AUBURN HILLS, MI – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and automotive supplier BorgWarner Inc. announce here a partnership for the development of components and systems to speed the adoption of diesel engines for light-duty vehicles in the U.S.

Through the new partnership, BorgWarner will bring expertise in turbocharging, air management, glowplugs and exhaust-gas recirculation (EGR) systems to the EPA’s Clean Diesel Combustion (CDC) and High Efficiency Gasoline Combustion development programs.

EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson says the regulatory agency’s ongoing CDC development program is backing the recently stated goal of the Bush Admin. to cut crude oil imports by 75% by 2025. New diesel technology is “dramatically cleaner while retaining its famous fuel efficiency,” Johnson says.

He adds that the EPA, whose main goal is to improve air quality, is working with many technology partners to advance diesel technology for both commercial and passenger vehicles to simultaneously reduce oil consumption without sacrificing clean air.

For many years, diesels have been perceived as “dirtier” than gasoline engines, largely due to the puffs of black soot that often can be seen from their exhausts, as well as their higher output of oxides of nitrogen.

But Johnson, as well as Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum, a diesel-engine advocacy group, say recent advances in diesel technology have made sooty exhaust a thing of the past, as well as markedly reducing other pollutants to the point where diesels are poised to comply with the new federal Tier II and California LEV II emissions standards.

The new standards call for drastic cuts in emissions levels.

Where once the EPA’s policies could be viewed as at odds with those wishing to expand the use of diesels, new technology has given the diesel a chance to flourish – even within the framework of the nation’s tight new emissions regulations.

Johnson says the partnership with BorgWarner is “advancing technologies that are good for the environment and energy security, adding that the diesel engine is poised to expand from being a commercial workhorse to “an environmental workhorse.”

Tim Manganello, BorgWarner chairman and CEO, says his company and the EPA are working on a variety of components and systems to speed adoption of the EPA’s CDC technology, which relies on lower temperatures to achieve combustion than are typical of conventional diesels.

Manganello says the tightly controlled combustion process requires new, more advanced turbochargers, EGR systems and other components to precisely control airflow and exhaust gas conditions.

U.S. Rep. Joe Knollenberg (R-Bloomfield Twp.), on hand for the announcement, says diesel engines for light vehicles are “one step on the road to energy independence.”

bvisnic@wardsauto.com