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Friday, September 29, 2023


TxDOT, Nett helping UH lessen pollution

Environmental Protection Agency awarded a $500,000 grant to UH this summer to conduct testing and research on an emissions reduction system for construction vehicles.

The funding will go to the Texas Diesel Testing and Research Center at UH in collaboration with the Texas Department of Transportation in this project. Department of Engineering Chairman Michael Harold said UH’s knowledge in this field was the key to obtaining the grant.

‘Our capabilities and expertise in diesel emission reduction research and testing no doubt helped us get the award,’ Harold said.

Assistant professor Rachel Muncrief said EPA was searching for people who could retrofit emission reduction systems. UH obtained the grant because it is a national leader in this field.

‘The EPA will put out requests for projects for people to retrofit the systems onto trucks and record them,’ Muncrief said. ‘At the time we submitted the proposal, there were maybe only five or six emergent technologies on the list.’

Despite its expertise, UH needed some help to take this project.
‘We contacted Nett Technologies and TxDOT, and they were both really interested in the opportunity,’ Muncrief said.

‘Nett Technologies is providing the emissions reduction equipment,’ TxDOT Fleet manager Don Lewis said. ‘We’re providing the construction equipment. That’s what we bring to it, real world operation.’

EPA classified the BlueMAX selective catalytic reduction system from Nett Technologies, which will be installed at the diesel research center’s chassis dynamometer, as an emergent technology for research.

The chassis dynamometer is where vehicles are tested indoors and outside, as researchers contribute to BlueMAX’s pre-certification process.

Nett BlueMAX selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system functions by reducing nitrogen oxide emissions from diesel engines, providing people with a healthier environment for breathing.

According to EPA’s Website, ‘in addition to contributing to the formation of ground-level ozone, and fine particle pollution, nitrogen oxide is linked with a number of adverse effects on the respiratory system.’

This data is more startling for Houstonians, as the Bayou City has some of the nation’s poorest quality of air.

UH researchers will supervise and record the reduction systems on five TxDOT non-road diesel vehicles. The researchers will measure BlueMAX’s ability to reduce emissions with a portable emission measurement system, which provides EPA live data.

‘We’re very interested and very concerned in doing our part in the research and cleaning up the equipment that we have,’ Lewis said.

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