Schaeffer: 'Obama administration ignoring clean diesel'

The White House shouldn't underplay clean diesel's efficiency, power and ultra-low emissions.
By Ron Kotrba | March 22, 2012

Obama begins his four-state “all-of-the-above” energy tour today in Nevada, and like many who are in the energy sector, Allen Schaeffer, Diesel Technology Forum executive director, has strong words for the president.

First, Schaeffer is urging the administration not to continue pursuing energy policies and federal subsidies that favor select energy sources over others.

“We support the concept of President Obama’s ‘all-of-the-above’ energy strategy,” Schaeffer said in a press release, “but we are also concerned by the administration’s policies and budget proposals that clearly prioritize favored energy sources over other energy sources.”

Schaeffer said that the administration’s energy agenda “has focused on select energy sources—some of which are in developmental stages or won’t be functional for many years or even decades. Whether they prove to be practical and efficient in the U.S. will be seen at some point in the future.”

He added that the Obama administration is “ignoring” clean diesel technology—and the significant achievements made in reduced emissions, increased efficiencies and power in on-road clean diesel technology over the past decade—in its energy agenda “while billions and billions of federal dollars are being proposed for other energy sources that will require massive new national infrastructure systems simply to become operational,” Schaeffer said.

Clean diesel technology has reduced on-road heavy-duty truck and bus emissions by astounding numbers: NOx by 99 percent; 98 percent for particulate emissions; sulfur emissions by 97 percent. And the best part is, these same results will be had in all diesel markets eventually, thanks to U.S. EPA regulations and technology developed for OEMs as a result of those standards.

“American consumers are enacting their own energy policy that increasingly includes clean diesel technology,” Schaeffer said. “Diesel auto sales in the U.S. increased by 27 percent in 2011 and are up 32 percent in 2012, according to sales information compiled by and Baum and Associates. There’s no question that diversifying America’s energy sources is important, but equally important is leveraging the existing technologies that are already reducing our dependence on foreign oil and using advanced renewable biofuels.”

Schaeffer said it would take 60 of today’s clean diesel trucks to equal the same emissions from one pre-1988 truck. “This 60-to-1 ratio is a vivid example of the remarkable advances in clean diesel technology.”

In related news, check out Bryan Sims’ story on advanced biofuel producers Amyris and Solazyme partnering with automaker Volkswagen for on-road fuel performance and emissions testing in Volkswagen passenger vehicles.