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Diesel Engines: Emissions Controls and Retrofits


Affordable Diesel Retrofit Technologies Significantly Cut Harmful Emissions

While new EPA rules will require that newly manufactured highway vehicles meet tough
new emission standards beginning in 2007, there have been no major federal regulatory actions to similarly clean up diesels that are in use today. Because of the long working lives of heavy-duty diesels, action is needed now to clean up today’s working diesels in addition to the assurance of cleaner engines in the future. Indeed, new emissions control technologies and fuels now hold the promise that cleaner diesel engines may soon rival the emissions profiles for gasoline and natural gas engines while emitting about one quarter less carbon dioxide and providing better fuel economy. In fact, most of these technologies are currently available, cost-effective, and affordable. The combination of retrofit controls, new engine designs, and low-sulfur fuels will minimize the impacts of diesel exhaust and make our cities, schools, and workplaces healthier places to breathe while providing the durability and efficiency that heavy duty equipment operators demand. This summary describes emissions control options currently available or presently under testing. The summary is informed by EPA regulatory and research documents1 , the Houston Diesel Fuel Demonstration project2 , DOE/NREL3 , 2002 Manufacturers of Emissions Controls Association (MECA)4 , the Boston MTA study5 , a 1998 SAE study6 , California Air Resources Board (CARB)7 , and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority/University of West Virginia study.8 Companion Clean Air Task Force diesel fact sheets are: 1) Health and Environmental Impacts, 2) Emissions and Exposure, and 3) Sources and Regulations.

Clean Air Task Force


500 depending on size of retrofit.C. such as a burner or electrical heater. The added catalyst effectively reduces the temperature necessary for regeneration of the filter. and most rely on some means of external regeneration (selfcleaning). but were unnecessary because of the leniency of the particulate matter PM emissions standards. Since the catalyst is poisoned by sulfur. also known as “traps”. remove particulate matter from the diesel exhaust. DPF Filter Retrofits (Photos: MECA) § Catalyst–Based DPFs: Diesel particulate traps that regenerate using catalysts were demonstrated many years ago.14 Catalyzed DPFs Reduce Ultrafine PM and Toxics: Catalyzed DPFs are effective in reducing the smallest measurable ultrafine particles and thus also the “particle count” or number of particles in addition to total particulate mass.10 The average cost of a catalyzed DPF for a truck or bus is approximately $7. DPM filters. Diesel particulate filters are durable. organic particles (unburned hydrocarbons). Reducing the numbers of particles is important because health research suggests that ultrafine DPM could be even more harmful than fine PM. along with a carbon monoxide reduction of 95 percent and complete elimination of hydrocarbon emissions. to periodically burn off accumulated PM.15 DPFs can also reduce toxic hydrocarbons such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) by up to 90 percent.Particulate Matter Retrofits Achieve 90+ Percent Reductions. However.13. Metro bus study showed that retrofit DPFs reduced PM by over 90 percent.12 Indeed. Some European DPFs have demonstrated removal efficiencies of over 99 percent.16 § § Clean Air Task Force 2 . as well as an independent review subcommittee of the Clean Air Act Advisory Committee. this type of DPF can only be used with ultra low sulfur diesel fuel (ULSD). and sulfates. believes that catalyzed DPFs are available and necessary to meet or exceed EPA’s 2007 requirements. Catalyzed DPFs also provide the advantage of oxidizing and removing much of the toxic organics in DPM. EPA.11 Catalyzed DPFs Achieve 90 Percent PM Reductions : Catalyzed PM traps or DPFs can provide in excess of 90 percent reductions in emissions for PM when combined with ULSD in both new and retrofit applications. Diesel Particulate Filters (DPFs). DPFs without catalysts require frequent maintenance to clear out ash and unburned particulate and will be unable to meet the 2007 PM on-road standard9 according to EPA. Diesel particulate matter (DPM) is largely comprised of elemental carbon particles. results of the 2002 Washington D.

DOCs also are reported to reduce CO by up to 90 percent and hydrocarbons (including up to 70 percent of hydrocarbons such as formaldehyde). garbage trucks. The program. uses on-road ULSD fuel.26 Installation of DOC retrofits for the Big Dig was easy. catalyzed DPFs were applied to twenty 1999 tractor-trailer trucks using Englehard and Johnson Matthey passive regenerative catalyzed DPFs.000 retrofit applications with low sulfur fuel (10 ppm) in Sweden (including buses. Furthermore. This effort will achieve reductions equivalent to removing 1300 diesel buses off of Boston’s streets for a year. Performance did not deteriorate after one year of use.5 million DOCs have been installed on new heavy-duty highway trucks since 1994. excavators. Diesel Oxidation Catalysts: Less Costly But Less Effective than Diesel Particulate Filters: Diesel oxidation catalysts (DOCs) have been one of the most popular control options for both on-road and non-road applications to date because of their low cost and ease of installation.§ § On-Road Applications of Catalyzed DPFs Are Utilized Worldwide: DPFs have been used in over 50.20 DOCs can reduce PM by approximately 20-50 percent.25 § DOCs are Inexpensive and Require Minimal Installation Effort. which began in 1998 and is scheduled to be completed in 2004.23.22 In Boston’s Central Artery/Tunnel Project. Costs for DOCs are estimated at $425 -$2. and trains) without a single failure. PM emissions were 98 percent lower than trucks not similarly retrofitted.17 EPA reports some units in field trials accumulated over 360. construction equipment including bulldozers. mail trucks.000 miles of use. 1.000 miles despite the fact they were not serviced for ash removal in that interval. Construction Equipment Retrofit with Diesel Oxidation Catalyst in Boston (DOC attached to tailpipe in photo)21 § DOCs Successful on Non-Road Construction Equipment in Boston’s Big Dig: DOCs have been installed on over one quarter million non-road vehicles around the world. and cranes is being retrofitted with DOCs in a voluntary program established by the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority (MTA). took approximately two hours Clean Air Task Force 3 . The DPFs performed reliably for over 100.000 retrofit applications worldwide.24 A total of nearly 100 pieces of equipment have been retrofit with nearly 200 retrofits planned in the future.18 Catalyzed DPFs have been utilized in 3. carbon monoxide (CO) emissions were 62-95 percent lower and hydrocarbon (HC) emissions were reduced by 98-99 percent—below limits of detection. Department of Energy (DOE)-National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) Study Demonstrates Major Emissions Reductions from Catalyzed DPFs Retrofitted onto HD Trucks: In a 2001 DOE-NREL study19 .500 depending on engine size and sales volume.

§ Diesel-Water Emulsion: Diesel-water emulsion is a water and diesel fuel blend additive manufactured by Citgo and Lubrizol that reduces NOX by cooling the combustion temperature. SCR differs from the NOX adsorber catalyst in that it utilizes the injection of an agent (e.g. The average cost of the Engelhard DOC was $2. New developments suggest that NOX removal efficiency of the lean NOX catalyst can be raised to 30 . better reliability and the ability to spread the technology over more equipment. PM was reduced 24-69 percent. This technology can reduce hydrocarbon emissions by 80 percent and PM emissions 20 percent. Depending on whether Citgo or Lubrizol fuel was used. the NOX adsorber is a more promising device that EPA believes will meet the requirements of the 2007 on-road diesel rule. NOX was reduced by 16-41 percent in the Houston Diesel Fuel Demonstration project. offers the potential for large reductions in NOX in the range of 75-90 percent. § Application of NOX Adsorber Catalysts in Trucks: in one test. Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR): SCR. EPA’s independent panel on diesel technology report that NOX adsorbers have proven efficiencies of 70 percent or greater on bench and dynamometer tests. and was done by the construction equipment contractors themselves. DOCs were chosen by MTA due to lower cost.28 All of these results are for nearly new adsorbers. ammonia in an onboard tank) to assist Clean Air Task Force 4 . NOX Adsorber Catalyst27 : A variation on the lean NOX catalyst. EPA tested four versions of the NOX adsorber on new vehicles and all reduced NOX by 90 percent— including a highway truck demonstrating a removal efficiency of 99 percent. The adsorber is easily poisoned by even small quantities of fuel sulfur and must be periodically cleaned by exposure to high temperatures that can affect its durability. Laboratory results have indicated losses in removal efficiency with time.per engine. The applications described below were tested on new vehicles.29 Application of NOX Adsorbers in Cars: Volkswagen has reported NOX reductions of 71 percent on its diesel Passat car with the NOX adsorber catalyst. DOE reports that NOX adsorber combined with a regeneration system reduced NOx by 90 percent on a Mercedes A-class car with 150 ppm sulfur content fuel (performance was degraded by the high-sulfur fuel. This method may cause power loss and engine wear. in use since 1995. Retrofit Controls Remove Nitrogen Oxides (NOX) Lean NOX catalysts: Lean NOX catalysts offer small NOX reductions of 10-20 percent but can reduce hydrocarbons by 50-90 percent and DPM by 30-50 percent. hydrocarbon emissions were mixed: some increased some decreased. in this application the NOX adsorber catalyst is applied on the surface of the DPF.000 cost for a piece of off-road construction machinery in the study. New catalytic technology removes NOX from the exhaust through the process of adsorption (chemically binding it to the surface of the catalyst). Toyota will introduce a “Diesel Particulate-NOX Reduction (DPNR)” system in 2003 light duty vehicles. production challenges remained in 2000 when this was reported).500 --about one percent of the cited average $250. increases in carbon dioxide (CO2 ) emissions were seen.40 percent in the next few years.

30 The city of Houston evaluated the potential use of diesel NOX reduction catalysts and concluded that the technical objective of a 50-75 percent reduction of NOX was shown to be achievable with retrofit technologies for in-use diesel powered vehicles. Although the stand-alone technologies do not deliver high emissions reductions for all pollutants. Widespread use of SCR has been limited due to engineering issues and the need for refilling with urea or ammonia. the SCR/DPF combination reduced particulate matter by up to 92 percent and NOX by 78-82 percent using baseline diesel fuel (300-500 ppm sulfur).32 The cost to retrofit a bus or truck engine with EGR is about $13. MECA reports that engines equipped with SCR and a filter can achieve NOX reductions of 75-90 percent and PM reductions of greater than 90 percent.the catalyst’s performance. § Exhaust Gas Recirculation System/Catalyzed Diesel Particulate Filter: In one study. and several hundred have been installed in Europe. The device is functionally similar to the much larger power plant controls.S. Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR): Exhaust gas recirculation returns exhaust gas to the engine.35 Selective Catalytic Reduction and Ammonia Injection/Particulate Trap: In the same study. PM and Hydrocarbon Emissions. 34 Hydrocarbons were reduced by 80-86 percent. In different trial. combinations of these technologies have proven effective.000.31 However SAE concludes that EGR increased total PM emissions and the potential cancer potency of the hydrocarbons such as PAHs.36 § Clean Air Task Force 5 . EGR can effectively be combined with DPF as demonstrated in the Houston study.000$15. Diesel SCR unit (MECA) § Applications of SCR: There have been only about 50 installations of SCR since 1995 in the U. combined EGR and a filter system reduced NOX by over 40 percent and PM by over 90 percent. SAE found that EGR technology reduced NOX by 29-56 percent. EGR will be used on most new diesel trucks starting in 2003 to meet the 2004 NOX standard. EGR was combined with an Englehard DPF and ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel resulting in PM reductions of up to 83 percent and NOX reductions of up to 81 percent. EGR can reduce NOX by 40 percent in retrofit applications. Similarly.33 Retrofit Control Combinations Most Effectively Reduce NOX.

S. 7590% DPF and EGR 90% 40% Table 1: Summary of Some Emissions Controls Retrofit Options for Diesels.500 $13-15. some California bus fleets must use fuels with less than 15 ppm sulfur.S.000 est. and hydrocarbon emissions. The retrofit devices discussed above require low sulfur fuels. may be effective in lowering PM. In Denmark. Diesel control technologies cannot be utilized using high sulfur fuels.38 Ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD): Federal regulations have established diesel fuel and additive formulation requirements for on-road vehicles.500 $7.000 10-20% 30-50% 5070% 90% 7090+% 5090% $10. 39 Biodiesel is typically blended with other diesel fuels. including ULSD. as soon as possible. testing on nine vehicles utilizing 150 ppm sulfur diesel fuels caused clogging of the filters in less than six months. Unfortunately. hydrocarbons by 21 percent and carbon monoxide by 11 percent. which have inherently low fuel sulfur concentrations. limiting fuel sulfur content to 15 ppm beginning in 2006 for use with 2007 vehicles. while NOX 6 § Clean Air Task Force . In July 2002.gov/otaq/retrofit/fuelsmap. 37 90% Low Sulfur Diesel Fuels Are Requisite for Retrofit Controls.epa. (see http://www. low sulfur fuels are not available everywhere in the U.000$50. The primary challenge to technological application of these devices is making the fuel widely available throughout the U. More than 200 fleets use biodiesel as a fuel or fuel additive. carbon monoxide. particulate matter emissions reductions of 58-76 percent and a 67 percent reduction in carbon monoxide. A 20 percent diesel fuel (by volume) reduces PM by 10 percent. Control Device >Diesel oxidation catalyst (DOC) >Diesel particulate filter (DPF) w/ catalyst >Exhaust gas recirculation catalyst (EGR) >Lean NOx catalyst >Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) >NOx Adsorber (new applications) CCCOMBINATIONS DPF and SCR PM 25-50% 90% 40% NOX CO 90% HCs 70% 90% Appx Unit Cost $425-2. Non-road diesel fuel used in 49 states is commonly 10 times higher in sulfur than onroad vehicle diesel fuel.§ Diesel Oxidation Catalyst / Diesel Emulsion Fuel: Testing in the Houston study that combined DOCs with diesel emulsion fuel resulted in NOX reductions of 18-48 percent. Biodiesel: EPA testing suggests that biodiesel fuels made from soybean oils. § § § § Current on-road diesel fuels are limited to 500 parts per million (ppm) sulfur or less.htm for current fuel availability map).

41 Other Emissions Reductions Strategies Help Reduce Exposure to Diesel Exhaust The following represent other options for reducing diesel emissions: • Anti-idling ordinances and enforcement • Driver education • Truck stop electrification and climate control (heating/air conditioning) • Relocation of school bus loading areas away from building entrances and air intakes • Emissions /smoke testing Anti-Idling Ordinances Are an Effective Way to Reduce Local Diesel Exhaust. (1998). L.wmata. A study of the effects of exhaust gas recirculation on heavy-duty diesel engine emissions. p 19. S.5 times the FTP standard). See: http://www. Ris k reduction plan to reduce particulate matter emissions from diesel-fueled engines and vehicles. A.cfm and http://www. Clean Air Task Force 7 . 8 Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (METRO) press release December 5. 80 and 86..meca. Bagley. http://www. SAE Technical Paper Series 981422.com/about/MET_NEWS/200206/pr_environment. Gratz. Biodiesel may also reduce cancer-causing polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) by 80-90 percent and reduce life-cycle carbon dioxide by 78 percent.increases by 2 percent. D.. 6 Kreso. Johnson.com/about/MET_NEWS/200212/pr_clean_buses.cfm.wmata. Also see: http://www.meca. and Leddy. 3 Chandler.org. AWMA symposium paper 206. However biodiesel may be used as a ULSD fuel and therefore achieve many greater emissions reductions than the fuel alone. p. 40 According to NJDEP. and Vertin.cfm. 5047 (January 18. and Wan P. the incremental cost of 20 percent biodiesel fuel (a common blend) is about $0. 13. Oct. October 2000..com/about/MET_NEWS/200205/pr_emissioncontrol.. G. Risk reduction plan to reduce particulate matter emissions from diesel-fueled engines and vehicles. Retrofitting emission controls on dieselpowered vehicles. 66 Fed. 5002. Final Rule.wmata. (2001) Ralph’s Grocery EC-Diesel truck fleet final data report. http://www.01 g/bhp-hr.10/gal. Reg. 2 Environment Canada (2002) City of Houston diesel field demonstration project. J.01 g/bhp-hr. 4 Table based on emissions controls review by Manufacturing of Emissions Controls Association (MECA) (2002). March 2002. 7 California Air Resources Board (2000). A. 2002. ERMD Report # 01-36. 2001). Schattanack. K. 10 Ultra low sulfur diesel is limited to 15 ppm sulfur. 2000. 12 Range of control efficiencies is 85-97 percent according to California Air Resources Board (2000). 40 CFR parts 69.org. Retrofitting emission controls on diesel-powered vehicles. March 2002. DOE/NREL..42 References 1 EPA (2001) Control of Air Pollution from New Motor Vehicles: Heavy-Duty Engine and Vehicle Standards and Highway Diesel Fuel Sulfur Control Requirements. 5 Kasprak. 11 Manufacturing of Emissions Controls Association (MECA) (2002). 13 EPA believes this technology can meet or exceed the federal test procedure (FTP) level of 0. (2001) Emission reduction retrofit program for construction equipment of the central artery/tunnel project. K. 9 DPM limit for 2007 is 0. as well as the “not to exceed” (NTE) requirements for diesel emissions testing (1.

39 EPA (2002). March 2002 31 Manufacturing of Emissions Controls Association (2002). Retrofitting emission controls on diesel-powered vehicles. http://www. Senior Scientist. 17 Manufacturing of Emissions Controls Association (MECA) (2002). Final Rule. at 5047 Jan 18. Schattanek. http://biodiesel.com/thtml/envair01. A comprehensive analysis of biodiesel impacts on exhaust emissions. Retrofitting emission controls on dieselpowered vehicles. March 2002. Draft Technical Report EPA420-P-02-001. 25.750.Reg.meca. 34 Environment Canada (2002). 30 Manufacturing of Emissions Controls Association (2002). 80 and 86. 27 EPA (2001) Control of Air Pollution from New Motor Vehicles: Heavy-Duty Engine and Vehicle Standards and Highway Diesel Fuel Sulfur Control Requirements. Emission reduction retrofit program for construction equipment of the central artery/tunnel project. Retrofitting emission controls on dieselpowered vehicles. $425-$1. http://www.org 41 NJDEP.Reg.meca. Final Rule. March 2002. 66 Fed. 36 Manufacturing of Emissions Controls Association (2002).01 g/bhp-hr. 26 Manufacturing of Emissions Controls Association (MECA) (2002). at 5049. http://www. A.6. and Wan. Retrofitting emission controls on diesel-powered vehicles. Meeting technology challenges for the 2007 heavy-duty highway diesel rule. Clean Air Task Force 8 . p. P. 35 Manufacturing of Emissions Controls Association (2002). 15 Harrison. March 2002. 66 Fed. Presentation to STAPPA/ALAPCO Workshop October 15..Big Dig cost $2. City of Houston diesel field demonstration project. PowerPoint presentation 10-30-02.org.com/thtml/envair01..org. 28 NOx reduction from 5 g/bhp-hr to 0. 21 http://www. Reg.meca. Clean Air Act Advisory Committee (2002). (2001). http://www. 2. Retrofitting emission controls on diesel-powered vehicles. Retrofit emission control technologies for on-and off-road diesel engines. 2002. p. March 2002. v. 37 Table largely based on emissions controls review by Manufacturing of Emissions Controls Association (MECA) (2002). Final Report. September 2001. Retrofitting emission controls on diesel-powered vehicles. P.5 g/bhp-hr 33 Manufacturing of Emissions Controls Association (MECA) (2002). p.14 Clean Diesel Independent Review Subcommittee. Atmospheric Environment. Final Report. http://www.htm 22 Manufacturing of Emissions Controls Association (2002). et al. March 2002. 6. 38 EPA (2001) Control of Air Pollution from New Motor Vehicles: Heavy-Duty Engine and Vehicle Standards and Highway Diesel Fuel Sulfur Control Requirements. http://www. 2002. Ralph’s grocery EC-diesel truck fleet final data report. Hill Ph. 309-321. 40 Biodiesel Board (2002) Biodiesel emissions reduce cancer risk compared to diesel. March 2002.org. 2002. 16 Manufacturers of Emission Controls Association (2002).org. 24 http://www.meca.meca. 13. Range reported. G. March 2002.com/thtml/images/enviro14. Fine particulates: opportunities for expedited risk reduction. 40 CFR parts 69. March 2002. 33 p. October 2002.org. 2001 Air and Waste Management Association Annual Meeting paper 206.jpg Prepared by L. (1999). p. p.bigdig.meca. http://www.D.org.bigdig. ERMD Ret # 01-36 p. Retrofitting emission controls on diesel-powered vehicles. Measurements of the Physical properties of particles in the urban atmosphere.meca.6 23 Kasprak.meca. 42 http://www.htm 25 Manufacturing of Emissions Controls Association (2002).org. 32 2004 NOx standard: 2. Meeting technology challenges for the 2007 heavy-duty highway diesel rule. 14. 19 Department of Energy/ National Renewable Energy Laboratory (2001). 18 40 CFR Parts 69. 80 and 86. Retrofitting emission controls on diesel-powered vehicles. 80 and 86. 2001. 34.” STAPPA-ALAPCO workshop. NREL Golden CO. Clean Air Act Advisory Committee (2002). Retrofitting emission controls on diesel-powered vehicles. Press release September 5. http://www. 29 Clean Diesel Independent Review Subcommittee.500. Presentation: “Retrofit emission controls technologies for on and off-road diesel engines. Retrofitting emission controls on dieselpowered vehicles.org. March 2002. 40 CFR parts 69.B. at 5048. Control of air pollution from new motor vehicles: heavy-duty engine and vehicle standards and highway diesel fuel sulfur control requirements. http://www. 66 Fed. 20 Manufacturing of Emissions Controls Association (2002). final rule.meca.org.meca. http://www. p. October 15.bigdig.org.

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