It appears trucking companies and owner/operators will be able to choose from radically different technologies to meet the impending EPA2010 emissions standards.
It was once widely believed that Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) would be the only answer for the stringent new emissions standards.
However, as reported in last month’s Truck News, Cummins has announced it can meet the 2010 standards without SCR. Since then, International Truck and Engine has also declared it will meet EPA2010 emissions standards without the use of SCR.
“While SCR is a means to achieve the NOx reduction requirement for 2010, it comes with a steep cost to our customers,” reported Daniel C. Ustian, Navistar chairman, president and chief executive officer. “Our ability to achieve our goals without adding customer cost and inconvenience is a competitive advantage for International.”
Both manufacturers claim they can meet the impending standards by tinkering with their current exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) systems and using a diesel particulate filter – in effect, an extension of the same technology they employ today.
Volvo Group and Detroit Diesel have already committed to SCR, which is widely used in Europe. Caterpillar hasn’t yet made an announcement one way or another.
One has to wonder if the split will be healthy for the industry?
Ultimately, customers will have the ability to make the choice that best meets their own requirements. Having choice is generally perceived as a positive.
However, there were already concerns about the widespread availability of urea (a key ingredient for SCR systems) and if only two manufacturers adopt SCR for their heavy-duty engines, will these concerns be amplified?
In announcing it was shying away from SCR for its heavy-duty engines, Cummins officials expressed concern about the availability of urea in some regions for truckers engaged in long-haul applications.
Availability may be more of a concern now that a smaller percentage of over-the-road trucks will be equipped with engines using SCR.
However, on the other hand, elaborate pumping and storage systems may not be required for the distribution of urea as initially feared. The liquid can be distributed and sold in windshield washer-type jugs and extra containers could easily be carried by truckers operating in remote areas.
Ultimately, it seems a line has been drawn in the sand. SCR is a proven technology already used to great effectiveness in Europe and other parts of the world. EGR, on the other hand, is the devil you know.
Which solution is the best fit for the EPA2010 emissions standards remains to be seen. But you can bet there will be plenty of posturing on both sides of the debate over the next three years. In the end, it will be customers that determine which 2010 emissions solution wins out.
Truck News is Canada's leading trucking newspaper - news and information for trucking companies, owner/operators, truck drivers and logistics professionals working in the Canadian trucking industry. All posts by Truck News