Diesel emissions represent a huge problem in air pollution. The emissions that are put off by diesel engines are known or suspected to contribute or cause problems with asthma, heart attack, and respiratory illnesses of various kinds. A concerted effort has been underway for years to work with businesses across the Northeast to cut diesel emissions dramatically, and by extension, make the environment a cleaner place and a healthier one.
Two companies in Maine were recently honored for doing just that. Oakhurst Dairy and Maine Standard Biofuels were recognized by the Northeast Diesel Collaborative for their efforts to cut diesel emissions. In fact, through a partnership between the two companies, Oakhurst Dairy was able to cut diesel emissions by more than 70% annually; representing a significant reduction in pollution by the company, and earning them the award of the 2013 Breath Easy Leadership award.
The Benefits of Biodiesel
Oakhurst Dairy and Maine Standard Biofuels were able to accomplish their spectacular feat with the use of biodiesel. Biodiesel is made from renewable sources of energy like soybean and peanut oil. Burning the fuel produces far fewer pollutants than traditional diesel which is petroleum based.
Engines used to burn these biofuels generally run cleaner and require less maintenance, but there are some differences, including the need to convert existing diesel engines to have the capacity to burn biofuels. This increase in capacity and duel fuel types is raising the bar for future diesel mechanics. Also, as diesel engines become more computerized and the technology advances, diesel mechanics are required to have basic computer skills as well.
The Efforts of the NEDC
The Northeast Diesel Collaborative is a partnership made up of a number of various organizations. Among them are:
- The EPA
- State Agencies
- Private and Non-profit Groups
Their purpose and mission is to help create a cleaner breathing environment by reducing airborne pollution from the burning of diesel fuels. They currently operate in New England, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. They work with companies to promote a healthier environment through education and participation in practices which directly result in lower emissions. These types of practices may include:
- Retrofitting engines for the burning of biofuels.
- Replacing older diesel engines
- Working to reduce engine idle
- Educational and outreach programs
By targeting the sectors of the economy most responsible for diesel emissions, the NEDC seeks to make a significant impact on air pollution in the eight northeastern states. Their primary target sectors are:
- Port Authority
Future Opportunities in Maine
Maine is a state rich in opportunities within the diesel industry. Becoming a diesel mechanic is sure to provide you with a good job, especially in Maine, as many schools offer programs in diesel mechanics. In fact, a diesel mechanics degree is one of many degrees available in Maine within the mechanics field.
With their commitment to a cleaner environment, and the need for diesel engines growing in the state, there is a great future ahead for those within the industry, and those seeking to help make it cleaner. We should all be able to look forward to breathing a cleaner sigh of relief in years ahead, thanks to the dedication of the NEDC and companies like the two mentioned here.