URBANA – New MTD buses have better pollution control than older vehicles. But MTD keeps buses on the road for up to 16 years, so it needs to do something with its veterans.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Diesel Initiative Project is working with the University of Illinois and the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District, as well as a manufacturer, Cummins Mid-States Power, to retrofit old diesel buses.
With a $50,000 grant, UI Professor Xinlei Wang and MTD maintenance staff will study how new diesel particulate filters will affect emissions from four old MTD buses.
The two-year project will study the reduction of particles and nitrogen oxides in buses on the road.
David Moore, MTD's maintenance director, said the old buses are part of a fleet – 94 buses – that must meet new standards next year.
"Hopefully, this will put our fleet close to the 2007 reduced emissions standards," he said. "We'll put these on older buses to make them more environmentally sound."
Moore said the goal is to reduce particulate emissions by 85 percent and nitrogen oxides by 25 percent in the older buses.
Each of the devices cost about $10,000, far more than ordinary mufflers, but the price would likely drop as the technology became more widespread, Moore said.
Wang said Champaign-Urbana has special concerns for diesel.
"One of the unique problems is to figure out how they will work in the middlewestern winter. It's very cold, and this kind of weather is not good for particulate filter," he said.
The devices should arrive in early 2007.