Advancing Diesel Emissions Management

April 30, 2024

Air pollution poses a significant environmental and health risk globally, with elevated levels of common air pollutants contributing to respiratory and cardiovascular effects in humans, as well as premature deaths and increased cancer risks. While Australia generally boasts good urban air quality, concerns persist regarding the concentration of ambient air pollutants and their impact on community health and well-being.

Of particular concern is combustion-related air pollution, especially from non-road diesel engines. These engines find widespread use across various sectors and applications, including construction, mining, industry, power generation, agriculture, marine applications, forestry and logging, and lawn and garden applications.

Reducing Non Road Emissions

In an era where environmental sustainability is key, managing diesel and marine emissions is a critical undertaking. Recognising the urgency of this issue, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hosted a workshop in 2014 to delve into the complexities and best practices surrounding the management of non-road diesel emissions. Attended by approximately 115 stakeholders from diverse sectors including construction, mining, ports, rail, community, and government, the workshop served as a platform for knowledge exchange and collaboration.

At the heart of the workshop were presentations addressing various facets of diesel emissions management. Dr. Christine Cowie from the Centre for Air Quality Research and Evaluation shed light on the health impacts of diesel emissions, emphasising the importance of mitigating these pollutants to safeguard public health. Dr. Mark Hibberd of CSIRO provided insights into the identification of diesel particles in ambient PM2.5, highlighting the need for robust monitoring and measurement techniques.

Nick Agapides, representing the NSW EPA, discussed diesel emissions sources and trends specific to New South Wales, offering valuable data and analysis to inform strategic decision-making. Dr. Laurie Goldsworthy from the Australian Maritime College delved into the complex landscape of shipping emissions, underscoring the significance of regulating maritime activities to minimise environmental harm.

Ann-Louise Crotty, also from the NSW EPA, outlined current EPA diesel programs aimed at reducing emissions and promoting cleaner practices within industries. Community perspectives were voiced by representatives from the White Bay community, emphasising the need for collaborative efforts between stakeholders to address environmental concerns effectively.

George Lin of Caterpillar USA provided a global perspective on engine emission regulations, highlighting international efforts to standardise emissions standards and promote cleaner technologies. Michael Crismale from SITA Australia presented a case study on a clean machine initiative, showcasing practical solutions for emissions reduction in real-world scenarios.

The workshop concluded with closing remarks from Barry Buffier, Chair and CEO of the NSW EPA, reaffirming the commitment to advancing emissions management strategies and fostering collaboration among stakeholders.

In summary, the EPA workshop served as a catalyst for advancing discussions and initiatives related to diesel and marine emissions management. By bringing together experts and stakeholders from diverse sectors, the workshop facilitated knowledge sharing, highlighted best practices, and underscored the importance of collective action in safeguarding the environment and public health. Full report

Advancing Diesel Emissions Management »

The Environmental Impact of Working with Industrial Fluids

Diesel emissions in the local area of New South Wales (NSW), Australia, have significant impacts on both public health and the environment. These emissions stem primarily from various sources such as transportation, construction, mining, agriculture, and industrial activities. Here are some of the key impacts of diesel emissions in the NSW area:

  1. Health Effects – Diesel emissions contain harmful pollutants such as particulate matter (PM), nitrogen oxides (NOx), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and air toxics. Exposure to these pollutants can lead to respiratory and cardiovascular problems, exacerbate existing conditions such as asthma, and increase the risk of lung cancer. Fine particulate matter, known as PM2.5, is particularly concerning as it can penetrate deep into the lungs and enter the bloodstream, causing severe health effects.
  2. Air Quality – Diesel emissions contribute to poor air quality in the local area, especially in urban centres and areas with high traffic density. Elevated levels of pollutants like nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and ozone (O3) can lead to the formation of smog, which reduces visibility and poses health risks to residents. Despite overall good air quality in Australia, localised areas may experience exceedances of national air quality standards due to diesel emissions.
  3. Environmental Impact – Diesel emissions have adverse effects on the environment, including contributing to climate change and ecosystem damage. NOx emissions from diesel engines can react with other compounds in the atmosphere to form ground-level ozone, a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. Additionally, diesel exhaust releases black carbon, a potent pollutant that accelerates the melting of snow and ice in polar regions, leading to rising sea levels and disrupted ecosystems.
  4. Community Concerns – Communities residing near diesel-intensive operations such as ports, construction sites, and industrial facilities often experience heightened concerns about air quality and health risks. Diesel exhaust odours, noise pollution from diesel-powered machinery, and the visible impact of emissions on local landscapes can contribute to community dissatisfaction and activism for stricter regulations and emission controls.
  5. Regulatory Response – Recognising the adverse impacts of diesel emissions, regulatory authorities in NSW and across Australia have implemented measures to mitigate pollution from diesel-powered vehicles and equipment. These measures include stricter emission standards for new vehicles, diesel engine retrofit programs, incentives for cleaner technologies, and the promotion of alternative fuels such as biodiesel and electric vehicles.

In the New South Wales (NSW) Greater Metropolitan Region, the impact of non-road diesel engines on air quality is significant, with around 100,000 engines accounting for approximately 15% of Australia’s non-road diesel engine population. Moreover, approximately 9,000 new engines are purchased in this region every year, contributing to the cumulative emissions from these sources.

The emissions from non-road diesel engines are particularly concerning due to their contribution to fine particle pollution, which has adverse effects on public health and the environment. Studies have shown that non-road diesel engines account for about 5–10% of fine particle pollution in the Greater Metropolitan Region of NSW.

According to the 2008 Air Emissions Inventory, more than 90% of non-road diesel fine particle emissions originate from various sources, including non-road vehicles and equipment, shipping, and rail transport. This underscores the importance of addressing emissions from these sectors to improve air quality and protect public health.

Efforts to reduce emissions from non-road diesel engines in the NSW Greater Metropolitan Region are crucial for mitigating the impacts of air pollution on local communities. By implementing measures such as the adoption of cleaner technologies, the use of emission control systems, regulatory compliance, and public awareness campaigns, we can work towards minimising the environmental and health risks associated with diesel emissions in the region.

Strategies To Reduce Non Road Diesel Emissions

While developing a national approach to reducing emissions from non road diesel engines may take time, there are immediate strategies that can be implemented to address diesel exhaust emissions.

These strategies aim to mitigate the environmental and health impacts of non-road diesel engines, especially in areas where sensitive populations reside.

  1. Purchasing engines that conform with the highest available US, EU, or equivalent international standards to ensure lower emissions from new equipment.
  2. Ensuring that any fuel used conforms with the national diesel fuel quality standard, which can help reduce emissions from existing fleets.
  3. Properly maintaining and repairing engines to optimise their emission performance and extend their operational lifespan.
  4. Installing anti-pollution control devices on engines to improve emission performance and reduce pollution levels.
  5. Implementing measures to restrict unnecessary engine idling, such as adopting idle reduction technologies or implementing idle reduction policies.
  6. Locating plant and equipment away from sensitive populations, such as schools, hospitals, and childcare facilities, or using low-emission equipment near these areas to minimise exposure to harmful emissions.
  7. Avoiding the onsite use of diesel- or petrol-powered generators by substituting mains electricity or battery-powered equipment where feasible.

Since our inception in 1980, Banlaw has been a leader in manufacturing top-quality fluid transfer products. Over the years, we have earned a reputation for excellence, delivering solutions that prioritise safety, environmental responsibility, and reliability. Our commitment to innovation and quality has allowed us to stay ahead of industry standards and meet the evolving needs of our customers.

At Banlaw, we understand the importance of minimising the environmental impact of working with industrial fluids. That’s why DEFMate is designed to not only meet the highest safety standards but also to reduce environmental footprint. By choosing DEFMate, you can trust that you are investing in a solution that prioritises sustainability and responsible fluid management.

For more information about DEFMate, please refer to the Product Flyer and Technical Product Data Sheet on our Downloads page or contact a Banlaw specialist.