Cummins paves road for ’07-‘010 engine strategy

COLUMBUS, Ind. (Feb. 20, 2004, Via — Cummins has laid out its technology path to reach the next emissions hurdle – a phase-in from 2007 to 2010 that sees emissions levels drop to a tenth of even today’s stringent requirements, the company says.

To reach those levels, Cummins says it will build on the same technology that allowed it to meet the 2004 levels and put 30,000 post ’02 engines into operation. The company says the technology building blocks that first debuted in the 10/02 introductions are the basis for the cooled exhaust gas recirculation solution to 2007. In short, Cummins says what you will see in its next level engines is basically what we have today, with the sole addition of a particulate filter in the exhaust stream. Cummins says it has prototype engines running in trucks today and will have 20-30 development engines in customers hands by mid-2005.

Tina Vujovich, vice president of marketing and environmental policy, said the upcoming regulations call for a phase-in of the NOx limits from today’s 2.5 g per hp-hr to the far more stringent 2010 level of 0.2 g. Over the three-year period from 2007 to 2010, 50% of the engines must be 0.2 g level, while 50% could be 2.5 g engines. That, said Vujovich, would create a major manufacturing and marketing problem. Instead, the Environmental Protection Agency allows for an averaging, so Cummins is targeting 1.2 g NOx throughout the phase-in.

According to technology chief John Wall, Cummins already has laboratory engines that can achieve a 1 g level for NOx emissions and, with Cummins’ latest and very sophisticated computer modeling, he is confident of being able to produce production engines that will meet the 1.2 g level without exhaust aftertreatment. Particulates (PM), though, present more of an issue, because the tough 0.01 g requirement for this emissions component have no phase-in: that level hits in 2007. Although the company is having success with engine-out PM control – down to 0.04-0.05 g – the indications are that a particulate filter will be needed, he said.

Furthermore, Wall says highly advanced combustion research techniques that actually use windows on the combustion process, and the complex modeling they can now do, allow him to predict that fuel consumption will not take a hit next time. It may even improve in some applications.

In Europe, Wall says it is likely Cummins will use the alternative selective catalytic-reduction (SCR) technology, which almost all engine makers agree is still not an economically viable option for North America. However, he did not rule out some SCR for 2010 to clean up the NOx from 1.2 down to the 0.2 g levels.

The PM filter technology has been under development by Cummins since the 1980s, said Wall. The filtration uses a ceramic element in the muffler. Exhaust gas is pushed through the filter and the very small particulates of soot and lube-oil ash are deposited on the filter media. Wall says Cummins is working with lube oil additive suppliers to come up with low ash compounds with the target of maintenance-free filters by the time we get to 2007.

— from Steve Sturgess,

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