24 May 2023: Summary of technical sessions from the 44th International Vienna Motor Symposium held on April 26-28, 2023 [more ...].
23 May 2023: As the European energy crisis triggered by the Ukraine conflict disappeared from news headlines, many framed this outcome as a success of Europe’s two-decade-long push for renewable energy. This view, however, is not supported by energy statistics. There is no energy transition, no paradigm shift or green revolution, according to an analysis by oil analyst Art Berman. The percent fossil contribution to European electric power is unchanged since 2018. The contribution of wind, solar, nuclear and hydro actually decreased from 59% in 2018 to 55% in 2022. The broader perspective is that electric power only represents 23% of final energy consumption for Europe, which means that wind and solar only account for 5.3% of the final energy consumption—a relatively small add-on to Europe’s energy supply. Fossil fuels still make up 72% of European energy consumption, down from 77% in 2012—the green energy effort has not done much to free Europe from dependence on fossil energy.
20 May 2023: Summary of technical sessions from the SAE Heavy-Duty Diesel Sustainable Transport Symposium, held on May 3-4, 2023 in Gothenburg, Sweden [more ...].
17 May 2023: Emission standards: Our updated summary of EU CO2 emission standards for cars and vans now includes the recently adopted 2030-2035 emission targets.
16 May 2023: World oil demand is forecast to rise by 2.2 mb/d year-on-year in 2023 to an average 102 million barrels per day (mb/d), according to the IEA’s Oil Market Report - May 2023. This estimate is 200 kb/d above last month’s Report. China’s demand recovery continues to surpass expectations, the IEA said, with the country setting an all-time record in March at 16 mb/d. While oil prices have recently been pressured lower by muted industrial activity and higher interest rates, the current market pessimism stands in stark contrast to the tighter market balances—the IEA expects that in the second half of the year oil demand will eclipse supply by almost 2 mb/d.
15 May 2023: The CIMAC Congress will open in less than one month, on June 12th, in Busan, Korea. The final technical program is now available online. It is time to register and to book your travel.
29 April 2023: Summary of technical sessions on engine and emission control technologies from the SAE WCX 2023 Congress, held on April 18-20, 2023 in Detroit [more ...].
28 April 2023: The California Air Resources Board approved the Advanced Clean Fleets (ACF) regulation that requires a phased-in transition for California fleets toward zero-emission medium- and heavy-duty vehicles by 2045 “everywhere feasible” [more ...].
26 April 2023: The European Parliament and the Council reached a political agreement on the ReFuelEU Aviation proposal, which would require fuel suppliers to blend sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) with jet fuel in increasing amounts from 2025 [more ...].
20 April 2023: A heavy dose of reality for electric-truck mandates—The vice chair of the American Trucking Associations, Andrew Boyle, testified before the US Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on the future of clean vehicles, injecting a “heavy dose of reality” into the debate over electric truck mandates. Boyle’s testimony sheds light, from a trucking company perspective, how disconnected the EV mandates are from real-world conditions—considering the lack of electric power and charging infrastructure, EV costs, weight issues, and the state of the EV technology compared to diesel. “Today, a clean diesel truck can spend 15 minutes fueling anywhere in the country and then travel about 1,200 miles before fueling again. In contrast, today’s long-haul battery electric trucks have a range of about 150-330 miles and can take up to 10 hours to charge”.
19 April 2023: The Status of Global Oil Production: 2023 Update, by Roger Blanchard provides a concise summary of oil production rates around the world and an analysis of future trends and production potential. The global oil production rate in 2022 averaged 80.628 mb/d. The global oil production rate in 2022 was better than the previous two years because oil demand during 2020 and 2021 was down due to the Covid-19 pandemic. When compared to pre-pandemic levels, the global oil production rate in 2022 was not particularly good—it was lower than the production rates in both 2018 (82.986 mb/d) and 2019 (82.170 mb/d). For the period 2008 through 2018, almost all of the global oil production increase came from the US shale plays, but the situation isn’t looking so rosy for the future. It can be expected that the US oil production rate could decline by over 5 mb/d for the 10 year period from 2023 through 2032. A rapid decline of US oil production would be a considerable shock to the US economic, financial, and political systems, and would have global implications because there are no places left globally to make up for a sizable decline in US production.
14 April 2023: Volkswagen is calling for a delay in the implementation of Euro 7 emission standards. According to a VW position paper seen by Reuters, the implementation of new EU emissions standards should be pushed to at least fall of 2026 for new types and to the fall of 2027 for all new vehicles. Volkswagen could meet this delayed timeline—over a year later than planned—provided the law comes into force in mid-2024, giving carmakers two years’ notice to begin implementing the planned standards and three years to cover their entire new fleets. Expecting the new standards to be implemented from July 2025 would lead to a production halt for many models over many months across Europe, VW said.
12 April 2023: The US EPA has proposed GHG and criteria pollutant emission standards for MY 2027 and later light-duty vehicles, and Phase 3 GHG emission standards for heavy-duty vehicles [more ...].
10 April 2023: The US EPA will propose new GHG emission standards for light-duty vehicles that, if implemented, would move the US car market decisively toward electric vehicles over the next decade, according to the New York Times. The new GHG standards would start in model year 2027 and gradually increase through model year 2032, when the rule would ensure that 64%-67% of all new US car sales would be electric vehicles. An official announcement is expected on Wednesday in Washington.
4 April 2023: The SAE WCX™ World Congress Experience—the largest technical mobility event in North America—will be held on April 18-20, 2023 in Detroit. This is where thousands of CEOs, CTOs, chief engineers, business development managers, and R&D professionals converge to keep up with technology advancements and engage with technical experts. There is still some time to register.
3 April 2023: China 6b emission standards, scheduled to become effective in July, will likely be postponed to allow the sale of existing inventories of China 6a vehicles, according to Chinese media reports.
30 March 2023: Added summary of Chilean emission standards for nonroad engines. Chile adopted emission standards based on US Tier 4/EU Stage V standards effective October 2023.
28 March 2023: The EU Council adopted a regulation setting a zero CO2 emission performance standard for new cars and vans from 2035, with an exemption for combustion engine vehicles fueled exclusively by carbon-neutral e-fuels [more ...].
21 March 2023: The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the final installment—the Synthesis Report—of its Sixth Assessment Report (AR6). The pace and scale of what has been done so far, and current plans, are insufficient to tackle climate change, the IPCC said. Emissions should be decreasing by now and will need to be cut by almost half by 2030, if warming is to be limited to 1.5°C. From 2010 to 2019, global GHG emissions increased by 12%, according to the report. From 1990 to 2019, emissions increased by 54%, driven by fossil fuel consumption, industrial activities, and methane emissions.
17 March 2023: The US EPA 2027 low-NOx emission standards for heavy-duty engines become effective in just a few years. An interesting article in Truckinginfo analyzes the potential effects of the 2027 regulation on US truck fleets. The expected new emission technologies—including cylinder deactivation, dual SCR systems, and heated DEF dosers—will increase the complexity and cost, potentially adding $20,000 to $25,000 per truck. The trucking industry is also anxious that the short implementation time will not allow for adequate durability and reliability testing of the new trucks, leading to additional costs in repairs and downtime for the trucking industry and additional warranty costs for the OEMs (especially considering the increased mandatory emission warranty periods). While the OEMs approach to meet the 2027 emissions is unknown, emissions credits may be key to compliance. Some of the engines currently on the road have been certified to NOx levels as low as 0.05 g/bhp-hr, earning significant NOx credits.
9 March 2023: The Technology Guide paper on Heavy-Duty Diesel Engines with Aftertreatment has been updated with a discussion of emission technology options for meeting the California/US 2024/2027 emission standards for heavy-duty engines.
28 February 2023: Natural gas markets worldwide continued to tighten in 2022 despite global consumption declining by an estimated 1.6%—according to the IEA’s Gas Market Report, Q1-2023 released today. In Europe, unprecedented price rises led to a 13% reduction in gas demand as industry scaled back production, consumers dialed down thermostats, and mild winter helped reduce heating needs. In Asia, gas demand dropped by 2% as a result of high LNG prices, Covid-related disruptions in China, and mild weather. Demand is forecast to remain flat in 2023.
Engines & Emissions
The internal combustion engine (ICE) has been a key prime mover that largely replaced earlier prime movers of lesser efficiency—human labor, animal work, the water wheel, the windmill, and the steam engine—thus enabling modern industrial civilization. The most efficient type of ICE, the diesel engine, has been widely used in heavy trucks, construction and agricultural machinery, rail locomotives, ships, and emergency power generation. Its gasoline counterpart has been common in passenger cars. Another related power plant, the gas turbine, has been powering commercial aviation.
For many years, engine developers have been striving to make engines cleaner. Following the three-way catalyst for gasoline engines, clean diesel technologies that enabled near-zero emissions of PM and NOx were developed and introduced in many regions of the world. The focus in technology development has then shifted to climate change and energy efficiency. The benefit of low CO2 emissions, traditionally associated with the diesel engine, is no longer sufficient to meet GHG and fuel economy regulations. New technologies are being developed—such as new combustion techniques, powertrain electrification, and waste heat recovery—that further increase the efficiency not only of the engine itself, but of the entire vehicle. Critically, as GHG emissions occur at all stages of vehicle life, from manufacture through disposal, low-carbon policies must consider life cycle effects of fuels and vehicles.
A major challenge ahead is the approaching end of the Oil Age—not only due to climate policies, but for economic reasons stemming from the depletion of easily recoverable oil resources. As fossil fuels are replaced by alternatives of lesser energetic quality, the future of mobility remains largely unknown. While the world aims to embrace more sustainable mobility, most alternative powertrain technologies depend on quantities of rare and nonrenewable natural resources, and therefore are not truly sustainable. Another often suggested approach—that of fueling the ICE by low-carbon e-fuels—suffers from low efficiency and would require substantial amounts of energy, which seems problematic in an economy that no longer has access to cheap and abundant fossil energy. All this suggests that future mobility will be based on a mix of powertrain technologies, where combustion engines continue to play an important role.
DieselNet—initially an information service on diesel engines and emissions—evolved over the decades to become the central internet resource for technical and business information related to all types of internal combustion engines, their fuels, emissions, and the technologies required by the clean and efficient engines of the future.