ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: Eaton Offers Unique 2010 Emissions Solution

KALAMAZOO, MI — Eaton Corporation is working on a new diesel exhaust aftertreatment technology to meet 2010 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) emissions requirements. With a prototype now installed in a
heavy-duty truck, it’s claimed to be “more efficient and cost-effective than many competing systems.”

It uses the selective catalytic reduction (SCR) solution broadly expected to be employed in 2010 to control nitrous oxides (NOx). What makes it unique, however, is that it does not need urea as a source of ammonia and thus there would be no need for trucks to carry liquid urea on board. Nor would there be a need for the costly urea infrastructure required to keep those trucks supplied. The system makes its own ammonia.

At a press conference late last week, Eaton said it’s been working on the solution for three years and has engaged in talks with engine and truck manufacturers globally. It’s the company’s first foray into the diesel exhaust
aftertreatment business.

Vishal Singh, marketing and business development manager for new technologies at Eaton’s Truck business unit, said the system uses a combination of fuel reformer catalyst with doser, SCR catalyst, and lean NOx trap (LNT) developed at the Eaton Innovation Center in Southfield, MI.

The key to this technology is the LNT which, like all such traps, makes ammonia.

“This is not a ‘me too’ technology”, said Singh, as he explained Eaton’s approach. “We have proposed a novel aftertreatment system that combines a fuel dosing unit, fuel reformer catalyst, an LNT catalyst, and an SCR catalyst in series to scrub NOx from the system. While most SCR systems being proposed today use urea as a means of carrying the ammonia needed to catalyze the NOx, Eaton’s system generates its own on-board ammonia. The result is a cost-effective system that meets EPA requirements and eliminates the need for urea distribution and infrastructure or on-board urea tanks.”

Singh stressed that much work remains to be done in the next three and a half years to bring this technology to market in time to meet 2010 emissions regulations. More extensive vehicle testing will begin in the third quarter of 2006.

Assuming the technology can be made to work as Eaton expects it can, an interesting 2010 scenario could be drawn – with some truck and engine makers choosing the SCR/urea solution for 2010 and others using the
patent-protected Eaton answer. None of the various players has made a formal decision yet as to the technology they’ll employ in 2010, though the choice will have to be made within the next 12-18 months to ensure sufficient time for testing. Cummins vice president Tina Vujovich says her
company will make that decision by the end of 2006.

If nothing else, Eaton’s announcement makes an already interesting situation downright fascinating. – R.L.

Rolf Lockwood is editor emeritus of Today's Trucking and a regular contributor to

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