New Thinking on Long-term Role for Natural Gas to Help Clean Up the Transportation Sector

Gladstein, Neandross & Associates releases white paper examining new natural gas technology pathways to meet California’s near- and long-term air quality and climate protection goals. View the full GNA report »

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SANTA MONICA, CA – Jan. 27, 2014 – Gladstein, Neandross & Associates (GNA), North America’s leading consulting firm for alternative transportation fuels and technologies, today released a report examining the critical role that ultra-low-emission heavy-duty natural gas engines can play in helping California achieve its air quality, climate protection and petroleum-displacement goals.

The Pathways to Near-Zero-Emission Natural Gas Heavy Duty Vehicles report, authored by GNA on behalf of Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas), showcases the technologies currently under development that could deliver near-zero-emission heavy-duty natural gas engines by the end of this decade.

The report also calls on California policy makers to enact policies and programs to encourage the development and commercialization of these ultra-low-emission motor vehicle technologies, which will accelerate replacement of the existing diesel-fueled heavy-duty vehicle fleet with state-of-the-art engine technologies.

California’s transportation sector is its largest source of harmful greenhouse gases, toxic air contaminants, and “ozone-precursor” gases that cause photochemical smog. Presently, diesel-fueled heavy-duty on- and off-road vehicles and equipment are the largest sources of smog-forming gases and airborne toxic soot.

California’s air quality regulators recognize that current plans to meet air quality deadlines will fall short of Federally-mandated deadlines and that more must be done for the state to achieve these smog-reduction and long-range climate protection goals.

“We must accelerate the commercialization and deployment of ultra-low emission heavy-duty vehicles—in addition to all that is being achieved with light-duty vehicles—to clean up California’s air, particularly in the hard hit South Coast Air Basin and San Joaquin Valley,” said Cliff Gladstein, President of GNA and one of the authors of the report.

In the heavy-duty vehicle sector, which has lagged behind the light-duty sector in both low-emissions regulations and technological innovation to reduce emissions, the best approach for achieving very aggressive emissions-reduction goals will involve greater flexibility for manufacturers to achieve near zero emissions.

Specifically, the GNA report identifies near-zero-emission, natural gas-fueled heavy-duty vehicles as a key strategy that can significantly enhance California’s efforts to achieve its challenging air quality and climate goals.

“In order to meet stringent air quality targets, regulators can expand the menu of options available to the market,” noted Gladstein, “Heavy-duty natural gas engines are on a trajectory to achieve ultra-low-emission levels that will provide air quality planners with a crucial tool in their efforts to restore clean air to California sooner. By combining advanced, near zero emission natural gas technologies in the heavy-duty sector with innovations already being deployed in the light-duty sector (electric drive, plug-in hybrids, fuel cells, and near-zero emission natural gas vehicles), a strategy becomes available to bring California more expeditiously towards achieving ambient air quality standards.”

The report details the technologies currently under development that will reduce emissions form heavy-duty natural gas engines to the equivalent of those from contemporary natural gas combined cycle power plants producing electricity for battery-electric vehicles of comparable size.

These technologies include, but not limited to, advanced after treatment and waste heat recovery, lean-burn plus lean-NOx emissions traps, integration of zero-emission miles technologies, further refinements in reducing friction and parasitic energy losses, and widespread utilization of renewable and natural gas and hydrogen blends. Integration of these technologies will increase the likelihood that California can meet smog reduction requirements, and also help heavy-duty natural gas engines meet the 2050 goal to reduce GHG emissions by 80 percent.

Cliff Gladstein will present key findings and recommendations outlined in the report today at the Los Angeles-based VerdeExchange Conference at the L.A. Hotel Downtown. The panel, entitled “Sustainable Transportation: Trains, Buses and Fleets,” will take place at 2:35 p.m. and will include a question and answer session following the presentation.

Access the “Pathways to Near-Zero Emissions” report here »

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FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Jon Leonard, Gladstein, Neandross and Associates
(949) 852-7390 | Jon.leonard@gladstein.org

Sarah Gallagher, Gladstein, Neandross & Associates
310-573-8561 | Sarah.gallagher@gladstein.org