Austin, TX (PRWEB) October 22, 2007
The unusually wet weather is one factor in fewer high ozone days this year in Central Texas. Air quality experts also point to new air quality programs as having a major impact on the significant improvement in Central Texas air quality readings. The new programs include emissions testing and the use of a new diesel fuel additive by the area's largest municipal fleets. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) approved the fuel technology from ORYXE Energy for significantly reducing NOx (oxides of nitrogen) emissions, one of the largest contributors to ozone pollution.
The traditional ozone season comes to an end in late October. According to TCEQ data, the Austin area has recorded only one day this year when the federal 8-hour ozone standard was exceeded. That is down significantly from the number of high ozone days in recent years. The region is now in a position to continue under its attainment designation under federal clean air standards.
"Since air quality is impacted so much by meteorology, you have to give the wet weather a great deal of the credit this year for the lower ozone levels," said Bill Gill, Air Quality Director with the Capital Area Council of Governments (CAPCOG). "However, when you look at our average over the past three years, there's no questions the air quality programs initiated by governments, businesses and citizens are making a difference."
In 2002, Central Texas governments signed an Early Action Compact with the EPA and TCEQ to launch voluntary ozone reduction programs, including:
- Vehicle emissions testing and repair program
- NOx-reducing diesel fuel additive use by City of Austin, Travis County and Capital Metro fleets
- Austin Energy reducing NOx emissions at power plants
- Heavy-duty vehicle idling restrictions
- Public awareness campaign to encourage reduced vehicle trips, transit use, etc.
Air quality experts consider reducing emissions of diesel fleets critically important to improving ozone levels. Heavy diesel trucks account for less than 10% of total miles traveled on the nation's roadways. But they emit approximately 50% of on road mobile NOx emissions.
More than 1,500 diesel vehicles in the City of Austin, Travis County and Capital Metro fleets have been using the fuel additive, ORYXE™ LED, to reduce NOx and other emissions.
"When you consider the additive reduces NOx at least 5 to 6% for these large fleets, that's very beneficial to our air quality," said Gill.
The fuel technology has been in use by most of the fleets for more than a year. Based on vehicle types, fuel use, mileage and other information provided by the three governments, the diesel additive program is estimated to reduce NOx emissions by approximately 20 to 30 tons per year in the Austin area.
"We are thrilled that our technology is making a positive contribution towards improved air quality in Central Texas," said ORYXE Energy Chairman and Chief Executive Officer James M. Cleary. "The successful ozone reduction effort in the Austin area is a great example of what can happen when businesses and governments work together to address important issues."
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers a 3-year average of ozone levels to determine if an area is in attainment with clean air standards. If the fourth highest ozone reading in any given year exceeds 85 parts per billion (ppb), averaged over an 8- hour period, it is considered a violation.
TCEQ data shows that the Austin area has only exceeded the 85 ppb ozone standard once in the past three years (2005). That compares to ozone levels that were consistently well above the standard in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Experts also credit the EPA's new standards that will gradually put the cleanest running heavy-duty vehicles in history on America's roads.
"One of the most remarkable things about the progress we're making with ozone levels is the fact it has happened during a time of tremendous growth in the region," said CAPCOG's Bill Gill. "The number of vehicles on our roads continues to escalate so we can't let up on what we're doing. We need to continue to work to keep our air in good shape."
About ORYXE Energy
ORYXE Energy International is a premier provider of cost-effective fuel additives that reduce harmful pollutants and enhance the combustion performance of fossil and renewable fuels, such as diesel, biodiesel and residual fuel. ORYXE Energy's combustion technology is based on naturally occurring chemical processes and contains unique, proprietary ingredients that are biodegradable and non-toxic. With headquarters in Irvine, Calif., ORYXE Energy markets its fuel additives to refiners, distributors, terminals and fleets throughout the world. For additional information, please visit http://www.oryxe-energy.com.