The Texas Diesel Testing and Research Center at the University of Houston, in partnership with the Texas Department of Transportation, has been awarded a $500,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to test a system designed to reduce emissions produced by construction vehicles.
"Improving air quality is one of TxDOT's five core goals, and this grant helps us to accomplish that mission," TxDOT Deputy Executive Director Steve Simmons said. "We look forward to working with the University of Houston, as well as the Environmental Protection Agency, to continue to find ways to reduce emissions from construction equipment."
UH's researchers will supervise the installation of Nett Technologies' BlueMAX selective catalytic reduction system, which is classified by the EPA as an emerging technology, on five TxDOT nonroad vehicles. They then will do testing and analysis on the BlueMAX's ability to reduce emissions, which will provide the EPA with real-world performance data.
"Houston is an ideal urban area to obtain maximum benefits from diesel retrofits, because it has a high population density, poor air quality and is not meeting ozone standards due in large part to the nitrogen oxides emitted by diesel-powered vehicles and equipment," explained professor Mike Harold, co-principal investigator of the Texas Diesel Testing and Research Center. "Over half of total mobile-source NOx emissions are attributed to diesel engines in the greater Houston area."
The team will do what Harold calls "a baseline emissions assessment" of each vehicle before the BlueMAX unit is installed. After the installation, the team will monitor the unit's performance using a portable emission measurement system, which is connected to the vehicle during operation in the field.
UH's diesel-testing facility, established in 2003 to carry out evaluation, technology development and research of heavy-duty diesel emissions devices and new fuels, is
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University of Houston