Retrofitting Diesel Electrical Generators for Emission Reduction

EPA Contract Number: 68D02013
Title: Retrofitting Diesel Electrical Generators for Emission Reduction
Investigators: Nemser, Stuart
Small Business: Compact Membrane Systems Inc.
EPA Contact: Richards, April
Phase: I
Project Period: April 1, 2002 through September 1, 2002
Project Amount: $70,000
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase I (2002) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Air Quality and Air Toxics , SBIR - Air Pollution , Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)


Diesel generator sets (gen-sets) are used routinely to supply electrical power. Hospitals, businesses, and small communities use gen-sets to help reduce costs by load leveling and to provide emergency power during blackouts (either scheduled or unscheduled). Recent power outages in California have led to large increases in the purchase of gen-sets, primarily for providing emergency power. In addition to providing value associated with load leveling and emergency power, gen-sets have the added value that they can be installed relatively rapidly.

Although gen-sets are in principle under U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulation, many of these gen-sets are being rapidly installed in California with minimal concern for EPA emissions, focusing exclusively on providing backup power to avoid blackouts. The net effect of these events should be an increase in air pollutants in California (mostly NOx) as these gen-sets are brought online. Although the problem initially is focused in California, it can be expected that other regions in the country will follow the same rationale, resulting in similar increases in NOx and other pollutants.

Compact Membrane Systems, Inc. (CMS) proposes that a simple, low-cost retrofit kit be developed that can be added to diesel gen-sets. Based on preliminary experiments, CMS estimates that NOx emissions can be reduced by approximately 50 percent, with minimal change in carbon monoxide and particulates. Program objectives include building key prototype equipment and demonstrating by adjusting fuel/air ratios that 50 percent NOx reduction can be achieved with a 2?3 percent loss in power.

Parallel efforts by CMS and its large industrial partners associated with diesel engine NOx reduction enhance the likelihood of this gen-set program being successful, both within the Small Business Innovation Research Program and commercially.

Supplemental Keywords:

small business, SBIR, diesel generator, gen-set, engine, air, air pollution, emergency power, NOx., RFA, Health, Scientific Discipline, Air, Sustainable Industry/Business, particulate matter, air toxics, Environmental Chemistry, Sustainable Environment, Health Risk Assessment, Epidemiology, Risk Assessments, Technology for Sustainable Environment, Biochemistry, Engineering, Chemistry, & Physics, ambient air quality, particulates, Nox, exposure and effects, atmospheric particles, emission control technologies, clean technologies, human health effects, inhalability, motor vehicle emissions, air pollutants, lung, air pollution control, epidemelogy, hazardous emissions, gen-sets, air pollution, environmental health effects, automotive exhaust, ambient emissions, emission controls, particle trap, emissions, human exposure, ambient particle health effects, inhalation, particulate exposure, lung inflammation, mobile sources, emission reduction, diesel generators, inhaled, human health, air quality, membrane technology

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final
  • SBIR Phase II:

    Retrofitting Diesel Electrical Generators for Emission Reduction