Caterpillar Supports Diesel Particulate Filter Retrofits

Minimizing particulate emissions from diesel engines is critical to achieving greater transportation efficiency. It's also needed if biodiesel fuel use is to scale up significantly, reducing foreign oil dependency. The generic method for clean technology development goes roughly like this. 1.) Scan the horizon for "future drivers" that touch core markets [obviously includes the growing awareness of diesel emitted particulate matter as a human health risk]. 2.) Develop cost effective technology solutions as early as possible. 3.) Maintain good relationships with regulatory agencies. 4.) Support enabling legislation that helps solidify markets for what you develop. How do companies apply these principles to diesel engines already on the road? Caterpillar recently announced it's support of "legislation introduced in the United States Senate that will improve availability of clean-diesel emissions technology for older vehicles". Let hope we'll see similar support from other major players in the diesel power business.Here are some brief excerpts from the full press release on the Cat website: "The lead sponsor for the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act of 2005 is Sen George Voinovich (R-OH). Other sponsors of the bipartisan bill include Sen Thomas Carper (D-DE), Sen Hillary Clinton (D-NY), Sen Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Sen Johnny Isakson (R-GA)....The legislation proposes $1 billion in funding over five years in the form of grant and loan programs for states and other organizations looking to take part in retrofit opportunities for diesel-powered machines and engines. In addition to bipartisan support in Congress, the diesel industry is working with environmental groups to build support for the proposal"..."As a result of retrofits, Caterpillar customers have already removed more than 8,900 tons of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and more than 1,400 tons of particulate matter (PM) from the air," said Jim Parker, Caterpillar vice-president responsible for the Power Systems Marketing Division". Looks as if 'Cat' is doing all the right stuff.

The outlook for biodiesel improves significantly if this legislation moves forward, and funding approved. For futher explanation, have a look at "guilt free biodiesel", an a earlier post we did on global as well as US issues that shape the future for biodiesel. Perhaps Cat's support will have the corollary benefit of subduing the usual Think Tank opposition to such Federal programs? TreeHuggers, cross your fingers and toes.

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