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Air Emissions from Industrial Diesel Engines now Regulated by EPA

February 24th, 2010

Industrial Diesel EngineThe EPA aims to reduce air emissions from certain stationary diesel engines and issued their first standards on February 17, 2010. The rule will help reduce formaldehyde, benzene, acrolein and other toxic air pollutants from diesel powered stationary reciprocating internal combustion engines (RICE), also known as compression ignition (CI) engines. The toxic air pollutants, also referred to as hazardous air pollutants or air toxics, are suspected of causing cancer and other serious health effects as well as environmental damage.

EPA estimates that the rule will reduce annual toxic air emissions by 1,000 tons, particle pollution by 2,800 tons, carbon monoxide emissions by 14,000 tons, and organic compound emissions by 27,000 tons when fully implemented in 2013.

The new emission limits apply to existing diesel engines meeting certain criteria for age, size, and use. EPA estimates that more than 900,000 of the engines generate electricity and power equipment at industrial, agricultural and other facilities. Industrial facilities such as power plants and chemical and manufacturing plants use these engines to generate electricity for compressors and pumps. They also are used in emergencies to produce electricity to pump water for flood and fire control. Emergency engines used at most residences, hospitals and other institutional facilities, and commercial facilities such as shopping centers are not covered by this rule.

To meet the emissions requirements, owners and operators of the largest engines will need to install emissions controls, such as catalysts, to engine exhaust systems that would limit air toxics emissions by up to 70 percent. Emergency engines covered by this rule need to comply with operating requirements that will limit emissions.

EPA will issue final emissions standards for similar existing stationary engines that burn gasoline, natural gas and landfill gas, known as spark ignition engines, by August 10, 2010.

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