- WEB EXCLUSIVE
- PE COFFEEHAUS
On March 5, 2002, at the Mayflower Hotel, in Washington, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency honored them with the 2001 Clean Air Excellence Awards for their commitment to preventing air pollution and improving air quality across the United States.
“I congratulate the winners of the 2001 Clean Air Excellence Awards competition,” said Christine Todd Whitman, administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. “These awards recognize organizations and individuals that have developed clean air projects and programs that truly show innovative and creative thinking.”
The Metropolitan Transit Authority New York City Transit Department of Buses received the award for its Clean Fuel Buses Program. The three core elements of the program include the purchase of hybrid-electric buses, the use of ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) fuel and the retrofitting of diesel engines. Through these three elements, the Clean Fuel Bus Program has significantly reduced particulate sulfur oxide and nitrogen oxide emissions.
The hybrid-electric buses provide 20 to 50 percent better fuel efficiency. NYC Transit’s orders for and use of 325 hybrid-electric buses has directly led to commercial offerings of such vehicles. In addition, the decision to switch its entire diesel fleet to ULSD has resulted in commercialization of the fuel by Phillips Petroleum. The fuel produces 90 percent less sulfur and will make it possible for other large fleets to switch to ULSD fuel as well.
In addition, NYC Transit is retrofitting the diesel fleet with catalytic particulate filters manufactured by Johnson Matthey. These filters reduce particulate emissions by 94 percent. NYC Transit will meet air quality regulations five years in advance of EPA requirements.
NYC Transit has also replaced or “re-powered” its two-stroke diesel engines with the latest four-stroke Detroit Diesel Series 50 engines that meet EPA’s more stringent emissions standards for urban buses. The new engines are the first to use exhaust gas re-circulation to significantly reduce nitrogen oxide emissions. By using these new engines, NYC Transit is providing an important test market to help engine manufacturers develop and perfect the technology.
CSX Transporation Inc. received the award for its Locomotive Emission Reduction System. Serving the 48 contiguous states and Canada, CSX Transportation has designed, patented, installed and made available a new Auxilary Pwer Unit (APU) system for the rail industry. This system significantly reduces exhaust emissions from locomotive engines.
Using a small 40-horsepower engine/generator combination, the APU system reduces the idling time of the main engine. APU use has reduced emissions of nitrogen oxides by 91 percent, hydrocarbons by 94 percent, carbon monoxide by 96 percent and particulate matter by 84 percent. Fuel savings for CSXT’s fleet of 3,600 locomotives is estimated to be 25 to 30 million gallons of diesel fuel per year.
CSXT will apply 800 APU systems in 2002, and anticipates applying the same quantities in subsequent years. The APU system is retrofit for all electro-motive division manufactured locomotives and will be available throughout the rail industry.
Orbital Engine Corp. Inc. received the award for the Orbital Combustion Process. The company developed a combustion process that achieves significant improvements in both fuel economy and emissions capabilities of gasoline engines. The system uses low-pressure air as a propellant to inject a precisely controlled, finely atomized cloud of fuel directly into the combustion chamber. This significantly reduces the level of unburned hydrocarbons.
Marine and motorcycle customers currently using the Orbital Combustion Process in their two-stroke engines have reduced emissions by about 75 percent, while increasing fuel economy by at least 30 percent. In an automotive application, an Orbital test vehicle demonstrated a fuel economy improvement of 13 percent, using a conventional low-cost, three-way automotive catalytic converter manufactured by Johnson Matthey. When combined with a lean NOx catalyst, the fuel economy improvement can be as high as 20 percent. Preliminary testing has also demonstrated that the Orbital Combustion Process can help in meeting EPA’s ultra-low emissions vehicle requirements.
Intel Corp. received the award for its Instantly Available PC Technology. Intel developed the Instantly Available Personal Computer (IAPC) that allows a computer to be placed into a deep sleep state, but can easily be awakened very quickly when required. Computers with Intel IAPC technology save energy by automatically powering down and going to sleep during periods of inactivity. Once the computer is in sleep mode, it takes less than five seconds for the computer to “wake up” and be ready for use.
It is no longer necessary to power down the computer when it is not being used, and then to power on and boot the computer to use it again. Sleep power consumption is so low that the PC is silent (a fan is not required) and does not heat the air. With Intel IAPC technology, power consumption when in standby/sleep mode is under five watts. This far exceeds EPA’s Energy Star requirement of 15 watts while still retaining full communications capabilities in sleep state.
Lehigh University, Georgia-Pacific Corp., and Gibson Technologies Inc. received the award collectively for developing a process converting pulp mill waste streams to useful, value-added chemicals. The production of pulp for papermaking generates a significant amount of methanol and mercaptans (sulfurous compounds). The paper industry collects and treats these compounds by incineration at elevated temperatures. However, treatment processes release carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides into the atmosphere.
Now, an innovative catalytic process developed by Professor Israel E. Wachs of Lehigh University, Georgia-Pacific Corp. and Gibson Technologies Inc. allows the paper industry to virtually eliminate these sources of CO2, SOx, and NOx while making profitable commodity chemicals, formaldehyde and sulfur dioxide from these waste streams. In addition, the NOx is reduced to N2 and H2O over the catalyst. A profit of about $1 million per year is estimated for a 2,000 ton per day pulp mill.
In the United States alone, this new process could reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 4,000 tons per year, if applied industry-wide. Proportionate reductions could be achieved for sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, depending on the levels encountered in the mills. (For more specific information on this environmentally benign catalytic process, see January 2002 Pollution Engineering, Pulp Non-fiction, pgs. 24-28.)
By Gale Wachs