EPA2010 – Myths and Realities: Part 2

As January 2010 draws near, fleet managers and owner/operators will have to decide between two competing technologies to meet EPA2010 emissions standards. By now, most will know that Navistar is going to ramp up exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) levels in order to become EPA2010-compliant, while all other manufacturers are employing the exhaust aftertreatment system known as Selective Catalytic Reduction(SCR).
Each solution has its advantages and each also presents some concerns.
This is Part 2 in a series of blogs that will address some concerns and/or myths about EPA2010 emissions standards and both of the solutions that will be presented to the market. These blogs will be comprised of information obtained through many interviews I’ve conducted on the subject and plenty of additional research.
If you’re a stakeholder in this debate, and wish to comment on any of the points below, feel free to post a comment. Some spirited comments were posted in response to Part 1 and hopefully those contributors will stick around and answer any questions you may have on the subject of 2010 emissions solutions.
In Part 2 of the series, we’ll dispel the myth that Navistar’s 2010 solution will not be compliant by January.
EPA2010 MYTH: Navistar’s solution will not be EPA-compliant by Jan. 1
Navistar has taken some heat, perhaps undeservedly, for its use of credits to become EPA2010-compliant. It’s true that the tailpipe NOx levels of 2010 International MaxxForce engines may not initially meet the EPA’s stringent requirements. However, the engine will still be ‘compliant’ because Navistar will cash in credits it obtained from the EPA for bettering its previous emissions thresholds.
Navistar earned credits for being cleaner than required during previous rounds of EPA emissions standards. It can now redeem those credits (at a discounted rate) with EPA in order to gradually ramp up to EPA2010 levels, beginning in January, 2010.
Some may suggest this to be cheating the system, but it is really not cheating at all. Navistar is capitalizing on a program the EPA established to reward engine manufacturers that exceeded earlier emissions requirements. There’s nothing underhanded about what the company is doing, and other engine makers have used credits in the past and may well do so again in the future.
When pressed by media on their use of credits during a recent conference call, Navistar reps seemed mildly annoyed that the subject kept popping up. They contend their use of credits has no impact whatsoever on their customers – which is where their priorities lay.
“We always had a plan to take advantage of (the credit program) as a way to phase into 2010 requirements,” Navistar officials explained during the aforementioned conference call.
Everything is being done above board, and to the EPA’s satisfaction, and that’s all customers are concerned about, Navistar contends.
Placing myself in the shoes of a customer, I can see no reason to be worried about Navistar’s use of credits. Provided, of course, that Navistar can maintain the fuel economy and performance of its engines beyond Jan. 1, 2010 as it continues to gradually roll back NOx emissions.
With SCR, what you see on Jan. 1, 2010 is pretty much what you’ll get. Navistar, however, will have further work to do to get down to EPA2010 NOx levels. Can they do so without impacting fuel economy and performance? There’s no reason to believe they can’t, but it’s a question worth asking.

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James Menzies is editor of Today's Trucking. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 20 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at james@newcom.ca or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies.

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  • Well, since it’s a question worth asking, I figured I should ask it. Here’s what Tim Shick, director of marketing with Navistar’s engine group has to say:
    “Our approach to 2010 is taken in a series of steps. We have taken the 1st step already – every high volume Navistar engine is certified below 2007 requirements. In January 2010 we will certify these engines at .5 NOx. Performance and fuel economy will be preserved by increasing fuel pressure, rematching the turbos and refining the piston bowls for optimum combustion, and programming the electronic calibration to deliver this potential.
    “Sometime in 2010 we will certify our engines at .2 NOx and go through the same steps noted in the prior sentence as we take in 2010. This will again preserve performance and fuel economy at current levels. We are quite confident in this approach. Each increase in fuel pressure increases combustion efficiency to offset any degradation due to increased EGR rates.”
    So there you have it, straight from the source.