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DieselNet: Engines, Fuels, Energy & Clean Transportation Technology

Engines & clean transportation technology—since 1997

The Log

17 May 2024: The SAE 2025 Heavy-Duty Sustainable Transport Symposium—to be held May 7-8, 2025 in Gothenburg, Sweden—is the only international event that focuses on technology that remains essential for moving goods, people and economies. Gather with environmental engineers, R&D professionals, regulators, product development & design, powertrain and after-treatment systems engineers to discuss current and future emission regulations, as well as a range of technical content that will equip you with valuable insights for your product development and business decisions. Save the date and make plans to attend!

15 May 2024: There is currently “no realistic or scalable alternative” to standard kerosene-based jet fuels, and touted “sustainable aviation fuels” are well off track to replace them in a time frame needed to avert dangerous climate change, despite public subsidies, a report by the Institute for Policy Studies, a progressive think tank, found—The Guardian reports. In the USA, Joe Biden’s administration has set a goal for 3 billion gallons of SAF to be produced by 2030. This sustainable fuels target would require an enormous 18,887% increase in production, based on 2022 production levels.

10 May 2024: Marine scrubbers are cost-effective, but the economic benefit for ship operators comes at the expense of a much higher cost of marine ecotoxicity damage from scrubber water discharge—according to a study led by the Chalmers University of Technology [more ...]

9 May 2024: The final Euro 7 regulation has been published in the EU Official Journal, reflecting the agreement between the EU Council and Parliament reached in December 2023. There are no changes to emission limits for light-duty vehicles—other than the change of particle cut-off size for PN emission limits from the current 23 nm to 10 nm. More stringent emission standards for NOx and other pollutants have been adopted for heavy-duty engines and vehicles, including limits for previously unregulated emissions such as N2O. Euro 7 also includes the first ever non-exhaust emission reduction requirements for brake and tire wear particles, as well as battery durability requirements.

7 May 2024: The 2024 Energy & Propulsion Conference & Exhibition (formerly known as Powertrains, Fuels & Lubricants)—to be held November 12-14, 2024 in Columbus, Ohio—is where the most promising new mobility technologies and pathways to electric propulsion and fuel efficiency will be revealed. Join leading scientists and design engineers from OEMs, academia, supplier companies and beyond to connect, collaborate and explore how to move powertrain performance forward as investment in electrical vehicles (EVs) grows around the world.

2 May 2024: Global oil and gas discoveries last year fell to a record low, while the costs of oil and gas exploration almost doubled, according to the Annual Gas Market Report by the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) [more ...]

30 April 2024: Register now for SAE International’s annual COMVEC™, returning to Schaumburg, Illinois on September 10-12, 2024. This industry leading forum brings commercial vehicle professionals in the on-highway, off-highway and defense sectors together to collaborate in a neutral environment on what’s new in CV, including trends, tech, and standards and regulations—and this year, with a focus on software-defined vehicles. Make plans to attend!

29 April 2024: Summary of the technical sessions from the SAE WCX Congress held on April 16-18, 2024, in Detroit, Michigan [more ...]

22 April 2024: China’s Weichai Power has unveiled the first heavy-duty high-speed diesel engine in the world to have a brake thermal efficiency (BTE) above 53% [more ...]

12 April 2024: The European Parliament has approved a mandatory target to reduce CO2 emissions from new trucks by 90% by 2040 [more ...]

5 April 2024: Decreasing human-made aerosols—such as due to the reduction of sulfur content in marine fuels—increased Earth’s energy imbalance and accelerated global warming in the past decade, according to a communication by Dr. James E. Hansen of the Columbia University [more ...]

4 April 2024: Fuel regulations: Added summary of the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS).

29 March 2024: The US Environmental Protection Agency announced final Phase 3 GHG emission standards for model year 2027-2032 heavy-duty vehicles [more ...]

20 March 2024: US EPA finalized the GHG emission standards and Tier 4 criteria pollutant emission standards for MY 2027 through 2032 and later light- and medium-duty vehicles [more ...]

14 March 2024: A new study published in Nature suggests that methane emissions from US oil and gas operations may be much higher than official estimates. Researchers from Stanford University and Kairos Aerospace integrated about one million measurements conducted over 15 aerial campaigns for six regions in the USA. Total estimated emissions ranged from 0.75% of covered natural gas production in a high-productivity, gas-rich region to 9.63% in a rapidly expanding, oil-focused region. The six-region weighted average was 2.95%, or roughly three times the national government inventory estimate.

14 March 2024: In another step toward finalizing the Euro 7 emission regulation, European Parliament formally adopted the Euro 7 deal reached with the Council in December 2023. A human-readable summary of this agreement has been published by the ICCT.

13 March 2024: The US Joint Office of Energy and Transportation released the National Zero-Emission Freight Corridor Strategy to coordinate and increase investments in zero-emission medium- and heavy-duty vehicle (ZE-MHDV) fueling infrastructure—including electric vehicle charging and hydrogen fueling infrastructure—to achieve a zero-emission freight network by 2040 [more ...]

12 March 2024: Fuel regulations: Added summary of the US Renewable Fuel Standard.

9 March 2024: A new Technology Guide paper, titled Alcohol Fueled Engines, covers ethanol and methanol fueled engines, including compression ignition, pilot ignition, and spark-ignited engines.

7 March 2024: Emitec Technologies—now on DieselNet—develops and manufactures advanced metallic catalyst substrates and electrically heated catalysts.

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.