Morenci takes advantage of 'clean diesel' initiative 2012.09.12

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Some areas of Michigan have a problem with dirty air and efforts are underway to make it cleaner. In rural areas such as Morenci, the air is clean and people want to keep it that way.

The City of Morenci is doing its part by joining in the state’s Clean Diesel Grant Program. Morenci now has a new dump truck—bought at half price through the grant—that’s burning cleaner and more efficiently than the nearly 30-year-old model it replaced.

City supervisor Barney Vanderpool said when he first became aware of the grant opportunity, he thought about using it to replace the Department of Public Works backhoe. He and deputy clerk Leasa Slocum attended a workshop in Lansing to learn details about the program and he decided to apply for funding to replace the older dump truck, also.

“We didn’t get it for the backhoe since the truck was older,” Vanderpool said.

The new diesel replaces a 1984 Ford truck that was still functioning, but not as efficiently and cleanly as the 2013 International.

“That’s what the grant was for,” Vanderpool said, “to get those old ones off the road.”

They’re not just off the road—they’re gone, never to return. The grant requires total decommissioning of old units.

“We drained fluids, drilled holes in the block and cut the frame in two,” Vanderpool said. 

After that it was sold for scrap.

Vanderpool said the unit came in $17,000 below budget, with a total price of $130,200. The City matched the 50 percent grant.

Vanderpool obtained price quotes for the chassis, box and snow plow, then Slocum handled the remainder of the project by filling out forms, communicating with officials from the Department of Environmental Quality’s Clean Diesel Grant Program, and using the EPA’s “quantifier program” to determine the expected reductions in emissions of nitrogen oxide (leading to high ozone levels), particulate matter, hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide.

Slocum will also track fuel consumed by the new truck. Using that data with the reductions in emissions, the overall effectiveness of the project will be determined.

A system will be set up to track emissions from all city-owned vehicles to help with decisions for additional clean diesel projects. The City does have some other older equipment that might qualify for the program, Vanderpool said, and he expects to take another look at Clean Diesel Grant opportunities in a couple of years.

Changes in diesel

The words “clean” and “diesel” were never paired in years past, but changes in fuel and in engine technology have changed that.

Since 2006, refineries have produced ultra-low-sulfur-diesel (ULSD) that cut sulfur dioxide levels dramatically. In addition, the fuel doesn’t clog up emissions control devices and allows additional cleaning. Several emission scrubbing processes are part of Morenci’s new truck.

Health concerns from diesel emissions can be a problem particularly for children, outdoor workers, the elderly and those with respiratory disease.

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