Project Green Fleet

Environmental Initiative’s Project Green Fleet (PGF) is a nationally award-winning, voluntary program that provides pollution control equipment for heavy diesel vehicles at low or no cost to participating fleets. We reduce emissions by retrofitting exhaust systems and replacing entire engines with newer, cleaner substitutes.

Project Green Fleet is a joint effort between Environmental Initiative and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) Program. Through this partnership, we’ve been able to retrofit more than 4,600 diesel vehicles across Minnesota with emission reduction equipment, including every single eligible school bus.

HOW IT WORKS

We recruit fleets to participate, coordinate installation of equipment, quantify diesel emissions reduced, as well as raise and administer large-scale grant funding for the project. Federal, state, and, private funds allow Environmental Initiative to provide pollution control equipment to fleets at lower costs. Replacement or repowering of engines requires some cost sharing from fleets.

Want to get involved? Contact Bjorn Olson at 612-334-3388 ext. 8113 to learn more about upgrading your diesel fleet. 

 

PILOT PROJECT TO STATEWIDE EFFORT

In 2005, Environmental Initiative launched a pilot-scale effort to reduce diesel emissions from school buses. A small number of school buses had pollution control equipment installed during the first year of the project, which was made possible through the financial support of Flint Hills Resources. Since then, Environmental Initiative’s Project Green Fleet has expanded its voluntary efforts to reduce emissions from Rochester to Roseau. Project Green Fleet has also diversified its efforts to include new technologies and other diesel vehicles beyond just school buses.

Today, approximately 3,200 buses and 1,400 heavy-duty diesel engines have been retrofitted or upgraded in Minnesota through Project Green Fleet. Through the support of our funders and partners, we were able to remove nearly 800,000 cars from the road every year and allow 300,000 school children to breathe easier.

PROJECT GOALS

  • Remove the emissions equivalent of 750,000 cars from the road per year by upgrading or retrofitting at least 100 more heavy-duty diesel engines statewide.
  • Continue a strategic communication effort to support the goal of doubling Project Green Fleet’s emission reductions car equivalent outcomes.
  • Support other mobile source emission-reductions, as appropriate and as resources allow.
  • Continue fundraising to achieve the emission reduction goal.

Project Green Fleet is one of several efforts underway to help achieve Clean Air Minnesota’s goal of reducing man-made sources of fine particulate matter (soot) and ground-level ozone precursor emissions (smog) by 10%.

Clean Air Minnesota is a diverse coalition of air quality leaders convened by Environmental Initiative who are working voluntarily and proactively to reduce air pollution.

Additional Project Information

Awards & Accomplishments

AWARDS

Environmental Initiative’s Project Green Fleet is an award-winning effort. To date we’ve received the following awards and recognition:

  • 2015 “Local Public Health Hero,” City of Minneapolis Health Department
  • 2011 Finalist, Best Green Campaign, Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce and Minnesota Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council’s  Leadership in Sustainability Award
  • 2009 Midwest Clean Diesel Initiative Leadership Award, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region V for significant, measurable improvements in air quality through the development and implementation of clean diesel actions.
  • 2009 Minnesota Governor’s Award for Pollution Prevention, recognizing superior environmental achievement by Minnesota’s businesses, nonprofits, government, and institutions.
  • 2008 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Clean Air Excellence Award, one of only two winners nationally in the community action category.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Environmental Initiative has worked with our fleet partners and vendors to:

  • Install pollution control equipment on 3,200 school buses allowing 300,000 children to breathe easier
  • Retrofit, repower, or upgrade more than 1,300 heavy-duty diesel engines including trucks, transit buses, trains, and construction equipment
  • Reduce particulate matter (PM) emissions by the equivalent of removing 750,000 cars from the road annually

Diesel Exhaust & Health

What is Diesel Exhaust?

Diesel exhaust is produced when an engine burns diesel fuel. Exhaust contains fine particles, or soot, as well as smog-forming elements that pollute our air. Approximately 40 different chemicals are found in diesel exhaust including 15 known carcinogens.

What are the Health Impacts?

  • Respiratory ailments including infection, lung inflammation and asthma
  • Repeated exposure is linked to chronic illnesses such and emphysema and bronchitis
  • Aggravation of cardiovascular and respiratory disease
  • Irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat

Who is Most At-Risk?

  • Children have growing lungs and a faster breathing rate than adults making them more susceptible to the effects of diesel exhaust
  • People with existing heart, lung or upper respiratory conditions can also be impacted.
  • The elderly are also more susceptible, particularly if immune systems are weak

Air Quality Resources

What is the Clean Air Act?
What are the Six Common Air Pollutants?
Where does Pollution Come from?
How is Air Quality Measured?
How does Air Quality Impact Health?
What Are the Health Effects of Diesel Exhaust?

Reports & Research

Clean Air Task Force
Diesel and Health in America: The Lingering Threat
http://www.catf.us/resources/publications/view/83

Clean Air Task Force
Diesel Soot Health Impacts
http://www.catf.us/diesel/dieselhealth/

Environment and Human Health, Inc.
Harmful Effects of Diesel Exhaust: A Case for Policy Change
http://www.ehhi.org/reports/exhaust/exhaust06.pdf

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – Region V
Midwest Clean Diesel Initiative
Air Quality Issues – http://www.epa.gov/midwestcleandiesel/concerns.html#airquality

Frequently Asked Questions

SCHOOL BUS FLEETS FAQ

Is participation in Project Green Fleet REALLY free?

Yes! The generous support of Project Green Fleet’s funders will cover all retrofit equipment and installation costs for school buses.

What types of pollution control equipment are installed on school buses?

Project Green Fleet installs two different pieces of pollution-control equipment on school buses: a diesel oxidation catalyst (DOC) and a fuel-fired heater. These cost-effective technologies reduce diesel exhaust by more than 25%, and also reduce idling.

What about long-term maintenance, costs, and warranties?

After installation, the DOC requires no ongoing maintenance. The heaters require minimum maintenance during the summer months. Installation of pollution control equipment has no effect on a vehicle’s existing warranty.

What about impact on school bus performance?

According to the US EPA’s voluntary retrofit program, retrofit devices like oxidation catalysts have minimal impact on a vehicle’s performance and fuel economy.

Which school buses are eligible for retrofits?

Project Green Fleets targets school buses that are likely to have five or more years of expected operating life, and that lack the emission controls found on some of the newest school buses (generally those built before 2007).

Where can I find more information about pollution control equipment?

More information about retrofit equipment and projects is available on the following websites:

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean School Bus Program
http://www.epa.gov/cleanschoolbus/retrofit.htm

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency –  What is Clean Diesel?
http://www.pca.state.mn.us/index.php/air/air-quality-and-pollutants/general-air-quality/motor-vehicle-pollution/cleaning-up-diesel-engines-in-minnesota.html

Diesel Technology Forum – http://www.dieselforum.org/

How can my school bus fleet participate in Project Green Fleet?

Fill out our online form and a staff member will be in contact with you to start the process. You can also contact Bjorn Olson at 612-334-3388 ext. 108 to sign up or ask questions.

How does participating in Project Green Fleet work?

Environmental Initiative has structured Project Green Fleet to be as easy as possible for fleet owners and operators. We coordinate the review of fleet information, installation of equipment and pay for installation and equipment costs. Read More »

OTHER DIESEL FLEETS FAQ

What kinds of diesel vehicles are eligible to participate?

Project Green Fleet installs pollution control equipment, idle reduction technologies and replaces older engines with new, cleaner running engines on a range of diesel fleets including, but not limited to:

  • Dump trucks
  • Cement mixers
  • Off-road construction equipment
  • Trains
  • Port facility fleets

What types of equipment are installed through Project Green Fleet?

Project Green Fleet installs are range of pollution control and idle reduction equipment on fleets of many sizes and times. Read More »

What does it cost to participate in Project Green Fleet?

The generous support of Project Green Fleet’s funders cover all equipment and installation costs for Diesel Oxidation Catalysts, Closed Crankcase Filtration Systems, Diesel Multistage Filtration Systems, Diesel Particulate Matter Filtration Systems and Auxiliary Power Units.  A percentage of the cost and installation is covered for equipment repowers and vehicle replacements. Project Funders »

Will the equipment impact my existing warranty?

Installation of pollution control equipment has no effect on a vehicle’s existing warranty. Certified engine repowers are done with manufacturer’s certified equipment and installers, so that the existing warranty remains intact.

Does the equipment have any impact on vehicle performance?

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s voluntary retrofit program, oxidation catalysts and closed crankcase filtration devices have minimal impact on a diesel vehicle’s performance and fuel economy. Some of the other retrofit technologies have a minimal impact on performance

What kind of maintenance does pollution control equipment require?

Depending on the technology that is installed, there will be varying levels of maintenance required.  For example:

  • Diesel Oxidation Catalyst – No maintenance
  • Closed Crankcase Filtration System – Filter change, twice per year
  • Diesel Multi-Stage Filtration System – No maintenance, but must operate with a minimum exhaust temperature.
  • Diesel Particulate Filter – Requires periodic cleaning by a special machine, most maintenance intensive

Where can I find more information about pollution control or idle reduction equipment?

More information about retrofit equipment and projects is available on the following websites:

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Smartway Transport Program

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean School Bus Program

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency –  What is Clean Diesel?

Diesel Technology Forum

How does participating in Project Green Fleet work?

Environmental Initiative has structured Project Green Fleet to be as easy as possible for fleet owners and operators. We coordinate the review of fleet information, installation of equipment and pay for installation and equipment costs.

Emission & Idle Reduction Technologies

There are many ways to upgrade or ‘retrofit’ a diesel vehicle. Technologies range in cost, level of maintenance required and emission reductions achieved. Below is a summary of pollution control technologies offered through Project Green Fleet.

 

DIESEL RETROFIT

A diesel retrofit is any technology, device, fuel or system that when applied to an existing diesel engine achieves emissions reductions beyond what is currently required by federal regulations at the time of the engine’s certification.

DIESEL OXIDATION CATALYST (DOC)

A DOC is a device that catalyzes a chemical reaction to reduce pollution from the tailpipe of a diesel vehicle. The DOC can be installed ahead of the existing muffler or as a unit combined with a muffler. Much like a catalytic converter on a car, once a DOC is installed, it rarely requires maintenance.

CLOSED CRANKCASE FILTRATION SYSTEM (CFS)

A crankcase filtration system (CFS) closes off the crankcase circuit by filtering engine blow-by gases and then returning the exhaust to the combustion cycle. It will reduce engine oil consumption (up to 6 gallons per year) and improves in-cabin air quality. A filter is replaced after 500 hours of operation or after each oil change, which is the only ongoing maintenance associated with this piece of equipment.

FUEL-OPERATED HEATER (FOH) 

A fuel-operated heater (FOH) is a small heater that is run as an alternative to the main bus engine. It prepares the engine to start and provides heat for drivers and passengers, and lowers emissions by reducing idling time and limiting fuel use.

DIESEL MULTISTAGE FILTRATION SYSTEM (DMF)

The DMF uses a two-stage metallic filter to trap and reduce diesel particulate matter (PM), hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide. Each filter stage consists of alternating layers of a corrugated metal and a porous sintered metal fleece. The DMF is designed to be maintenance free, but must operate with a minimum exhaust temperature in order to be effective.

DIESEL PARTICULATE MATTER FILTRATION SYSTEM (DPF)

The DPF is a ceramic device that collects particulate matter in the exhaust stream and oxidizes it into less harmful components using the high temperature of the exhaust. DPFs reduce emissions of particulate matter, hydrocarbons, and carbon monoxide by up to 90 percent. While DPFs yield the highest emission reductions, they also have the highest level of maintenance and require periodic cleaning by a special machine. The frequency of cleanings depends on the ability of the exhaust temperature to be maintained over 200 degrees C. Lower exhaust temperatures result in more particulate matter accumulating on the filter instead of burning off.

AUXILIARY POWER UNITS AND GENERATOR SETS (APU/GS)

APU/GS devices supply cooling, heating, and electrical power to vehicles that would otherwise require the operation of the main drive engine. This reduces unnecessary idling while the vehicle is temporarily parked or remains stationary.

DIESEL ENGINE REBUILD

A diesel engine rebuild involves refurbishing an existing diesel engine to improve efficiency. Engine rebuilding can significantly reduce emissions in some cases.

DIESEL ENGINE REPOWER

A diesel engine repower is the replacement of an old engine with a new cleaner-running engine that is certified to a more stringent set of emissions standards.

BATTERY AIR CONDITIONING SYSTEMS (BAC)

A battery air conditioning system uses batteries to power and independent cooling system on long haul, Class 8 trucks. This system allows the vehicle operator to turn off the main diesel engine, using the BAC to keep the cabin cool and reduce emissions. Typically, a BAC is integrated with a fuel-operated heater to also supply heating.

Technologies implemented by Project Green Fleet are verified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency or California Air Resources Board.