Gladstein Neandross & Associates (GNA), a U.S. consulting firm specializing in market development for low emission and alternative fuel vehicle technologies, infrastructure and fuels has released a technical white paper that explores the need and leading approaches to immediately start deploying zero‑emission and near zero‑emission heavy‑duty vehicle (HDV) technologies on a wide‑scale basis in the United States.
Written on behalf of multiple private and public sector organizations, the white paper explains how near zero-emission engines using renewable natural gas provide a commercially proven and affordable strategy to achieve major reductions in emissions of criteria pollutants, air toxins and greenhouse gases from America’s on-road heavy-duty transportation sector.
With approximately 166 million Americans residing in areas with exceedingly poor air quality, and with greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from heavy-duty vehicles (HDVs) contributing to global climate change, America needs to more aggressively transform on-road HDVs to the lowest emission technologies and fuels available. The white paper has compared four fuel-technology combinations to address these goals and has concluded that there is only one pathway in highly impactful heavy-duty trucking applications that meets the commercial feasibility and logistics tests to immediately begin this transformation. This is near zero-emission heavy-duty natural gas vehicles fueled by increasing volumes of ultra-low-GHG renewable natural gas (RNG).
“As progressive corporations and municipalities across America are looking for ways to reduce their environmental footprint, we are seeing increased focus on the transportation sector to address sustainability goals,” says Erik Neandross, CEO of Gladstein, Neandross and Associates, co-author of the white paper. “This engine-fuel combination provides a phenomenal opportunity for progressive heavy-duty fleet operators to effectively eliminate emissions from their mobile operations.”
Heavy-duty natural gas engine technology available today is more than 90% cleaner than the most stringent applicable U.S. EPA standards for oxides of nitrogen (NOx). With such low emissions, this engine technology has a similar smog-precursor emission profile as that of a heavy-duty battery electric truck plugged into the cleanest electrical grid in the nation. These benefits, as well as significant reductions in GHG emissions, are achieved with HDVs fueled by conventional natural gas. When fueled with RNG (made from renewable waste stream sources such as landfill gas, dairy waste, waste water treatment plants and other sources), lifecycle GHG emissions are reduced by more than 80%.
The combination of new near-zero-emission natural gas engine technology and RNG provides the single best opportunity for the U.S. to achieve immediate and substantial NOx and GHG emission reductions in the on‑road heavy‑duty transportation sectors. Equally important, major reductions of cancer‑causing toxic air contaminants can immediately be realized in disadvantaged communities adjacent to freeways and areas of high diesel engine activity, where relief is most urgently needed.
This white paper also describes recommended actions for government and industry stakeholders that will help begin broad deployments of this engine/fuel combination. These recommendations include 1) establishing or strengthening national, state and local incentive funding programs to help produce and deploy these new-generation heavy-duty NGVs, and 2) developing focused efforts that help produce and transport RNG, where the economics and logistics are most conducive.