Company whose DPFs sparked two fires gets CARB approval

By Charlie Morasch, Land Line contributing writer | Thursday, November 29, 2012

A California company’s diesel particulate filters have been blamed for sparking two fires in the last 15 months – but that hasn’t stopped the California Air Resources Board from approving different DPFs made by the company.
 
San Diego-based Cleaire Advanced Emission Controls has announced the recent approval of its Vista DPF model by CARB and the Environmental Protection Agency. The filter is expected to be used by many trucking companies in order to meet CARB’s On Road Truck and Bus Regulation.
 
In October, CARB ordered a recall of Cleaire’s LongMile DPF after a truck with a LongMile was blamed for igniting a three-acre brushfire ignited Aug. 4 after the filter failed. The company has agreed to replace all affected LongMile models at no charge to customers by providing either a muffler replacement or a substitute ceramic-like filter, which the company and CARB said is in use on “well over a million other trucks on the road.”
 
 In September 2011, 11 months before the most recent fire, a spark kicked from a big rig and started a 3,600-acre forest fire that destroyed 100 structures and displaced hundreds of rural Washington residents. Washington estimated the fire’s total cost at $5.2 million.
 
CARB ordered a recall on the LongMile after the 2011 fire, and Cleaire added a feature that was thought to fix the problem before resubmitting the DPF to CARB and gaining another approval.
 
The 2011 fire was fought first by a group of nuns. A local newspaper photographed them while they worked a bucket line before they eventually were replaced by more than 800 firefighters.
 
In a news release, Cleaire said the Vista filter can reduce diesel particulate matter emissions by 85 percent.
 
The Vista “provides a very reliable means to ensure the high levels of particulate matter captured by the filter are safely regenerated,” said Brad Edgar, Cleaire’s president and chief technical officer, according to the release.
 
“While passive DPF systems are a good fit for certain applications, the Vista can be more broadly applied and is more tolerant of engines that may be emitting at higher levels than when they were new,” added Cleaire CEO Gale Plummer, according to the release.
 
CARB and Cleaire have a history.

Last July – nine months after CARB issued its approval for the LongMile DPF system, CARB awarded the CARB Haagen-Smit Clean Air Award to Edgar. The award, CARB’s highest honor, is named after Dr. Arie Haagen-Smit, CARB’s first chairman.

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