Tighter Ozone Standard Could Create New Opportunities for NGVs

On Friday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized a new national standard for ozone air quality.  The move could pave the way for more natural gas vehicles.  The new standard requires that average ozone levels be no more than 70 parts per billion, an increase in stringency from the current standard of 75 parts per billion established in 2008.

Ozone, or smog as it is sometimes called, “causes a number of harmful effects on the respiratory system, including difficulty breathing and inflammation of the airways.”  Ozone alert days most often occur during the summer months when temperatures are high and there is lots of sunlight.  A key contributor to ozone is nitrogen oxide (NOx), which is created in the combustion process in engines.  Natural gas engines offer superior benefits with the lowest NOx emissions among transportation fuels used today in high fuel use, medium- and heavy-duty trucking.

Cummins Westport Inc. (CWI) has received recent accolades after receiving CARB certification for an 8.9-liter natural gas engine that was certified to the cleanest standard available for NOx (0.02 g/bhp-hr) and demonstrated actual emissions far below even this level.  These engines will enter the market in 2016.

As required by the Clean Air Act, EPA anticipates making attainment/nonattainment designations for the revised standards by late 2017; those designations likely will be based on 2014–2016 air quality data.  For more information on the designations schedule and the rule, visit the EPA website.

This article was first published by NGV America.


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