The EPA has awarded more than $165,000 to MIT, the city of Cambridge and Massport for diesel retrofits.
MIT and Cambridge, working together through the Clean Diesel Collaborative for a Healthy Cambridge, will retrofit 34 medium- and heavy-duty vehicles with a range of pollution control equipment, including oxidation catalysts, crankcase filters, and particulate matter filters. The project also calls for a switch to ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel for some vehicles, biodiesel, and cetane enhancers.
Last fall, Cambridge adopted B20 biodiesel for the majority of its large vehicle fleet. Now more than 80 city-owned vehicles, including garbage trucks, construction vehicles, and about a dozen city-owned school buses, run on B20. MIT is now introducing biodiesel into its diesel fleet.
Massport, the public authority which develops, promotes and manages airports, the seaport and transportation infrastructure in Massachusetts, is using its grant to install oxidation catalysts on a total of 36 land-based diesel vehicles including tractors and reach stackers used at the Conley Container Terminal and delivery trucks serving the terminal. Massport already uses ultra low-sulfur diesel in its vehicles.
In May 2004, EPA made available $1.6 million in grant funds for diesel retrofit projects that benefit sensitive populations—children, the elderly, and the chronically ill—who are more susceptible to the effects of diesel exhaust. All six of the New England states have childhood asthma rates above 10%. In Massachusetts, lifetime asthma rates in children are estimated to be 12.3%. Diesel exhaust contains small particles that can cause lung damage and aggravate conditions like asthma and bronchitis. EPA has determined that diesel exhaust is a likely human carcinogen, and can contribute to other acute and chronic health effects.