If you look back in history to this week in 1970, you will learn of an initiative celebrating Earth Day – a day to demonstrate support for environmental protection. In 1990, the Earth Day focus to protect the planet included more than 140 countries, and in 2016, the Paris Climate Accord, a legally binding international treaty on climate change, was adopted by 196 parties.
Today, 52 years after the first Earth Day, we continue to see temperatures rise, natural disasters increase, and famine spread across the globe. Therefore, we must ask ourselves, ‘How well have we performed in taking care of Mother Earth since 1970?’ The short answer, we haven’t done enough. But that’s not a complete answer. In 2022 there is tremendous hope and improvement coming from the multitude of companies, agencies, nonprofits, and countries around the world working to provide a better environment for future generations.
The media will report on companies like Clorox, whose environmental pledge is to ensure that 90% of their packaging is recyclable; or General Mills, a cereal and food manufacturer, which aims to sustainably source 100% of these ingredients – having achieved 85% in 2018. For the largest contributor to greenhouse gases, the transportation sector, media will report on the progress of United Parcel Service (UPS) in 2017, which decreased greenhouse-gas emissions of ground operations by 0.6% and, as part of its Global Forestry Initiative, UPS planted 2.8 million trees from 2016 to 2017.
However, the media probably will not report on smaller businesses involved daily in environmental protection, such as Hager Environmental & Atmospheric Technologies (HEAT), who are working alongside governments around the world to find high emitters among their own roadways to reduce pollution through transportation solutions.
HEAT’s primary focus is utilizing its proprietary Emission Detection and Reporting (EDAR) Remote-Sensing system, recognized as a NASA Spinoff device in 2017, which includes state-of-the-art technology that accurately detects and quantifies various gases being emitted from the tailpipe of a moving vehicle in real time. The EDAR emissions-testing system has been implemented in more than nine states and seven different countries since its introduction at a North America Conference in 2014. HEAT was invited to present its technology to the United Kingdom Parliament at the House of Commons in 2016 and the European Parliament in 2017. Since the introduction of EDAR in 2014, the HEAT team has collected millions of on-road emissions records.
EDAR systems are integrated seamlessly into Inspection and Maintenance (I/M) programs as part of an enhanced network. Furthermore, HEAT integrates its remote-sensing technology with existing databases for a customized testing experience as well as data analysis and reporting.
The use of remote sensing to monitor vehicles entering Low Emission Zones (LEZ) and identifying high-emitting vehicles more proactively assists in creating the change the world needs to improve air quality proactively and swiftly. EDAR assists in creating effective policies based on actual real-world emissions data from in-use vehicles. This powerful tool identifies whether individual vehicles are emitting within the approved regulations in the real world, not only in lab tests.
While the cost of electric vehicles (EVs) is declining and the number of charging stations is increasing, the tipping point from the demand and usage of gas and diesel engines to EVs has not been reached. Also, if there continues to be a ready supply of fossil fuels to power internal-combustion vehicle (ICE) engines, trucks and cars like most people drive today will continue to be a major form of personal transportation. As reported in Spain, last year’s registrations of older-model ICE vehicles were at an all-time high. Other studies indicate drivers are keeping their gas-powered cars and light trucks for a length of 10 to 12 years, on average. You will see a benefit in mass-transit transition to electric buses and drayage/delivery change from diesel to electric.
Throughout Europe, the use of remote sensing to monitor vehicles entering Low Emission Zones and identifying high-emitting vehicles more proactively assists in creating the change the world needs to improve air quality proactively and swiftly. Read about some of HEAT's European remote-sensing case studies by clicking the buttons below.
A study in Belgium shows the EDAR system to be extremely effective in identifying heavy-duty trucks with defeat devices and malfunctioning Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) systems. Ad hoc detection rates of these trucks are below 10% without using EDAR. However, when using EDAR, the real-time detection rate rises to well over 86%. The Flanders dataset includes the largest set of the first and only heavy-duty trucks detected using Remote Sensing while traveling at 70mph on high-speed, multi-lane highways.
In the U.S. alone, 18 government agencies are part of the Advanced Clean Trucks initiative that began in California. Other countries are making changes with Ultra Low-Emission Zones and Zero-Emission Zones, by making city centers more walkable and preparing for zero-emission, final-mile delivery plans.
Fortunately, for the Earth’s population, vehicles are getting more efficient by lowering greenhouse-gas emissions, increasing fuel economy, and in general, becoming cleaner every year. There is also an increase in the interest and production of alternative-fuel vehicles. However, in several recent reports, car owners are hanging on to their automobiles and trucks for at least 12 years, meaning that a new vehicle purchased today might still be on the road in 2034.