The Challenges of Reduction

Environmental issues have always been at the forefront of the heavy vehicle industry. With the additions of the Euro schemes the challenge has always been for the manufacturers to look at ways and methods of reducing the level of emissions to fit within an ever-decreasing set of acceptable standards.

This article aims to look at what some manufacturers and operators are doing in order to fit within the challenges set out through regulation.

The main recent challenge was the change to the Euro 6 scheme. Much has already been said about the scheme and its implementation, but the methods in which both manufacturers and operators took in order to fulfil the legislation is of interest.

For example; Volvo’s first Euro 6 engine, released in 2013, added an un-cooled Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) system to the engine on top of Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) which was added for Euro 4. This has ensured that the driveability of the vehicle is maintained, while optimising exhaust-gas temperature and NOX levels for efficient after-treatment. The after-treatment system was also equipped with a Diesel Oxidation Catalyst (DOC), a Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) and an Ammonia Slip Catalyst (ASC) in order to ensure that all the emissions exiting the vehicle were under the limitations set out. Anyone can agree that the number of additions required for a single engine to fulfil the requirements of the legislation was a difficult task for everyone involved.

Graph of Euro 6 - Copyright Volvo

D13K460 Engine - Copyright Volvo

Beyond the exhaust emission issues that many operators deal with, the transportation of refrigerated goods also provides another layer of emissions to deal with. Due to the nature of the storage requirements of chilled goods, two diesel engines are required in order to power both the vehicle and the cooling system, which leads to an increase of the various emissions from both engines. This of course is a problematic issue when operators are required to decrease these levels, yet require a secondary engine to ensure that the goods are not spoilt.

In June, Sainsburys, with Dearman began a trial with a newly produced liquid nitrogen powered cooling system, with the aim to completely eliminate all refrigerant associated emissions. The belief is that the system will save around 1.6 tonnes of CO2 during the three month trial, as well as 37kg of nitrogen oxides and 2kg of particulate matter, compared to a similar diesel system. At the time of this article to trial is on-going, so a full assessment is yet to be available on the success of it, so it will perhaps be revisited upon completion.

New Nitrogen Powered Refrigeration Vehicle - Copyright Sainsburys

The main concern for all operators and manufacturers lies with the implementation of Euro 7. This is down mainly due to the uncertainty of what the regulations will actually be aiming to limit further, with many predicting that the limits will be reduced on CO2, NOx and NO2. This in itself leads to questions as to how to battle the limitations without causing further problems, such as increasing engine back-pressure or fuel consumption, both of which go against the goals of the Euro 7 scheme.

Currently there are a lot of suggestions but many have yet to be put into practice. Regenerative systems for either waste heat energy or kinetic energy are popular suggestions, with other methods such as higher cylinder pressures and fuel injection rates have also been discussed. The CORE (CO2 Reduction) project‘s latest report will no doubt point us into the direction of the expected results of the Euro 7 legislation.

As the challenges and demands continue to come full flow towards the industry, it is imperative that both operators and manufacturers work together to ensure that the targets set for emission limits are fulfilled correctly. The fallout from recent controversies regarding emission testing should also prove a stark reminder to all involved that transparency and correct testing is imperative to avoid any issues in relation to customer relations and the view of the industry as a whole.
And with such items like Low Emission Zones and Euro 7 providing the industry with a further challenge, it is even more important that the steps taken to fulfil the legislative limits on emissions are followed correctly and efficiently.

For more news and information for the changes in industry, please visit the SOE or Transport Engineer websites. Further information can also be found on the Low Emission Zone, whilst Euro 7 and fleet efficiency are topics in this year’s IRTE Conference, where tickets are still available through the website.

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