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Building Infrastructure Requires Innovative, Reliable Technology

As national leaders debate the size, scope and merits of a national infrastructure plan, the need to build smarter, more resilient, and equitably are top of mind. The newest generation of advanced diesel technology will be at the center of delivering both these promises and the real-world projects to help propel America forward.

“Infrastructure underpins everything in America. It facilitates our mobility, ensures our connectivity, and enables a healthy and productive public with access to safe drinking water and wastewater disposal. Building the next generation of infrastructure particularly at the scale envisioned is a tall order and one that will require a fleet of the most advanced tools and technology to get the job done,” said Allen Schaeffer, Executive Director of the Diesel Technology Forum, an educational association representing diesel engine, vehicle and equipment manufacturers. “Most construction machines and equipment are powered by diesel engines thanks to diesel’s unique combination of efficiency, power, performance, durability and reliability, and now near-zero emissions. From backhoes and excavators to articulated trucks and pavers, the new generation of diesel will get the job done with near zero emissions, delivering needed progress along with cleaner air to communities across the country,”

Diesel engines power the majority of the most heavily utilized pieces of equipment found on job sites across the country including those used in building roads and bridges, and those used to build renewable electric power generation projects like solar or wind, diesel is the mainstay of this industry.

According to U.S. EPA, a typical 200 horsepower excavator found on jobsites big and small that is a fourth generation (“Tier 4”) diesel solution achieves near-zero emissions and can eliminate over one ton of smog forming compounds when replacing an older generation of equipment without modern emissions controls.

“New more modern engines deliver efficiency improvements over previous generations of technology. Replacing older technology that has exceeded its useful life with newer engines delivers substantial fuels savings and emission reductions,” Schaeffer added. “One crane operator in metropolitan New York City, replaced several 1970s vintage engines with new MTU diesel engines to save the operators over $100,000 in fuel costs each year. That also translates directly to greenhouse gas emission reductions.”

Productivity boosting solutions are in the forefront of leading manufacturers equipment offerings. Telematics and connected worksites monitor and streamline equipment operations, guiding operators to minimize repetitive task time, enabling the ability to achieve accurate finished task results on first pass rather than multiple pass operation. Industry estimates that smart solutions like telematics can reduce diesel fuel consumption by 40 percent, translating into significant greenhouse gas emissions reductions and climate benefits.

The equipment used to build rail lines for the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District reduced fuel use by 30 percent helping to contribute to important project sustainability goals. Autonomous technology is available in some construction machine types, boosting worksite safety and productivity, particularly in hazardous environments.

Beyond the innovations in new technology advanced diesel machines and equipment, fuel switching is an easy strategy to reduce the carbon footprint of equipment operations. Diesel engines old and new are capable of operating on renewable diesel fuel and blends of biodiesel to deliver big and cost-effective emissions reductions.

The Diesel Technology Forum is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of diesel engines, fuel, and technology. For more information visit