Goin’ green

by Lou Smyrlis

LOUISVILLE, Ky – International put what it considers the next critical step in cleaner diesel engines on display at the Mid-America Trucking Show, and it hinges on better fuel.

International says it can reduce emissions without harming engine performance thanks to its Green Diesel Technology, which uses a continuously regenerating silicone-media (sand-like) trap combined with an ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel.

Patrick Charbonneau, who demonstrated the technology on an International 4900 6×4 dump truck equipped with an International 530 diesel engine, said tests showed that it reduced engine particulate matter by more than 90 per cent compared to today’s standards and brought it to a level 50 per cent lower than the best certified levels of natural gas engines. Hydrocarbons were reduced below measurable levels, eliminating the odor associated with diesel, and nitrogen oxides were reduced by 90 per cent. And he further proved his point by sniffing at the end of the truck’s exhaust pipe.

However, ultra-low sulfur diesel is an absolute necessity for the technology, which poses a supply issue. The ultra clean fuel, which has less than five parts of sulfur per million, is available in California by ARCO but how quickly it will become readily available in the rest of North America will largely depend on how willing fleets will be to move to the new fuel.

He added that International is pressing to have low sulfur fuel listed as an alternative fuel. Certainly this fuel option has its advantages beyond being environmentally friendly: There is an ample supply of the base stock and the supply can flow the existing distribution infrastructure, no special storage or handling is required, and no engine modifications are required. In comparison, methanol is corrosive and requires additional engine components, natural gas requires heavy and complex fuel storage while gasoline uses 40 to 60 per cent more fuel per mile than diesel.

Charbonneau also said low sulfur fuel not only will not affect engine performance, ARCO’s version even boasts higher cetane levels that could improve it.

“If anything, because of the higher cetane it can give you better startability,” he said. n

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