The California Air Resources Board has announced a US$7 million (€5.68 million) grant to the automotive industry organization CALSTART to build and operate cleaner, greener Class 8 heavy-duty trucks known as big rigs or 18-wheelers.



Big rigs, like this one on a California highway, make up about seven percent of the vehicles on U.S. roads,
but they consume close to 25 percent of all fuel used in the country. April 2017. (Photo by David Guo)


The project will build and install Achates Power Opposed-Piston Engines in Class 8 demonstration trucks that will operate in fleet service in California in 2020.


These trucks are expected to achieve a 90 percent reduction in nitrogen oxides (NOx), and a 15 to 20 percent diesel fuel efficiency improvement over current models.


Big rigs are a major source of smog, of toxic chemical pollution, and of fine particle soot linked to cancer and respiratory problems.


“Heavy trucks are energy hogs,” Luke Tonachel, senior vehicles analyst at the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Energy and Transportation program, told ThinkProgress. The big rigs make up about seven percent of the vehicles on the road in the United States, but they consume about 25 percent of all fuel used in the country.


The new project is part of the California Air Resources Board’s Low Carbon Transportation and Fuels Investments and Air Quality Improvement Program.


California’s ultra-low NOx emissions standard is 0.02 grams per brake horsepower-hour. This project will demonstrate the first diesel engine to comply with the state standard.


In addition, the engine will emit 10 percent less of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) than the 2027 federal greenhouse gas requirement.


CALSTART, an industry organization with more than 185 transport-related member companies, will serve as the project grantee and administrator.


California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District, the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District and the Sacramento Metro Air Quality Management District also are investing in the project.


Funding for the grant comes from California Climate Investments, a statewide program that puts billions of cap-and-trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy and improving public health and the environment.


California's cap-and-trade program creates a financial incentive for industries to invest in clean technologies and develop innovative ways to reduce their carbon pollution.


California Governor Jerry Brown's proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2018-19 includes $1.25 billion in funding for California Climate Investments. 



By Sunny Lewis

Environment News Service (ENS)