The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

February 28, 2014

Our view: Modine leading the way

Who would have guessed that Joplin’s Modine Manufacturing Co. plant would be leading the way in the development of parts that could significantly improve the gas mileage of big trucks and reduce greenhouse gas emissions?

The Wisconsin-based company is a participant in the ongoing U.S. Department of Energy program known as SuperTruck, which could develop and road test a concept vehicle that is cleaner and more fuel-efficient.

Modine has developed experimental exhaust gas boilers that use heat coming off exhaust gas to boil a liquid and convert it to steam that turns a turbine, producing mechanical power that can be channeled back to the drive train or used to generate electricity.

The increase in fuel economy would save about $27,000 annually per truck, based on today’s diesel fuel prices for a long-haul truck traveling 120,000 miles.

President Barack Obama, through executive order, has directed that new fuel standards for big trucks be drafted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation by March 2015.

In 2010, heavy-duty vehicles represented just 4 percent of registered vehicles on the road in the U.S., but they accounted for more than a quarter of the transport sector’s greenhouse gas emissions.

The president has said that improving gas mileage for these trucks is going to drive down our oil imports even further.

Said Obama: “That reduces carbon pollution even more, cuts down on businesses’ fuel costs, which should pay off in lower prices for consumers. So it’s not just a win-win, it’s a win-win-win. We got three wins.”

These are steps in the right direction in the fight against climate change and dependence on oil imports.

Modine could help the country achieve these goals. It should be applauded for its efforts.

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