EPA seeks applications for clean diesel funds

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday, March 5, issued solicitations for more than $200 million in grants and loans under several separate programs aimed at reducing emissions from diesel engines. Congress included $300 million in funding for diesel emissions reduction in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act – more commonly known as the economic stimulus package – it enacted last month.

Most of the funds — $156 million – are dedicated to grants to be awarded competitively under the national clean diesel funding assistance program. Another $30 million will go to the SmartWay Clean Diesel Finance Program, which will support the creation of national, state or local innovative clean diesel financial programs. Such programs include those where the loan recipient receives a unique financial incentive – such as better than regular market rates or conditions – for the purchase of retrofitted vehicles or equipment.

Under both the national clean diesel and the SmartWay programs, the grants or loans will be distributed through government agencies with jurisdiction over transportation or air quality or through nonprofit organizations that represent or assist entities that operate diesel fleets. The funds can be used on numerous types of diesel-powered equipment, including medium- and heavy-duty trucks. Under both programs, funding is restricted to the use of diesel emissions reduction technologies certified or verified by EPA or the California Air Resources Board.

EPA also is offering about $20 million under the National Clean Diesel Emerging Technology Program to reduce emissions from existing diesel engines through the use, development and commercialization of emerging technologies. Eligible recipients are the same as those for the other two programs, but the funds are for technologies not already certified or verified by EPA or CARB. However, only those technologies that have been approved and placed on EPA’s Emerging Technology List qualify.

Of the $300 million in total funding provided by Congress, $88 million will go to the state clean diesel grant program under which EPA will allocate funding through the states for diesel emissions reduction activities. Since those funds will be administered at the state level, they are not part of the grant program EPA announced Thursday, March 5. Another $6 million will cover administrative costs.

For more information on the three assistance programs, go to www.grants.gov and search by funding opportunity number: National clean diesel financial assistance (ARRA-OAR-OTAQ-09-06); SmartWay (ARRA-OAR-OTAQ-09-04); and national clean diesel emerging technologies (ARRA-OAR-OTAQ-09-05). For general information on EPA’s National Clean Diesel Program, click here.