California raises the bar on APUs for new trucks

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When California’s regulation limiting idling to five minutes takes effect Jan. 1, some owners of new trucks planning on using an auxiliary power unit might be stymied by yet another regulatory hurdle. Diesel-fueled APUs operated on trucks with 2007 or newer engines next year must be fitted with a verified level three particulate trap, which offers 85 percent particulate reduction efficiency.

“At this time, no level three particulate matter control device has been verified and approved for use in APU applications,” says Dimitri Stanich, a California Air Resource Board spokesman. At least three manufacturers have submitted applications for these traps, but CARB will not disclose the number and identity of these companies until their devices are approved, Stanich says.

For trucks with ’06 and earlier model year engines, any California- or federally-certified internal combustion APUs or fuel-fired heater may be used. Small diesel engines power most APUs. CARB recommends idling alternatives based on zero- and low-emissions technologies, such as battery-powered systems, thermal energy storage systems and truck stop electrification systems.

Truck stop electrification is available in at least 13 locations in California, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Most of it is provided by IdleAire, the industry’s major developer and service provider. IdleAire plans to expand the number of parking spaces equipped for truck stop electrification in the state to 10,000, according to the California Energy Commission.

CARB’s website states financial incentives may be available for qualified zero-emissions technologies through California’s Carl Moyer Program. It recommends contacting CARB or a local air district for details.

Also, financial assistance and assistance with the installation of compliant devices may be obtained through Cascade Sierra Solutions, a nonprofit organization established to promote emissions-reducing and fuel-saving technologies to the heavy-duty truck industry.

DOE has a site map of truck stop electrification locations. Also, a table listing all locations, including number of bays available, can be found here.