Diesel engines are the workhorse of society because of their pulling power, superior efficiency and tremendous longevity. However, diesel emissions contain harmful compounds and fine particulates known to cause or trigger health issues, including respiratory and cardiovascular problems and cancer. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, for every dollar spent on diesel emissions reduction there is up to $13 in health benefits realized.
Since 2006, MPCA Clean Diesel grants, along with collaboration with Project Green Fleet, have reduced diesel pollution from fine particles equivalent to taking 750,000 cars off the road. That represents about 4,700 engine improvements or replacements in Minnesota to help eliminate 45 tons of fine particle pollution per year.
Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA)
This federal grant to states began in 2008. MPCA first focused this funding on school bus retrofits and loans for idle reduction technology devices on long-haul trucks. Recent projects include replacing a dozen garbage trucks, repowering six large cranes used for bridge construction, replacing ten older beverage delivery trucks that operate in the Twin Cities and St Cloud, and a rock-crusher near Rochester.
From 2008 through 2013 a portion of MPCA’s DERA funds went toward retrofitting school buses and loans for idle-reduction devices for long-haul trucks. But funding has declined and almost all buses older than 2007 have already been retrofit. Buses that are 2007 and newer come standard with emission-control equipment four times cleaner than the equipment used in the retrofits.
Low-interest loans for long-haul trucks to purchase idle-reduction devices are still available through the MPCA’s Small Business Environmental Improvement Loan Program.
MPCA Clean Diesel accomplishments
- MPCA grants and loans directly reduced emissions on 951 diesel engines in Minnesota
- Shared $2.4 million in state grant money for emission reductions on 1,567 school buses
- Shared federal grant money to fund another 256 school buses; total school bus retrofits funded: 1,823
- Total engine improvements done or funded by MPCA: 2,735
- Total fine particle pollution reduced from these actions: 14.5 tons — the equivalent of removing 264,000 cars from the road
- Reduced 139 tons of nitrogen oxides (NOx)
- Total funds for MPCA projects: $6.5 million
For more information
Contact the Clean Diesel Grants Manager, Mark Sulzbach at 651-757-2770.