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RAQC Receives $2.7M from EPA for Diesel

Denver, Colo. – The Regional Air Quality Council (RAQC), the lead air quality planning agency for the Denver metropolitan area and a leader in advancing clean diesel technologies, received a $2.7 million Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) grant from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to pursue additional clean diesel outcomes.

Together with owners and operators of long haul fleets, the oil and gas industry, school districts, public works fleets, refuse haulers and other private fleets, RAQC will work to reduce harmful diesel emissions, greenhouse gases and fuel consumption in the ozone nonattainment area and along the Colorado Front Range. Efforts surrounding long haul and local trucking sectors will be focused on environmental justice areas around northeast Denver and Commerce City when possible.

“Cleaning up diesel vehicles continues to be a priority at both the State and Federal levels. The RAQC expects to maintain a strong diesel retrofit program using innovative technologies and reaching out to more fleets,” said Ken Lloyd, executive director of the RAQC.

The grant will fund projects in a number of targeted sectors, including an effort which will transform over-the-road trucks to improve efficiency and lower pollution through the installation of auxiliary power units (APUs) or fuel operated bunk heaters (FOH) that reduce the amount of time vehicles need to spend idling. Smartway trailer skirts or fairings and the option to install low rolling resistance tires will also be employed.

“The Regional Air Quality Council continues to find innovative ways to leverage clean diesel opportunities across a wide range of sources,” said Carol Rushin, EPA’s deputy regional administrator in Denver. “These funds will have an immediate impact on air quality in Front Range communities and beyond.”

On-Road retrofits will also be completed on vehicles from the oil and gas sector, private fleets, school districts and public works vehicles. Equipment that will be installed includes: new, cleaner vehicles for the oil & gas sector; diesel oxidation catalysts (DOCs) and closed crankcase filters (CCFs) that reduce tailpipe emissions; FOH for anti-idling; and hydraulic preheat and/or in cab heaters which also reduce the need to idle a vehicle to run power to the inside of the truck for heating, cooling, or electronics. 

This project will coordinate a large collaboration of public and private entities to create a comprehensive and regional approach to reducing emissions and fuel usage. The RAQC will accomplish project objectives by working with partners and area trucking fleets to advance the goals of the Smartway Trucking Program; Encana Oil & Gas, Inc. to provide new, cleaner vehicles for operation in Colorado, and eight school districts to retrofit a number of school buses. In addition, RAQC will educate partners on simple voluntary measures and encourage fleets to adopt policies that reduce unnecessary diesel emissions. Partner fleets will be responsible for educating operators on retrofit equipment and idling reduction efforts.

The RAQC will also work with the Rocky Mountain Clean Diesel Collaborative (RMCDC). The RMCDC assists with fleet identification and outreach activities regarding program operations.  The main goals in the RAQC’s diesel efforts are always to provide cost and fuel savings for fleets and to deliver cleaner air to the citizens of the Denver-metropolitan region.