According to the 2017 MPCA air quality report to the Legislature, about half of the air pollution in Minnesota comes from vehicles, both on-road (cars, trucks) and off-road (construction and other heavy equipment). And on a per-unit basis, older diesels (pre-2006 engines) are some of the heaviest polluters.
But newer diesel technology runs far cleaner. That’s why the MPCA offers grants to encourage owners of older equipment to swap out the old, dirty engines for newer, much cleaner-burning ones.
“Upgrading non-road diesel equipment can cut tailpipe emissions by up to 100% compared to old, high-polluting engines,” said Mark Sulzbach, MPCA clean diesel grants manager. “Frequently, new engines offer significant fuel savings, too.”
With this grant, the MPCA is adding money from the national Volkswagen settlement to sweeten the clean-diesel pot. Already this year, the MPCA has put out four other VW grants for various types of equipment. A new $1.1 million grant, released September 9, focuses on non-road diesel equipment such as forklifts, cranes, excavators, construction equipment, barge towboats, and even locomotive engines.
Recent MPCA grant projects include replacing two engines on a towboat used by LS Marine in St. Paul for dredging, and an old scrapyard excavator that Broadway Recycling in Minneapolis is replacing with an all-electric machine. Together, these two projects provide big reductions of fine-particle pollution — the equivalent of taking 7,600 cars off the road.
Another recent grant project added idling reduction equipment on two short-line locomotives owned by Twin Cities and Western (TC&W). These two locomotives will cut fine particles equivalent to taking another 40,000 cars off the road. In addition, TC&W will save nearly 9,000 gallons of fuel per year.
Engine replacement projects will be eligible for up to a 40% grant, and eligible total-equipment replacement projects can receive up to a 25% grant. Old engines must be disabled and scrapped so they cannot pollute again.
Updated deadline: Grant applications must be received by November 16 (2:30 p.m.).
For more information
See Diesel Emissions Reduction Act grants webpage for details on how to apply for grants.