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Our Dependence on Diesel: It’s That’s Not a Bad Thing

Posted by Scott Goldfarb on

Contrary to what you might think, diesel engines power quite a few things other than cars and trucks. In fact, you can find diesel-powered machinery just about everywhere, from mining to marine craft.

That’s good because diesel is a robust and reliable fuel source.

Although electric vehicles and alternatively-fueled mechanisms are all the buzz, our power grids are stretched thin, and finding the raw materials to make specialized batteries is becoming increasingly difficult. Wind and solar power aren’t as consistently reliable as diesel, either.

Not Your Grandpa’s Diesel

But aren’t we trying to move away from fossil fuels, you ask? Yes and no. Many of our world’s developed nations are working to find cleaner energy sources. That doesn’t rule out using diesel at all, especially since our current diesel engines bear little resemblance to those of yesteryear with their high emissions and eardrum-crushing noise pollution.

Tier 4 emission standards, adopted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2004, stipulated that nonroad engine manufacturers must produce engines that reduce their particulate matter and nitrogen oxide emissions by 90%. The program was phased in over six years, from 2008 to 2014. Larger horsepower (>750) engine manufacturers had until 2015 to make modifications.

Coupled with the new engine specifications, the EPA also required nonroad vehicles to use fuel with ultra-low sulfur levels, decreasing allowable sulfur levels by a striking 99%. These new standards pushed diesel producers to create cleaner fuel and manufacturers to create engines that could use modern technology to pull the most horsepower out of as little fuel as possible. Tier 4 diesel fuel injection engines lead the way as some of the cleanest machines in the world, with near-zero emissions.

So Where Do Diesel Engines Shine Brightest?

Look no further than the food in front of you. The agricultural production and supply pipeline wouldn’t exist without diesel. Roughly 75% of all farm equipment runs on diesel; 96% of the trucks used to haul produce and other commodities all over the country operate with diesel engines; and let’s not forget everything that moves by rail and waterway. No other machine can produce the energy necessary to power the large harvesters, tow barges, semi trucks, and other machinery used every day in agriculture.

We no longer have to sacrifice air quality for engine power, so these monster machines can live loud (albeit much quieter than their forebears) and proud. Other areas of our lives where diesel plays a prominent role include:

Emergency Response: Fire engines, heavy-duty Utility Task Vehicles (UTV), mobile generators, supplemental water pumps, high-water rescue vehicles, underwater trash and debris harvesters, hospital generators, and portable refrigeration units.

Military and Marine: Ships, boats, barges, offshore drilling rigs, heavy equipment transports, logistic vehicles, tanks, trucks, other tactical vehicles, and generators.

Construction and Mining: Backhoes, cranes, bulldozers, hard rock crushers, front loaders, dump trucks, excavators, forklifts, compactors, graders, conveyors, drilling rigs, and trenchers.

Public Transportation: Airports, school and transit buses, passenger and freight trains, and water ferries.

In the spirit of the holidays, we thought we should share the top three diesel-powered marvels on our wish list:

1. Arjes VZ 950 Titan High Torque/Slow Speed Shredder

This fine piece of equipment takes shredding to a whole new level. At 35 feet long and 14 feet high, this 80,000-pound monster will meticulously tear apart anything you throw in it, including building rubble, appliances, wood, and even cars. Its 700/770HP Volvo T4f engine has a torque value totaling 500,000 foot pounds of force. Wouldn’t it be fun to see that under the tree (outside, that is)?

2. Conver C485-II Proline Mower Boat

You’ll really enjoy this boat if you live on a lake or a waterway. Think of it as your personal water landscaper. With just under 48HP, this 15-foot-long mower uses various tools to cut away water reeds and other shrubberies along your embankment, leaving it trimmed and clear. The raking tool also works underwater to pull up weeds, trash, and other debris that may be lurking at the bottom.

3. Belaz-75710 Mining Dump Truck

Who doesn’t love a good dump truck? And this one would have been perfect for helping out on all my backyard ‘projects’ as a kid (granted, it’s probably bigger than my backyard). The Belaz has a hauling capacity of 450 tons (900,000 pounds) and runs on twin diesel engines that provide 4,600HP. Both engines work at full load, but only one operates when the truck moves empty, increasing the truck’s fuel economy by 15% to 20%.

You may not own any of these bad boys, but you likely have something in your orbit that operates on diesel. And chances are, it runs cleaner than your gasoline-powered car. So if you haven’t already, consider giving diesel a try.

For those of you with diesel engine-powered trucks, cars, or other vehicles, you can get affordable new and refurbished components through our online store at www.GoldfarbInc.com. We are a trusted diesel parts supplier with more than three decades of experience and are ready to help.

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