There is some interesting news today from Montgomery County, Maryland. The county in which I spent two years of high school (Go, Cougars!) has decided to buy 59 new buses that use clean diesel technology. Thomas Built Buses, the school bus manufacturing unit of Daimler Trucks North America, has just received its first order for Saf-T-Liner HDX school buses equipped with selective catalytic reduction (SCR) systems. The SCR system eliminates most nitrogen oxide emissions and allow the buses to meet the 2010 emissions standards for heavier trucks. According to Thomas Built Buses, “selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR), not only reduces NOx emissions to near-zero, but Cummins testing shows a 5-9% fuel economy advantage compared to In-cylinder exhaust gas recirculation (EGR). The SCR system consists of a urea injection system that breaks down in the hot exhaust into ammonia and water. The ammonia reacts with the NOx to convert it to nitrogen and water. The buses will be delivered to Montgomery County, Md., public schools in June and July 2010. The full press release can be found here.
As for costs, this 2008 article states that “a hybrid is $497,000 compared to $323,000 for clean diesel buses. The hybrids average about 4.0 miles per gallon of fuel compared to 2.9 miles per gallon for clean diesel buses. However, replacing battery packs in hybrids (usually needed once in the vehicle’s lifetime) costs about $50,000 per bus, making the clean diesels much more economical over the estimated useful lifespan.”
In a statement indicative of the win-win potential between businesses and customers, Todd Watkins, Montgomery County Public Schools’ director of transportation, said, “In the past, we’ve made suggestions for improvements and the new equipment reflects those changes. Thomas is very responsive to its customers.” This is also a huge part of the shift to clean energy and environmentally friendly technologies taking place across the world. Businesses have to listen to the demands and wishes of their customers (be it governments, individual consumers, or other businesses), or risk being left behind. As customers increasingly demand sustainable practices, products, and services, businesses will shift in order to fill those demands, thus accelerating the second green revolution.
- Justin Manger