Technology Research 

Cleaning up Southern California's smog -- the worst in the nation -- by achieving the federal and state clean air standards, will require significant technological advances resulting in cleaner cars, trucks, industries and consumer products. We will have to reduce emissions from both mobile and stationary sources much further than can be expected with our current technologies. Therefore, in 1988, the SCAQMD Governing Board established the Technology Advancement Office to expedite the development, demonstration and commercialization of cleaner technologies and clean-burning fuels.

Cooperative Partnerships

The SCAQMD uses cooperative partnerships with private industry, academic and research institutions, technology developers, and government agencies to cosponsor projects intended to demonstrate the successful use of clean fuels and technologies that lower or eliminate emissions. 

Public-private partnerships have enabled the SCAQMD to leverage its public funds with, typically, an average of $3 from outside investment for every dollar contributed by SCAQMD, providing funding to encourage the use of commercially available, low-emission mobile and stationary technologies. Many of the advanced technologies funded though these public-private partnerships are now being commercialized in the South Coast Air Basin. See Implementation

Types of Projects Funded

SCAQMD has co-funded research, development and demonstration projects in a cooperative partnership with private industry, technology developers, academic and research institutes, and local, state, and federal agencies. 

Mobile source projects have included development and demonstration of less-polluting automobiles, buses, trucks, construction equipment, boats, locomotives and other off-road vehicles. This has been done though advancements in engine design, improved batteries, fuel cells (which convert fuel directly to electricity without burning it), and improved powertrains for electric vehicles. Other projects involve adapting or designing vehicles to run on clean fuels (such as natural gas, propane, methanol and hydrogen), and developing the infrastructure needed to produce and deliver those fuels.

On the stationary source front, technology advancement projects have included a wide array of low-NOx combustion systems, low-VOC coatings and processes, and clean energy production systems including fuel cells, solar power, and other renewable energy systems.

The technical areas currently identified as the highest priority include the following:

  • Fuel cells for transportation and power generation
  • Diesel alternatives
  • Electric and hybrid-electric technologies
  • Off-road applications of alternative fuel technologies
  • VOC reduction technologies for stationary sources
  • Infrastructure development

See RD & D

Funding of Clean Technology Programs

One of the primary sources of funding for the SCAQMD’s research, development, and demonstration efforts is the Clean Fuels Program. This program was mandated by state law, and is funded by a $1 surcharge included in the annual vehicle registration fee for every vehicle registered in the SCAQMD’s four-county jurisdiction.

Another source of revenues is the Advanced Technology Fund, which is composed of monies received from the settlement of certain air pollution violations. The program was established to help companies advance technology rather than simply pay a fine in certain enforcement cases.

Implementation Programs

Even after technologies are successfully developed and demonstrated, they often need a boost to promote their commercialization and widespread use. SCAQMD uses a combination of regulations and incentives to promote the commercialization of clean technologies. For example, SCAQMD has adopted a series of fleet rules [link] that will gradually shift public agencies and certain private entities to lower emissions by purchasing alternative fuel vehicles whenever a fleet operator with 15 or more vehicles replaces or adds new vehicles.

There are a number of incentive programs that encourage the transition to cleaner vehicles (see Vehicles & Engines).

Mobile Source Air Pollution Reduction Review Committee (MSRC)

In 1990, a bill that is still commonly referred to as "AB2766" became law in California (Health & Safety Code §44220-44247Link to external website.). The law prescribes an additional motor vehicle registration fee to create an air pollution reduction fund. Monies from this fund are used to implement programs to reduce air pollution from motor vehicles pursuant to air quality plans and provisions of the California Clean Air Act. The law also created the Mobile Source Air Pollution Reduction Review Committee [link] (commonly referred to by its abbreviated acronym "MSRC") to administer the fund. SCAQMD provides administrative assistance to this committee.