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DieselNet: Engines, Fuels, Energy & Clean Transportation Technology

Engines & clean transportation technology—since 1997

The Log

21 June 2024: Global primary energy consumption and CO2 emissions have reached a record absolute high in 2023, both up 2% year-on-year, according to the the Statistical Review of World Energy by the Energy Institute (formerly BP). As a share of the overall mix, fossil fuels provided 81.5% of global primary energy, marginally down from 81.9% in the previous year [more ...]

20 June 2024: Fuel regulations: Updated summary of US and California diesel fuel regulations.

14 June 2024: A new essay by Vaclav Smil, titled Halfway Between Kyoto and 2050, evaluates the feasibility of eliminating fossil fuels to achieve net-zero carbon by 2050. Despite international agreements, government spending and regulations, and technological advancements, global fossil fuel consumption surged by 55% between 1997 and 2023 and the share of fossil fuels in global energy consumption has only decreased from 86% in 1997 to 82% in 2022. The scale of today’s energy transition requires approximately 700 EJ of new non-carbon energies by 2050, which needs about 38,000 projects the size of BC’s Site C hydro station. The energy transition imposes unprecedented demands for minerals including copper and lithium. To achieve net-zero carbon, affluent countries will incur costs of at least 20% of their annual GDP. While global cooperation is essential to achieve decarbonization by 2050, major emitters such as the United States, China, and Russia have conflicting interests. To eliminate carbon emissions by 2050, governments face unprecedented technical, economic and political challenges, making rapid and inexpensive transition impossible.

12 June 2024: The International Energy Agency (IEA) released its medium-term oil outlook, Oil 2024, predicting that global oil demand, which averaged about 102 million barrels per day (b/d) in 2023, will level off near 106 million b/d by 2030 (these figures include crude oil as well as natural gas liquids and other liquids such as biofuels). The IEA is very optimistic about future oil supply capacity, which is forecast to grow to nearly 114 million b/d by 2030—a staggering 8 million b/d above projected global demand—in spite of the chilling effect such overcapacity build-up would have on oil prices and the profitability of energy companies. However, the IEA predicts that as much as 45% of the added capacity would be natural gas liquids (NGL), not crude oil itself. NGLs are short chain hydrocarbons up to pentane that are used mainly as petrochemical feedstocks.

11 June 2024: A study by the Dutch research institute TNO finds that the average levelized cost of large-scale renewable hydrogen production would be €12 to €14 per kilogram H2. The study is based on actual costs from electrolysis projects under development in the Netherlands. The largest cost components are the cost of electricity, the investment cost and associated capital cost, and the high-voltage electricity grid transport tariff. The TNO cost figures are significantly higher than other recent cost estimates, which range from around €6 to €12 per kilogram H2 as quoted by the TNO. To compete with hydrogen produced from natural gas via steam methane reforming (SMR), the cost of “green” hydrogen would have to fall to around €1-2 per kilogram.

6 June 2024: Fuel regulations: Updated summary of US biodiesel fuel standards.

28 May 2024: A summary of the technical sessions from the 45th International Vienna Motor Symposium held April 24-26, 2024 in Vienna, Austria [more ...]

27 May 2024: Emission standards: Added summary of the recently finalized US EPA Tier 4 emission standards for light- and medium-duty vehicles.

25 May 2024: 3DATX Corporation updated their DieselNet Business Page with the description of the parSYNC® FLEX-PNC iPEMS capable of particle number measurements.

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.

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.