In mid-September the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC, www.propanecouncil.org) released results of a $1.4 million, three-year study that sought to demonstrate that propane-fueled forklift engines can meet stricter environmental standards. Conducted by the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI, www.swri.edu), the study found that existing fuel systems can meet 2007 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-compliant requirements for hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides for both steady state and transient cycles.
There's a nationwide installed base of around 500,000 propane-powered forklifts, according to PERC estimates. In addition to finding that propane can meet the stricter emissions standards, the report, Investigation of Fuel System Technologies and Fuel Composition Effects on the Ability of Propane to Meet 2007 EPA Emission Standards, provides reassurance for manufacturers of engines and forklifts that existing technology can accommodate fuel contamination and variations in fuel composition.
"The research found that off-the-shelf electronic engine controls and three-way catalysts were capable of reducing forklifts' emissions and satisfying EPA requirements," says Roy Willis, PERC President & CEO. "This can translate into significant financial savings for companies looking to upgrade their fleet and meet higher environmental performance standards."