The Drive to Clean Up Diesel

Executives with Oklahoma City-based Love’s Travel Stops and Country Stores plan to spend an estimated $2.5 million over the next several years installing islands at their 115 truck stops to dispense an anti-pollutant designed to cut diesel emissions.
“We are still learning about it,” said Terry Ross, vice president for Construction and Environmental Services for Love’s, commenting on the stiffer federal air pollution requirements.
What’s being called diesel exhaust fluid, or urea, will be required in 2010 model diesel trucks. The odorless, colorless liquid is injected into the exhaust stream to help reduce nitrogen oxide emissions. Reacting with the NOx, urea creates nitrogen.
Typically, trucks would need to refill the urea tank at every fill up, said Bob Renkes, vice president of the Petroleum Equipment Institute.
European diesel engines already have the urea-injection system, using a product dubbed AdBlue. The product is sold in jugs.
AdBlue is carried onboard urea-based selective catalytic reduction (SCR) devices on trucks and buses in specially designed tanks. The product is injected at a rate of 3 to 5 percent of diesel consumption. On-highway SCR systems are in use throughout Europe, Japan, Australia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, New Zealand and Singapore.
In 2001, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency handed down rules to reduce automotive and diesel engine pollution. The ultra-low sulfur diesel has been used in trucks since 2006. The move to lower sulfur content is expected to allow the application of newer emissions control technologies that should substantially lower emissions of particulate matter from diesel engines, similar to changes that previously took place in the European Union. New emissions standards, dependent on the cleaner fuel, have been in effect in the U.S. since model year 2007. The next phase is to reduce nitrous oxide compounds. The EPA legislation will limit NOx to levels that will require North American trucks to be equipped with SCR past 2010.
American truck and auto makers plan to include a separate tank to be filled at an island. The solution is 32.5 percent urea in demineralized water that is clear, non-toxic and is safe to handle. However, the product can be corrosive for some metals and must be stored and transported with the correct materials. The SCR technology will not be viable until infrastructure plans are established and engine manufacturers can demonstrate to the EPA that compliance can be assured through reasonable engine control strategies.
Ross of Love’s thinks the company will start offering urea in jugs off the shelf, then begin building separate islands to dispense it.
Ross estimated initial costs to add the islands, installing underground tanks, piping and electronics, to cost between $20,000 and $30,000.
Tulsa-based QuikTrip Corp., which has 17 travel centers, will offer the additive, said Mike Thornbrugh, spokesman.
“If truckers want it, we will offer it,” he said.
Pilot Truck Stops have announced they will be installing the dispensers in early 2009.
The amount of urea required ramps up over time as newer model year trucks enter the market. Next year, 54 million gallons of the product will be required.
By 2019, more than 1.3 billion gallons of the product will be required in the U.S. and Canada.
Speculation is ongoing that BP plc could make another deal to buy more of Chesapeake Energy Corp.’s shares — or perhaps the entire company.
Devon Builds Portfolio
Devon Energy Corp. looks for opportunities to purchase “quality assets at quality prices,” said CEO G. Larry Nichols.
Devon has the ability with more than $1 billion of cash, a 13 percent debt-to-capitalization rate and $3 billion in unused credit lines.
With low natural gas prices and budget cutbacks happening across the energy sector, it could be that 300 to 500 rigs likely will be taken out of service in the coming year, said Chesapeake Energy Corp. CEO Aubrey McClendon.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approves a revision to the Alliance Pipeline LP tariff allowing the pipeline to waive a gas quality specification on a first come, first served basis.
The ruling allows Alliance to receive gas produced in association with oil production from Bakken play wells.
Questar Corp. will take its capital out of the Rockies and spend it where returns are more attractive ?≠?≠— namely western Oklahoma and northwestern Louisiana.
CEO Keith Rattie noted investors tend to view his company’s exploration and production unit as a Rockies play. The Mid-Continent now contributes about 40 percent of Questar E&P production.

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