UH Tests Dirty Diesel Cleaners

Diesel engines last a long time, so the only practical way to reduce emissions is to retro-fit them with devices that reduce nitrogen oxide. Rod Rice reports the University of Houston's Diesel Testing Center will be testing an emerging technology designed for construction equipment.

This will be done with a 500-thousand dollar grant from the EPA. The device is similar to a catalytic converter on a car. It's designed for large off road vehicles according the UH professor Mike Harold.

"The units are installed on the vehicle, it's a retro-fit technology, and then we have a mobile analytical unit where we can go to the vehicle and monitor emissions while the vehicle's in operation."

Harold says the field testing over time is a key component of finding out how effective devices like this are.

"It's a group of technologies that they call emerging technologies that are not quite ready for the market, but  EPA wants to see how the technologies work under realistic conditions to go to the next step toward commercialization."

Retro-fitting is an important part of cleaning the air because there are a lot of older diesel engines with a lot of years left in them. But Harold says retro-fitting has its own problems.

"It's a tough road because all engines are different sizes and types and different driving conditions so the technology has to be married to the particular vehicle type and engine size. That's really the challenge.  It's actually easier to develop technology for new vehicles."

Professor Harold says the tests will be conducted over two-years.

Bio photo of Rod Rice

Rod Rice

Local Anchor, Morning Edition

Rod Rice became fascinated with radio at an early age, while sitting on his Grandfather’s lap listening to his "programs" on the big Emerson Radio...