing ground-level fine particle emissions by nearly one ton and nitrogen oxide emissions by 37 tons each year,” David Thornton, assistant commissioner of the MPCA, said. “That’s roughly equivalent to eliminating 6,000 to 8,000 cars. The APUs also save 150,000 gallons of fuel per year.” The MPCA also funded emission controls, new or rebuilt engines, and exhaust systems.
Long-haul truck driver Cliff Johnson of Monticello was the first Minnesota grantee to complete his project in December 2009. He received new emission-control equipment for his trailer refrigeration generator. “Usually the state is doing something to me. This is the first time they’ve done something for me,” quipped Johnson. Emission upgrades help Johnson and others meet emerging emission laws in other states.
“Long-haul truckers could save $40 per day on a typical 10-hour layover, because APUs consume a gallon per hour less than a truck engine,” explained Mark Sulzbach, MPCA’s clean diesel grant coordinator. “That can be several hundred dollars per month in fuel savings per truck, and it also saves wear and tear on the main engine.” At today’s prices, fuel savings will add up to $600,000 per year.
One of MPCA’s more unusual grant projects involved replacing four diesel engines on a tour paddle boat owned by the Padelford Packet Co. operating out of Harriet Island in St. Paul.
Though this grant ended, the MPCA just published a request for proposal for another federal grant that will target diesel fleets in the Twin Cities, including public construction vehicles and equipment and ground support equipment at railroad yards and airports. For information, call Martina Cameron at 651-757-2259.
The MPCA’s Small Business Loan Program also helps small long-haul truck fleets with loans to purchase APUs, certain trailer refrigeration systems and other fuel-saving trailer equipment to help meet or exceed regulations. For more information on these loans, contact Mike Nelson at 651-757-2121.