A University of Houston partnership that helped Houston avoid the title of Americas smoggiest city will soon help reduce emissions all over the state thanks to an $8.8 million grant from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).
The Texas Diesel Testing and Research Center at the University of Houston intends to use the grant to purchase a portable emission testing system and a heavy-duty engine dynamometer, a machine that tests an engine outside of the vehicle. The TCEQ grant was made possible by legislation from state Sen. Kip Averitt and state Rep. Dennis Bonnen, and will enable the UH facility to test technologies that should reduce nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions by more than 80 percent in an effort to comply with federal air quality guidelines.
The greater Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth areas are not in compliance with EPA guidelines for clean air, said Mike Harold, professor and chair of UHs Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and the co-principal investigator for the diesel project. These areas must reduce ozone levels or face cuts in the amount of federal highway funding they receive. To do this requires significant reductions in NOx emissions from stationary sources, such as power plants and refineries, as well as mobile sources. Industrial complexes are the easiest place to start, but we cant meet EPA and TCEQ requirements without tackling diesels.
Since 2002, the Texas Diesel Testing and Research Center has developed and tested emissions-reducing technologies to help reduce NOx emissions from city-owned vehicles.
The facility tested two promising technologies for the city of Houstons diesel fleet, but found that neither technology achieved the levels the city was looking for to reduce NOx emissions, which are precursor chemicals that react in the atmosphere to form ozone, a respiratory irritant that can cause permanent lung damage and are a key component of smog.
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|Contact: Ann Holdsworth|
University of Houston