Devices set for installation on at least 101 Mississippi-based diesel trucks will save on fuel costs and help the environment, officials said Thursday.
Federal, state and university officials spoke about a $1.08 million grant to Mississippi State University at a formal ceremony at the Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems.
“The Mississippi State University project will make a significant impact of reducing diesel emissions by eliminating the need to idle for over 101 road trucks by installing the battery-operated air-conditioning packs,” said Carol Kemker, Region 4 director of the Air, Pesticides and Toxics Management Division of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The packs will be placed on trucks operated by two Mississippi companies — KLLM Transport Services and Dufour Petroleum Inc.
“Mississippi has historically enjoyed clean air,” said Keith Head, environmental engineer with the Air Division of the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality.
The EPA is about to release a new ozone standard, which has led officials to took “new, unique measures for emissions reductions to help us meet that standard,” Head said.
“An idle reduction strategy is so important,” because it cuts emissions and lowers fuel and wear-and-tear costs, Head said. “ ... That’s why this project is so great.”
Mickey Milligan, manager of existing business and industry with the Mississippi Development Authority, said, “This project ties in with (Gov. Haley Barbour’s) initiative of having” an environmentally-friendly state.
Milligan says he’s called on CAVS to help in finding solutions to help at least two companies in the state.
“I think they’re a well-kept secret,” he said of CAVS.
With the $1 million grant, officials expect the money to turn over five to seven times in the local economy, Milligan said.
Officials also envision the savings the two companies will realize as being reinvested to create new jobs, he said.
“This grant demonstrates again how the public and private sector in the state of Mississippi work together, not only to improve the environment of our beautiful state, but it shows that we can work together to create better opportunities for citizens and our existing businesses,” Milligan said.
Dr. Michael Mazzola, associate director of advanced vehicle systems at CAVS, talked about the immediate impact the devices deliver.
Frequently with grants, “we’re talking about technology” developed at the university and the investigator will say five or 10 years in answering the question, “’When will this help people?’ ... I’ve been in the business long enough to know it’s five, or 10 years or maybe never,” he said.
MSU researchers did not develop the technology, he said, but the devices “we’re installing on these trucks as part of this grant will help people yesterday. I can prove that because these things are already on the trucks,” Mazzola said.