ARB Research Seminar

This page updated July 23, 2013

Characterization of the Off-Road Equipment Population

Rick Baker, Research Scientist, Eastern Research Group, Inc., Austin, Texas

January 29, 2009
Cal EPA Headquarters, 1001 "I" Street, Sacramento, CA

Research Project


Off-road equipment is a major contributor to pollution levels in California, generating ozone precursors, particulate matter, toxics, and carbon dioxide.  These equipment are found in a wide variety of applications, including lawnmowers, bulldozers, aircraft support equipment, and portable generators, among other categories.  Off-road equipment is used in essentially all types of businesses, as well as in residential applications.  Given the large number of engines involved, and the highly diverse set of operators, off-road engines have proven more difficult to characterize and control than many other emission categories. 

In order to develop a more comprehensive and consistent data set of engine characteristics and activity, the Air Resources Board contracted with Eastern Research Group (ERG) to conduct a study of off-road engines less than 175 horsepower operating in the state.  The study was conducted in two phases, with equipment operator surveys and equipment instrumentation techniques developed and tested under Phase I, and full scale data collection and analysis taking place under Phase II.  The study results include detailed information on equipment characteristics and activity, including application type, horsepower, and hours per year of use. Surrogates were developed to extrapolate the survey data to statewide totals, as well as to allocate equipment populations to the county level.  Instrumentation of data loggers was also performed to collect engine-on time, in-use RPM and exhaust gas temperature data for different types of construction equipment.  Based on the study findings, recommendations are provided for updating the current OFFROAD emission factor model, as well as the list of federally preempted off-road equipment in California.

Speaker Biography

Rick Baker, is a senior project manager with Eastern Research Group's Mobile Sources Group in Austin Texas.  Mr. Baker works closely with the US Environmental Protection Agency OTAQ as well as state, and local agencies in Texas, California and other areas, assisting with the development of State Implementation Plans (SIPs), Early Action Compacts, US EPA reporting requirements (e.g., National Emission Inventory and National Toxics Inventory submittals), among others.

Mr. Baker specializes in surveying and evaluating equipment population and activity for “hard-to-quantify” emission sources such as construction, commercial, and industrial non-road equipment. Mr. Baker has completed two bottom-up survey efforts involving diesel construction equipment use and emissions in Texas. Mr. Baker has also served as Project Manager for a comprehensive survey and instrumentation study quantifying non-road equipment use in California.  Mr. Baker has extensive experience evaluating the environmental and fuel consumption aspects of on-road heavy-duty vehicles in a number of different applications.  Mr. Baker is currently serving as the Technical Lead in support of US EPA’s SmartWay program, evaluating emissions and fuel consumption performance metrics for on-road carriers operating in the U.S. and for a recent California Energy Commission study, Mr. Baker has assessed emerging technologies and alternative fuels that improve on-road heavy-duty freight vehicle efficiency and reduce emissions.

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