When Bealine Service Company decided to replace the majority of the engines in its aging fleet with cleaner-burning diesel engines, the Houston-based intrastate hauling company was able to obtain nearly $900,000 in federal funding administered regionally through the Houston-Galveston Area Council’s (H-GAC) Clean Vehicles program. Bealine was granted $871,110 to help replace 24 of the 36 diesel engines in its fleet through the H-GAC program, designed to distribute federal funding to help area businesses and local governments convert their fleets to more environmentally friendly vehicles.

Bealine qualified for the Clean Vehicles grant because the majority of its operations take place in the eight-county Houston non-attainment area, where air quality does not currently meet EPA standards. With the grant in place for new engines, Bealine decided to go a step further by fully replacing the trucks. Funding non-engine costs itself, the company is purchasing 24 new 2005 International 9400i trucks and is replacing old trucks with new ones at a rate of one per month. So far, six trucks that house cleaner-burning engines are on the roads.

Under the grant guidelines, once Bealine receives its new engines, it must destroy the old engines to prevent their re-use. To date, H-GAC has approved federal grants totaling more than $17 million for 24 Clean Vehicles projects. As a result, 232 tons of nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions will be removed from the air each year, equalling the removal of nearly 28,000 cars from the road. Fleet owners interested in similar grants in their area must contact their local council of governments or visit the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Cities Web site, www.eere.energy.gov/cleancities.

“We believe we can positively impact our community by replacing engines with new cleaner-burning diesel technology,” said Jack Beal, owner of Bealine Service Company. “H-GAC’s Clean Vehicles program created a win-win situation for our company and the environment by helping us financially to convert a significant number of our engines quickly.”

Two types of pollutants, NOx and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), combine to form ground-level ozone. High concentrations of this ozone can cause shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, headaches, and throat and lung irritation. Older diesel engines are the largest, most mobile source of NOx, making it imperative for fleet owners to upgrade to new engines.

“New diesel engines on the market emit only 2.5 grams per brake horsepower hour (g/bhp-hr) of NOx and are more fuel efficient than other fuels in comparable duty cycles,” said David Coffee, emission specialist for International Trucks of Houston, an authorized dealer of the cleaner-burning engines. “Older diesel engines emit 6-8 g/bhp-hr of NOx, the principal precursor to ground-level ozone smog.”