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$1M EPA "Clean diesel" grant awarded to UNL's Nebraska transportation center

The Nebraska Transportation Center, part of UNL’s College of Engineering, received a $1 million grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to retrofit approximately 188 long haul commercial trucks with auxiliary power units (APUs). The grant is a partnership between NTC and various trucking firms in EPA Region VII which includes Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri.

The work will entail installing EPA-verified idle reduction technologies, with funding to cover 60 percent of the retrofit components and installation cost, and fleet owners paying the remaining 40 percent. The benefits of the project are two-fold: the project will create and preserve employment for truck drivers, dealerships, body shops, equipment installers, manufacturers, and the university; the project will also significantly reduce fuel usage while protecting air quality throughout Region VII. The impact of the project is projected to last throughout the expected lifetimes of these long-haul trucking, delivery, construction, and utility trucks—an average of 20 to 25 years each.

This competitive “Clean Diesel” project, funded through America’s Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, is led by NTC’s Director Larry Rilett, Ph.D., who is the Keith W. Klassmeyer Chair in Engineering & Technology and a professor of civil engineering at UNL.

“This project came about through a partnership between the Nebraska Trucking Association, NTC and various trucking firms throughout Region VII,” said Rilett. “This project will benefit the economies of the states that make up Region VII as well as the health of the citizens in this area—and we are pleased that NTC can help to make a difference.”

The EPA grant also will enable NTC to provide ongoing assistance for equipment selection, purchasing, installation, and follow-up service, as well as continuing outreach to the industry on current and emerging technology and regulations.

“These Clean Diesel grants provide an excellent opportunity to upgrade diesel fleets while improving local air quality,” said William Rice, EPA’s acting Region 7 administrator. “They also allow local businesses needed work, thus increasing regional economic stability.”

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