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.
21 February 2023: Emission standards: Added summary of moving average window (MAW) off-cycle emission testing procedures according to the CARB Omnibus regulation and the US EPA 2027 emission requirements.
17 February 2023: Italy wants to soften the EU’s zero CO2 target for light-duty vehicles from 2035, according to Reuters. “Italy will put forward its own counter-proposal: to limit the reduction to 90%, giving industries the chance to adapt,” said Italy’s Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani. The Italian automotive industry employs over 270,000 workers directly or indirectly and accounts for more than 5% of the country’s GDP.
15 February 2023: Global oil demand is set to rise by 2 million barrels per day (mb/d) in 2023 and reach a record high of 101.9 mb/d—1.4 mb/d more than the 2019 average—according to the newest IEA Oil Market Report. This growth outlook is dominated by the Asia-Pacific region (+1.6 mb/d) led by a resurgent China (+900 kb/d). The IEA expects global oil output to grow 1.2 mb/d in 2023, driven by non-OPEC+. Supply from OPEC+ is projected to contract with Russia pressured by sanctions. Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said that Russia would curb output by 500 kb/d in March rather than sell to countries that comply with the G7 price caps.
14 February 2023: The European Commission proposes stronger CO2 emission targets for new heavy-duty vehicles from 2030, 90% CO2 emission reductions for new trucks from 2040 [more ...].
13 February 2023: The California Air Resources Board held today another public workshop on the development of the Advanced Clean Fleets (ACF) regulation. Under the most recent proposed language, all Class 2b-8 vehicles sold in California must be ZEV already from 2036 [more ...].
8 February 2023: The summary of US emission standards for heavy-duty engines has been updated to cover the recently finalized 2027 regulation.
7 February 2023: European industry, including fuel and automotive suppliers, vehicle manufacturers, and transport operators released an open letter urging the European Commission to consider liquid and gaseous renewable and synthetic fuels for compliance with the upcoming CO2 regulation for heavy-duty vehicles. “Depending on use cases, technology diversity is needed where all technologies, including electrification/hybridization, hydrogen and sustainable and renewable fuels can play a role,” states the letter, signed by 93 scientists and 120 companies.
30 January 2023: Deutz AG and Daimler Truck AG signed agreements giving Deutz access to Daimler engines by the end of the decade, including both Daimler Medium-Duty Engine Generation (MDEG) engines and Daimler Heavy-Duty Engine Platform (HDEP) engines [more ...].
28 January 2023: The SAE Energy & Propulsion Conference—formerly known as Powertrains, Fuels & Lubricants meeting—will be held on November 7–9, 2023 in Greenville, South Carolina. SAE International has issued a Call for Papers for the conference [more ...].
16 January 2023: The European auto industry, already under considerable stress due to slow vehicle sales and massive investment in electric vehicles, continues to oppose the proposed Euro 7 emission standards. According to an ACEA analysis, a massive investment in Euro 7 would have only marginal additional environmental benefit—by 2030, the most stringent Euro 7/VII scenario would deliver only an additional 4% NOx reduction for cars and 2% for vans and heavy trucks, while the impact would be zero for buses.
10 January 2023: The Netherlands and Switzerland started particle number-based tests during periodic technical inspections (PN-PTI) of diesel vehicles equipped with diesel particulate filters [more ...].
7 January 2023: The US EPA issued a proposed rule to strengthen the ambient air quality standard (NAAQS) for fine particulate matter (PM2.5). The proposal would lower the annual PM2.5 standard to a level between 9 and 10 μg/m3, from the current 12 µg/m3 [more ...].
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.