Diesel engines are used in millions of buses, trucks, and automobiles throughout the world
Diesel engines are used in millions of buses, trucks, and automobiles throughout the world. It’s easy to see why they are so popular. They’re reliable, durable, and cheap to run. They use 25 to 50 percent less fuel per mile than their gasoline fueled counterparts, and emit that much less carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas). Since diesel fuel burns more completely than gasoline, they have lower hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide emissions. That’s why diesels power 95% of the nation’s heavy trucks and buses, and nearly one-third of new passenger cars in Europe.
On the other hand, diesels have a reputation for being smelly and polluting. Today’s diesels have higher emissions of particulate matter (PM), otherwise known as soot-and by any name a lung irritant, and maybe a carcinogen. They also spew oxides of nitrogen (NOX), which contribute indirectly to smog by helping form ozone when exposed to heat and sunshine. These problems have brought diesels into the cross-hairs of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). EPA’s new air quality and emission regulations present serious engineering challenges for the builders of diesel vehicles.
Real engineers/scientists need to serve both goals. Our field is about trade-offs, after all. Every project requires trading off criteria such as cost, performance, reliability, and long life. It is not much of a stretch, is it, to include other criteria that are important to society, such as environmental quality, economic growth, education, and public health?
This case study explores these trade-offs and the resulting public debate from four policy perspectives. In your teams, during class time, address one of the four policy perspectives. A group assignment will follow on Angel.
These are the four policy perspectives:
1. Federal Agencies / Legal Authority
2. Engineering/Science Response
3. Code & Standards
4. Societal Impact & Cost vs. Benefit
Assignment – Part I
In groups of three, write a research paper. Address the following questions related to the case study: The Diesel Dilemma: Costs, Benefits, & Trade-Off. You must state your references clearly in the answers. A minimum of three references are needed for each one of the four policy perspectives (i.e. minimum of 12 references are required). Include an introduction and a conclusion. Points will be assigned to each section.
Federal & State Agencies/ Legal Authorities (20 points)
1. Describe the public policy process for establishing emissions standards for diesel engines. What federal authorities are involved and what is the role for each?
2. Why has the process for establishing diesel engine emissions standards taken so long?
3. What is the Freedom of Information Act and what role has it played in the debate over diesel emissions?
4. What is the current status of the diesel emissions standards and what is likely to happen next?
Engineering/Scientific Response (25 points)
1. How big is the emission problem of diesel engines? How much diesel fuel is used in the U.S. compared to gasoline?
2. How much does the diesel engine contribute to pollution compared to gasoline engines? What are the differences between the types of pollution?
3. How do you normalize or compare diesel vs. gasoline pollution impacts?
4. How does the diesel engine work? Contrast it to a gasoline engine.
5. What are the characteristics of diesel fuel that differ from gasoline?
Codes & Standards (10 points)
1. How do different organizations collaborate in setting standards for diesel fuel and why is this important? Justify your answer.
2. What is the difference between the role of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and professional associations such as the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) in the standards setting process, or an environmental society?
Societal Impact: Cost vs. Benefit (10 points)
1. What would be the effects of taking diesel engines off the road? Justify your answer.
2. What are the alternative transportation modes that would replace diesel, and their resulting environmental impact? Justify your answer.
Assignment – Part II (20 points)
Answer the following question, include any appropriate references.
What are the top ten actions, in priority order, that federal policymakers could take to enhance the science and technology enterprise so the United States can successfully compete, prosper, and be secure in the global community of the 21st Century?
Format (15 points)
• The first lines of your report must be centered with your names and assignment related information.
• You must include an introduction and a conclusion.
• You must cite all the references employed. You must cite a minimum of 12 references. These include internet sites. If you use the internet, use trustworthy sites, i.e. edu, org, gov.
• Similar essays will be penalized. Blackboard checks the originality of your article. If you plagiarism is evident, you will receive zero (0) points for this article
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