Some Toxic Car Emissions On the Way Out

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Most people are familiar with automobile air emissions. Perhaps one day there will only be electric cars and no car air emissions. But there are many on other engines in use by commercial and industrial operations that may cause air emissions. In general these are called reciprocating internal combustion engines, or RICE.

On February 17, the Environmental Protection Agency issued a final rule that will further reduce emissions of toxic air pollutants from existing diesel powered stationary reciprocating internal combustion engines.

The EPA estimates that there are more than 900,000 of these engines that generate electricity and power

equipment at industrial, agricultural and other facilities. Industrial facilities use these engines to generate electricity for compressors and pumps as well as grind wood and crush stone. They also are used in emergencies to produce electricity to pump water for flood and fire control.

Diesel oil when burned will emit small amounts of unburnt organic material. These might include formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, acrolein, and methanol.

The intent of the new rules is to further reduce these types of air emissions.  These toxic air pollutants, also known as hazardous air pollutants or air toxics, are those pollutants known or suspected of causing cancer and other serious health effects.

Operators of non-emergency engines will be required to add on additional control devices to reduce these air emissions by as much as 70 percent. Selected engines will also have to be of a certain horsepower and age.

All regulated engines will also have to burn ultra low sulfur fuel oil. Burning such a fuel will reduce diesel particulates air emissions that are formed as sulfates.

For further information: EPA fact sheet (PDF)

Article appearing courtesy Environmental News Network.

photo: Greg Chiasson

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