As part of a series of anti-pollution cooperative ventures between Washington and New Delhi, the United States has given a USD 296,000 grant to Pune to introduce innovative measures and technologies to reduce vehicular pollution.
The funding by the US trade and development agency is designed to retrofit diesel-fuelled buses with technologies designed to reduce toxic emissions and utilize low-sulfur diesel fuel.
The fund will also be utilised to test those technologies and assess its environmental impact.
The grant was finalised at a signing ceremony in Mumbai on September 1.
US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), South Asia program director Ted Macdonald has told the Washington file that several technologies will be used to retrofit diesel engines currently in use and low-sulfur fuels will be tested.
"The object is to get a better understanding of the options that exist and get data on them. Various options are available," MacDonald has been quoted.
"A lot of decisions get made without a sense of efficacy or cost," he said. The data gathered will help evolve more effective strategies.
Macdonald cited CNG as an example. In the early days of CNG implementation it was thought that the diesel-to-CNG conversion kit was the answer, but the kits do not live up to expectations. Experience shows the need for dedicated CNG engines. Solid data obtained in Pune might aid in future decision-making elsewhere" he added.
The Pune project will focus on retrofitting buses with diesel particulate filters, diesel oxidation catalysts and other innovative retrofit technologies verified by the EPA or the California air resources board to reduce air pollution.
Technology transfer, development and data from the project might yield knowledge that both India and the United States can use, the Washington File has said in a write up about the project.
"We are looking at diesel engines being produced right now that still have emissions issues. They are going to be on the road for 20 years. What are we going to do about them?" MacDonald said.
The long-term goal of the collaboration with the Pune Municipal Corporation and the Nagpur-based National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) is to develop a viable system for Pune that might later be applied in other Indian cities.