Wednesday, November 25, 2015

MPCA offers $270,000 to clean up big, old diesel engines

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) encourages owners of older diesel engines to apply for a total of $270,000 in federal grant funding to improve their fleets and reduce the impact of these engines on air quality.

 "Bring us your old, fully operating garbage trucks, bulldozers or barges and let's clean them up," said Mark Sulzbach, MPCA's Clean Diesel grants manager. "Since 2006, MPCA Clean Diesel grant efforts, along with our partners Environmental Initiative and Project Green Fleet, have reduced diesel emissions equivalent to taking 750,000 cars off the road. That's about 45 tons of soot out of our air."

MPCA's projects have reduced pollution on everything from a rock crusher to a paddleboat. This past summer, MPCA grants helped to replace some garbage trucks and long-haul tanker trucks for milk and propane. A few years ago, grants were awarded for new engines on old construction cranes and for diesel-electric hybrid delivery trucks.

Large diesels manufactured prior to 2007 spew far more than their share of harmful pollution, so upgrading or replacing these engines is a good investment.  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that every dollar spent on reducing diesel pollution saves 13 dollars in health care costs. On the owner's side, upgrades can reduce pollution exposure to drivers and reduce fuel and maintenance costs.

"The grants are incentives, not gifts," Sulzbach said. "Owners must have some skin in the game."  New engines or "repowers" require owners to pay for 60 percent of the project. Replacing a truck or piece of construction equipment requires owners pay 75 percent. It's still a strong incentive to upgrade a diesel fleet, considering that a new class 8 truck can cost $100,000. 

The grants require that vehicles to be upgraded are fully operational, and if the engine is replaced, the old engine is permanently disabled so it can't pollute again.

Visit for application materials (see the box at the top of the page). Applications are due by 2:30 p.m. on January 7. 

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