"The established goal of improving fuel economy by 20% for commercial vehicles in the Advanced Combustion Engine Research and Development program has the potential to save more energy than the electrification of one million cars." – Allen Schaeffer
WASHINGTON, April 14, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Federal energy research and development programs that will play a significant role in helping the U.S. achieve a 20 percent increase in freight fuel economy should not have their funding dramatically reduced this year, the Diesel Technology Forum (DTF) stated in testimony submitted for today's Congressional hearing by the U.S. Sen. Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development.
In the testimony, DTF Executive Director Allen Schaeffer stated the dramatic reduction in funding for the Advanced Combustion Engine Research and Development program (ACE R&D) and the Vehicle Technologies Program (VTP) in the proposed Fiscal Year 2012 budget would significantly decrease advances in freight fuel efficiency. These programs are funded under the U.S. Dept. of Energy's Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) budget.
"There is an incontrovertible and established need to improve energy efficiency of the nation's commercial vehicles," Schaeffer stated. "Commercial diesel-powered trucks are the backbone of the U.S. Economy and the prime movers of the nation's goods movement system, and will be for the foreseeable future. Fuel consumption in this sector is projected to continue to grow with the economy.
"Past EERE engine and vehicle efficiency programs have delivered substantial and well-documented economic, energy and environmental benefits to society. However the continued progress of these efforts is in jeopardy due to an imbalanced FY 2012 budget request."
Schaeffer said the FY 2012 EERE budget proposes to substantially reduce ACE R&D by 12.4 percent from FY 2010 Appropriated levels ($55.987M to $49M); a reduction of $5 million for Fuels technologies; and reduction of $2-3M in Materials Technologies.
Proven Energy Programs Should Be Included In National Energy Strategy
"A national energy strategy should seek to balance investments in near-term and long-term energy-saving strategies," Schaeffer said. "Proven incremental gains in efficiency from existing fuels and technologies, particularly in sectors that use the most energy today without viable alternatives for the future must be a cornerstone of the national energy program and funded accordingly. While battery development and electric-powered vehicles may hold great promise, so too should investments in programs with assured near-term efficiency gains.
"The diesel engine is the prime mover of America's transportation, infrastructure and goods movement today and for the foreseeable future. Now near zero emissions and still as the most energy efficient internal combustion engine (30 percent more efficient than gasoline), clean diesel technology has made great progress and has substantial future potential efficiency gains to meet future societal goals."
20% Improvement in Commercial Vehicle Fuel Efficiency Saves More Energy
Than One Million Electric Cars
"The established goal of improving fuel economy by 20 percent for commercial vehicles in the ACE R&D has the potential to save more energy than the electrification of one million cars," Schaeffer stated. "Past investments have contributed to diesel engine manufacturers being able to meet the most stringent emissions standards on record, resulting in today's clean diesel technology with near zero emissions of ozone forming compounds (nitrogen oxides) and particulate matter. The total health and environmental benefits in terms of savings in air pollution and energy savings exceed $70 billion dollars."
Adequate DOE Program Funding Can Assure 50% Increase in Freight Fuel Efficiency
"Adequate DOE program funding can assure that the commercial vehicle, engine and SuperTruck program goals of 50 percent increase in freight efficiency (ton-miles per gallon) will be more likely to be met," Schaeffer said.
"Truck and engine manufacturers face the unique challenge of competing societal demands of improved efficiency, near-zero emissions while meeting customer demands for lowest cost of operation. Significant investments in research are required but there are diminishing opportunities to recoup the substantial investments needed to meet these goals with only an average 200,000 -250,000 heavy duty trucks sold annually. A fully funded SuperTruck program can assure these goals are more likely to be accomplished earlier than if companies alone shoulder larger research demands."
ABOUT THE DIESEL TECHNOLOGY FORUM
The Diesel Technology Forum is a non-profit national organization dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of diesel engines, fuel and technology. Forum members are leaders in clean diesel technology and represent the three key elements of the modern clean-diesel system: advanced engines, vehicles and equipment, cleaner diesel fuel and emissions-control systems. For more information visit www.dieselforum.org.
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SOURCE Diesel Technology Forum