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Diesel Engine Power

March 04, 2001

* For some time now, it has been the agenda of certain groups to kill the compression ignition engine, otherwise referred to as the "diesel." The recent energy fiasco has only given these people more ideas.

I read "Firms' Use of Backup Diesel Generators Attracting Heat" [Feb. 4] with much concern over the lack of accurate information. The mere fact that the "beliefs" of the California Air Resources Board are included goes to show cooperation with political conspiracy.

The fact is that diesel engine technology is well suited for periodic power generation. Most pollution from diesel engines is produced during speed and load change, whereas a generator runs at a virtual constant. Turbines are of the same nature, only more so. The diesel's advantage is its ability to be started more easily. Another factor in emissions is a lack of proper maintenance, every engine's worst enemy.

Furthermore, the evil is not the technology in and of itself, but rather the fuel consumed. Modern engines being produced by industry leaders are practically as "clean" as competing technologies, as well as being more efficient. And this is with No. 2 diesel oil! One advantage of diesel technology is its adaptability to a wide range of fuel types.

I would hope that rather than throw away a bright and promising technology, the American people would welcome advancement. The truth is, if this technology were discontinued, a great void would be left with no perfect replacement. Diesel engines are not perfect, but neither is life.

DAVE LESSIG

Riverside

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