The California Air Resources Board (ARB) issued a grant solicitation for demonstration projects on zero-emission off-road equipment. ARB expects that up to $1 million will be available for this solicitation, although funding could be increased to a maximum of $5 million depending on the availability of state funds. The potential number of projects selected for funding is expected to be two, but up to five projects may be selected, the agency said.
The solicitation was issued under AB 118 Air Quality Improvement Program’s (AQIP), Advanced Technology Demonstration Projects and is intended to fund technologies on the cusp of commercialization with the potential for significant targeted reductions in criteria pollutants and greenhouse gas emission reduction co-benefits. The solicitation is open to local air districts or other California-based public agencies that demonstrate the requisite technical and administrative expertise.
Off-road equipment is a significant source of diesel PM, as well as NOx emissions that lead to ozone and secondary PM, ARB noted. Statewide, such equipment is responsible for a significant fraction of the total PM and NOx emissions from mobile diesel sources.
ARB said it ARB anticipates that there are a variety of technologies currently available that, when extended into new equipment types, will meet the objectives of the solicitation. For example, hydrogen fuel-cell lift trucks can be found in warehouse and distribution environments where hydrogen infrastructure has already being introduced—i.e., the economic barrier toward placement of additional fuel-cell equipment has been lowered due to past infrastructure investment, according to ARB.
Introducing additional hydrogen-based zero-emission technologies in the warehouse and distribution centers is a promising next step and an investment of AQIP Advanced Technology Demonstration Project funds can further reduce emissions locally and regionally.
In addition to hydrogen-based zero-emission technologies—and zero-emission transport refrigeration systems using fuel-cell, battery systems and cold plate technology to replace conventional diesel-fueled TRUs—recent advancements have been made in the electrification of equipment used in freight transport, ARB also notes. Cargo handling equipment and yard trucks has seen a strong push toward zero-emission technology driven both by economics and regulatory goals.