The regulation has also allowed for the exclusion of limited-hours-of-use equipment from fleet calculations until 2011 if the unit is used 250 hours or less per year. According to Williams, the unit must be equipped with an hours-use meter and the hours must be recorded.
Williams says an important facet of the regulation for fleet operators is concerning on-road equivalent GSE, which have specifically assigned emissions standards included in the regulation that should be used to calculate the average.
There are a number of options that fleet operators can consider to get their fleets into compliance, including replacing, repowering or retrofitting equipment. With the regulation set to become stricter in the future — including GSE that must meet a fleet average of 2.5 grams per brake horsepower hour by 2013 — the option that makes economic sense in the long term is going to determine the right path for fleet operators.
Tug Technologies is one company that offers regulation-compliant equipment, including electric tractors and belt loaders. The company also offers a Ford 2.3 liter engine for tractors and belt loaders that is available as a repower kit, featuring a standard of .82 grams per brake horsepower hour.
Another option for fleet operators of uncontrolled and noncompliant engines is retrofit kits. Engine Control Systems, which produces the TermiNOx retrofit kits verified for LSI forklift equipment, has the only verified kit under the LSI regulation for 3-liter and larger propane engines of GSE. The technology is verified at a standard level of 3.0 grams per brake horsepower hour, allowing operators to trim their emissions to meet the 2009 requirement. According to Kevin Brown, regulatory affairs manager at Engine Control Systems, the basic cost runs approximately $3000 to $3500 per unit. “So even getting the 3 is going to buy you at least three years time — enough to plan your retirement of the fleet or what you might do,” he says.
Nett Technologies Inc. also has verified retrofit technology for forklifts. According to Wayne Borean, OEM sales coordinator at Nett Technologies, the company is still in the throes of the verification process for its propane GSE retrofit kit for 3-liter and larger propane engines. He says the company should complete the process by November and has aimed for verification at 1.0 grams per brake horsepower-hour. Borean says the kit itself would cost approximately $3300 for each unit.
Though fleet operators have the option of converting gasoline engines to propane in order to be retrofitted, Williams says there are currently no verified gasoline-engine retrofits available. And thus, he says, fleet operators can apply for a compliance extension for those engines that would be valid until Jan. 1, 2011.
The right fit
Toby Steele, compliance manager at SkyWest Airlines, which operates out of several California locations, says the airline’s GSE fleet was not subject to the regulation, but its fleet of roughly a dozen forklifts was affected. “What happened to us is all of our engines were pretty old, so the highest rating you could get was 12 and all of my engines were 12s,” he says.
After researching possible options, Steele says the airline decided to go electric, replacing its fleet with refurbished electric units at a price between $15,000 to $18,000 each. “It was a little bit more than new engines would have been or the retrofit, but we’re good now for good,” he says.
Though electric is a viable option for coming into LSI compliance, as they can be counted in the fleet average, Williams says fleet operators should be aware of the off-road diesel rules. “There’s some interaction between this rulemaking and the in-use off-road diesel rulemaking. And that interaction is that both rules allow operators to use electric equipment to comply with the regulation … you can use any given piece of electric equipment or GSE to comply with either the LSI regulation or the off-road diesel fleet regulation but not both,” he says.
Down to the Wire
With the initial compliance date rapidly approaching, there is a question of how many fleets are ready or taking the appropriate measures.
The latest advisory included new exclusions for equipment with certain types of propane-fueled engines.
The California Air Resources Board issued regulatory advisories in December regarding the large-spark ignition engine fleet regulation that became effective in the state of California on Jan. 1, 2009...
The association says the rule has placed an unexpected burden on the ground handling community in California.