It's Not Too Late (p.3)

September 28, 2010

Henkels & McCoy, a utility contractor based in Blue Bell, Pa., recently bought two medium-duty Peterbilt bucket trucks with Terex lifts on them and Eaton's diesel/electric hybrid power trains. The three manufacturers, in a development joint venture, offered the trucks at a 70-percent discount off of the $60,000 incremental cost per truck of the hybrid systems.

The manufacturing JV outfitted the trucks with telematic vehicle-tracking systems so that it can easily gather operating data on the trucks. Henkels & McCoy fit some of its conventional bucket trucks with GPS black boxes so that the contractor can compare the hybrids' operating data to that of conventional trucks.

"We're interested in emissions reduction, and we want to evaluate this type of equipment for the future because we know that the pressure to reduce diesel emissions is going to come on us sooner rather than later," says Bill Kokemor, fleet director for Henkels & McCoy.

The trucks will be deployed to Henkels' operations in eastern Pennsylvania and southern California. Kokemor points out that they will be earning their keep every minute they work.

"With fuel prices so high, there would be good reason to look into these trucks even if there weren't emissions benefits," he says. "The manufacturers claim they can save you 60 percent on fuel costs."

Henkels & McCoy operates about 300 of this class of bucket truck every day, so the company has a lot of incentive to check into hybrid-electric claims. The company bought the hybrid trucks without the financial assistance of grant money, but there is plenty of funding flowing right now to encourage contractors to try emissions-reducing hardware.

Provisions of the current highway authorization bill allow funds earmarked to reduce traffic-congestion-related pollution (Congestion Mitigation Air Quality) to be used in reducing off-road diesel emissions for the first time. This source, along with much of the money EPA brings in from air-pollution fines and out-of-court settlements and local and regional funding in air-quality nonattainment areas, is supplying millions of dollars every year to fuel the fledgling emissions-reduction market.

"About four years ago, Grace Pacific began to get sensitized to the issue of diesel emissions," says Lorne Fleming, equipment manager with Grace Pacific, a paving contractor based in Honolulu. "We were interested in looking to see what we could do to make Hawaii a little better place to live.

"Our manager of environmental compliance found out that there is a bunch of money floating around to help companies that are interested in getting on the bandwagon early and taking care of a problem that clearly is going to be more important as time goes on."

Funding and support for Grace Pacific's interest came from a public/private/environmental group called the West Coast Collaborative — an organization supported by the EPA's western region engaged in creating, and supporting emissions-reduction projects. The EPA Clean Diesel Initiative supports seven such collaboratives that extend technical and funding support for diesel emissions reduction efforts into all 50 states (see the map on page 36).

The West Coast Collaborative helped Grace find funds to support a three-pronged investment in cleaning up Grace Pacific's equipment. The company retrofit some equipment with DPFs, repowered a large loader and two rock trucks with clean new engines, and replaced a couple of large generators that power crushing plants.

Repowers were conducted by the local Caterpillar dealer. Grant money covered the cost difference between rebuilding the old engines and replacing them with ACERT-certified new diesels.

"We got much lower-emissions pieces of equipment back," says Fleming. "We got quite a bit less fuel consumption. We got a lot more power.

"We've eliminated all the troubles of having some slow vehicles and fast vehicles on the same haul road," he adds. "These trucks run with each other now, instead of passing each other or waiting to dump. It's made it much easier to run a smooth operation, especially in the quarry."

Just as ultra-low-sulfur diesel has been required in municipal transit operations for several years, the government has figured out ways to test diesel-emissions-reducing technologies on its own fleets, and on the fleets it hires. That's why federally funded projects like Boston's Big Dig, Connecticut's I-95, Chicago's Dan Ryan and O'Hare Modernization called for emissions retrofits. These projects have served as the field verification of aftertreatment technologies like DPFs and DOCs.

Now that the technologies have proven practical in the hands of some contractors, rulings requiring their use are beginning to roll out to the broader industry. Estimating operating costs to include in a bid could be a mystery of business-breaking proportions for users who've inadequately researched the technologies. That's why now is the time to check into the grant funding available to support emissions-reducing technologies.

Southeast Diesel Collaborative

-         Alabama

-         Florida

-         Georgia

-         Kentucky

-         Mississippi

-         North Carolina

-         South Carolina

-         Tennessee. 


Northeast Diesel Collaborative

-         Connecticut

-         New Jersey

-         New York

-         Maine

-         New Hampshire

-         Rhode Island

-         Vermont

-         Massachusetts


Blue Skyways Diesel Collaborative

-         Minnesota

-         Iowa

-         Nebraska

-         Missouri

-         Kansas

-         Arkansas

-         Oklahoma

-         Louisiana

-         Texas

-         New Mexico


West Coast Collaborative

-         California

-         Oregon

-         Washington

-         Alaska

-         Arizona

-         Idaho

-         Nevada

-         Hawaii

-         Canada

-         Mexico


Mid-Atlantic Diesel Collaborative

-         Delaware

-         Maryland

-         Virginia

-         Pennsylvania

-         West Virginia

-         District of Columbia


Midwest Clean Diesel Initiative

-         llinois

-         Indiana

-         Michigan

-         Minnesota

-         Ohio

-         Wisconsin


Rocky Mountain Clean Diesel Collaborative

-         Colorado

-         Montana

-         North Dakota

-         South Dakota

-         Utah

-         Wyoming

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The Running Green Series
Diesel Owners’ Turn to Carry the Clean-Air Ball
Breathing Easier with Aftertreatment
Emissions Regulations Squeeze Construction Equipment Owners
Construction Races Toward Using Biofuels
Reducing and Reusing Wastes Builds Leaner Shops