The 4th Sino-US Workshop on Motor Vehicle Pollution Prevention and Control
On June 9-10, 2014, the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) and the Vehicle Emission Control Center of the Ministry of Environmental Protection (VECC-MEP) co-sponsored the 4th Sino-US Workshop on Motor Vehicle Pollution Prevention and Control in Beijing. The workshop was supported by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Ministry of Environmental Protection of China (MEP). Additional financial support for the workshop was generously provided by the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC). Over 150 experts from government, research academies, universities, NGOs and industry participated in this two-day workshop.
China’s remarkable recent economic growth has been accompanied by a dramatic rise in motor vehicle population, leading to enormous environmental pressures, especially urban air pollution. MEP has estimated that vehicles contribute a quarter to a third of particulate matter air pollution and at least half of urban nitrogen oxide pollution in China’s megacities. Many of these emissions come from heavy-duty vehicles. China has responded aggressively with efforts to mitigate the negative environmental impacts of these tens of millions of vehicles, including the stepwise implementation of increasingly stringent tailpipe emissions and fuel quality standards. However, air quality remains poor throughout the country, and it is clear that much more must be done.
The Sino-US motor vehicle emission control workshop series focuses on comprehensive strategies to manage the environmental impacts of mobile sources. Earlier conferences in 2005, 2006, and 2009 focused on ultra-low sulfur fuel, emissions compliance programs and vehicle emissions reduction, respectively.
The topics of this workshop were transportation emission control technologies and policies for both on-road vehicles (especially for heavy-duty vehicles) and off-road equipment. Three sections were developed, accordingly: emissions control strategies and policies, technologies, and off-road emission control. Below are highlights from each section:
Compliance. As mentioned in the excellent opening speech from Wang Jian, Deputy Director of the Pollution Prevention and Control Deptartment of MEP, China has been continuously implementing strengthened emissions standards for new vehicles, but poor compliance and in-use management has hindered the pace of vehicle emissions control. The availability of core emissions control technologies such as SCR for NOx control is no longer an issue, but the actual adoption and market acceptance of the technologies is.
The next stage of China’s vehicle emissions standards. (China 6/VI). China reached a major milestone a few weeks ago when it formally announced the standard development plan for the China 6/VI standards. This is important news because it means China has officially acknowledged the long-term need for next phase, world-class emission standards. The plan calls for the development of the LDV China 6 standard by the end of 2015 and the HDV China VI standard by the end of 2016. There has been no announcement yet on specific implementation dates. Many of the technical details were discussed during the internal meeting on the second day.
Off-road vehicle emissions control. An entire morning session of the workshop focused on control of emissions from off-road equipment, including construction and agricultural equipment, in addition to ships, locomotives, and aircraft. There is broad agreement that these sources are a key priority now and in the coming years.
One of the major successes of the workshop was the interaction between the U.S. EPA and the Chinese audience. Comprehensive speeches focused on heavy-duty vehicle standard compliance, a voluntary high-emission vehicle retirement program and off-road emissions reduction programs. EPA OTAQ officials Justin Greuel and Gregory Orehowsky introduced detailed questions and sparked rich discussion on in-use compliance and supervision, end-user engagement (urea refueling etc.), recall programs, future technology options, etc. The depth of the questions and answers signaled the strong willingness of central government and local environmental protection agencies to ensure enforcement from vehicle certification to in-use stages.
One missing piece of the puzzle in launching a further tightened vehicle emissions standard (China 6/VI) is how the emissions reduction and health benefits from the new standards compare to the cost of adopting the advanced technologies and a stringent emissions control program. ICCT’s recent research filled in this blank. During the workshop, ICCT’s Vance Wagner and Zhenying Shao introduced a cost and benefit analysis – a mature and widespread framework in U.S. – to the audience, and shared the latest results. The results indicated the long-term social benefits from implementing China 6/VI standards are many times the costs.
The afternoon session of June 10 was a closed-door round-table discussion among the central and local air quality regulators on China 6/VI and related issues. The ICCT co-hosted (together with VECC’s Ding Yan) and participated in the discussion. Centering around China’s next stage vehicle emissions standard and compliance, a comprehensive list of topics were discussed including: choice of world’s existing or development of China’s own test cycle, particulate mass vs. number requirement, OBD implementation, ORVR and evaporative emissions control pathway, converging emissions and fuel consumption tests, and barriers at the legislative level, etc. There will be a growing need for closer collaboration between the U.S. and Chinese government along with NGOs like the ICCT to address these issues in the future.
A selection of materials from the workshop are available through the links below.