According to Frost & Sullivan’s “Strategic Analysis of Emission and Idling Reduction Technologies for EPA 2010 and Idling Regulations Compliance”, the market for equipment that saves emissions and reduces idling will experience considerable growth due to imminent government regulations.

“Stricter environmental regulations, growing generic competition and spiraling R&D costs have caused the North American heavy-duty truck industry to pay closer attention to the impending emission and idling reduction regulations,” said Frost & Sullivan program manager Sandeep Kar.

Fuel efficiency worries, dependency on foreign oil, air quality deterioration and global warming will be among the factors that spur regulations, offering companies an opportunity to create new revenue streams by developing new green solutions to minimize emissions concerns, Frost & Sullivan said.

During a recent teleconference, Kar spoke of the need for solutions that are both pertinent and profitable for EPA 2010 compliance, including existing technologies such as battery-electric APUs and truck-stop electrification; and emerging technologies like hybrid engines, biodiesel, fuel-cell powered APUs, and vehicle battery solutions.

One of the decisions companies have to make is whether or not to use urea-based selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology. According to Kar, SCR technology offers reduced weight, lower fuel consumption, lower heat loads, and longer oil changing intervals, while SCR-independent technology features lower upfront cost, independence from the price volatility of urea and improved performance in colder climates.

“Market participants have to identify and invest in the most pertinent technologies among a vast array of emerging technologies that can facilitate the development of solutions offering sustainable revenue growth opportunities,” said Kar. “The challenge is to not only develop and introduce such technologies and solutions, but also to do so at the lowest incremental cost.”

One of the most heavily debated issues regarding fuel efficiency is idling. However, idling is locally regulated and has no standard rules in the U.S, varying significantly by state. According to the American Trucking Research Institute (ATRI), California limits idling to five minutes for diesel-fueled trucks over 10,000 lbs. GVWR, but the rules change as soon as a driver crosses state borders into Nevada (15 minutes) or Oregon (no regulation). Idling is limited to as few as three minutes in Connecticut, New Jersey, and Missouri, but there are no regulations on the books in 16 states, ATRI said.

Yet the high up-front cost of reduction technology makes it difficult for fleets and developers to make cost-effective decisions, especially in a time when many fleets are struggling to stay afloat.

“The current economic scenario looks uncertain, with some sectors of the trucking industry saying that we are already in a recession,” said Kar. He added that the downturn in the housing market and weakening U.S. dollar cannot be viewed in isolation. “It may not be before 2009 that we can expect a significant rebound in new truck orders,” he said.

View more Fleet Owner news relating to alternative fuels, fuel conservation, fuel economy and diesel fuel prices.