Dirty Secrets: Carriers call for emissions crackdown
TORONTO, Ont. -- Clean air comes at a cost, and it involves the emissions-related changes to exhaust systems and engines, sometimes introducing added maintenance costs and reduced fuel economy in the process. That’s led to one of the trucking industry’s worst-kept dirty secrets. Many truck owners are reprogramming electronic control modules to bypass SCR (selective catalytic reduction) systems, which reduce unwanted NOx by introducing diesel exhaust fluid to the combustion process.
Bosch slashes NOx, without adding components
Flat Rock, Mich. – Bosch says it has pioneered an emissions reduction technology that can cut NOx emissions to 10% of levels seen with current diesel-powered cars, and without adding components. Not only that, the company says the technology can be scaled up for use in medium- and heavy-duty diesel engines. The supplier based in Stuttgart, Germany, unveiled the technology in April and offered further details during a North American press event this week. Alex Freitag, director of engineering with Bosch’s powertrain solutions group, said the new approach to NOx emissions will keep diesel engines in the game for years to come without adding significant costs to the vehicle. "The value proposition of the diesel engine is maintained with a minimal impact on fuel economy," he said.
2021: The Medium-Duty Emissions Odyssey
TORONTO, Ont. -- The next round of greenhouse gas (GHG) regulations is due in 2021, but the model year of trucks affected by the rule will actually hit the road about two years from now. And while fleets that operate Class 7 and 8 heavy-duty trucks are already losing sleep over the rule, a significant share of the population operating medium-duty trucks doesn’t even know these rules exist. They’re the kinds of trucks operated by businesspeople and contractors who sees vehicle as a tool for some other business. Think electricians, landscapers, bakers, and plumbers. Their passion is their business, not the truck they use. "Back when the 2007 and 2010, soot and NOx emissions rules kicked in. We had to educate our customers on those changes, as dramatic as they were," says Brian Tabel, executive director of marketing for Isuzu Commercial Truck of America. "Most of them didn't know the change was in place, but they sure noticed the price jump between 2006 and 2010 [Model Year] trucks. Customers that had bought pre-emissions 2006 trucks and were shopping for another one in 2010 were shocked. They were mostly utterly unaware of the changes that had occurred over the past 10 years."
Mack tests truck by wires using eHighway
GREENSBORO, NC - Mack has added to the growing list of electrified truck prototypes, showcasing a plug-in hybrid electric driveline as part of a zero-emission eHighway demonstration in Carson, California. The Pinnacle day cab drew power from Siemens-produced eHighway infrastructure, which came in the form of a mile of catenary systems -- similar to those used to power trolleys or streetcars. Energy was transferred through a "current collector" from Siemens. The demonstration near the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach was in partnership with Siemens, sponsored by the South Coast Air Quality Management District. "Mack continuously investigates alternative solutions to diesel, and the catenary system is just one of a number of projects in which we are currently involved," said Jonathan Randall, Mack's senior vice president - North American sales. The manufacturer has explored several ways to reduce Greenhouse Gases, using everything from plug-in hybrid electric powertrains to alternative fuels such as dimethyl ether (DME).
New engine oil categories making the grade
SANTA BARBARA, CA - A new generation of engine oils is in the North American market, passing a battery of tests developed for specific engine brands. But the work of convincing buyers about related features and benefits continues. The transition from CJ-4 to CK-4 and fuel-efficient FA-4 categories has essentially been seamless, says Dan Arcy, Shell Lubricants' global OEM technical manager, referring to formulas that were officially released in December. The chemistry was driven by ongoing calls for longer drain intervals, better fuel economy, lower emissions, and increasing horsepower, after all. And these are hardly the engine oils that have flowed through pumps in years gone by. Oxidation stability had to improve to handle higher under-hood temperatures. When oil oxidizes, it becomes acidic and thickens, Arcy explained during a media briefing in California this week. At the very least, that shortens potential oil drain intervals.
Saskatchewan association continues carbon tax fight
REGINA, SK - Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall is retiring from politics, but the Saskatchewan Trucking Association is continuing his fight against carbon pricing - and also recommending steps that should be followed if such a tax becomes a reality. "We have supported the provincial government's stance on a carbon tax since the beginning, and that has not changed," said Susan Ewart, executive director, when releasing a related white paper on Friday. "The actions the federal government is planning on taking for backstop jurisdictions are not trucking-friendly and place an unfair burden on industry. Proper policy planning will prevent those actions." According to the association, a carbon tax would create an administrative burden, give U.S. carriers operating in Canada a competitive advantage, create budgeting challenges for trucking companies, and create inequalities between different transportation modes because of exemptions for marine and aviation.
IN PRINT — A Changing Climate: Is there still a case for greener trucks?
Black smoke was once the inky signature of diesel engines everywhere. Now it has all but disappeared. A 1998 Model Year truck actually belched 35 times more smog-producing NOx and 60 times more Particulate Matter than equipment built to meet 2010 emissions standards, and that's before regulators turned their attention to Greenhouse Gases.