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California ARB releases LEV III proposal

17 February 2010

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) has published the long expected proposal for the next tier of emission requirements for light-duty vehicles, known as LEV III. The proposed LEV III program, outlined in an ARB preliminary discussion paper, will be discussed at an ARB workshop to be held on March 2, 2010 in El Monte, California.

“Despite great progress in achieving cleaner air in California, major reductions of criteria pollutant emissions are still required to achieve mandated State and federal ambient air quality standards”, said the ARB. The proposed LEV III standards—applicable through model years 2014-2022—target a fleet average SULEV emission level. The regulation would introduce increasingly tighter fleet average emission limits, eventually reaching 0.030 g/mi NMOG+NOx, equivalent to the SULEV certification bin.

The proposal also considers a voluntary particle number emission standard—the first in North America—that manufacturers could choose instead of the PM mass emission limit.

The LEV III proposal includes a number of important provisions, as follows:

A number of technologies are envisioned to reach the new NMOG+NOx emission limits. Cold start emission control may require secondary air injection into the exhaust during rich mixture start-up, cylinder head preheating, lean stratified start-up, ignition retard, and lower thermal mass components for fast engine and catalyst warm-up. Advanced EGR technologies are likely to be used for NOx control. Possible new directions in catalyst technology include integration of catalysts into exhaust manifold for fast warm-up, increased catalyst loadings and cell densities, electrically heated three-way catalysts (TWC), HC traps upstream of TWC, NOx adsorber catalysts for lean gasoline and for diesel engines, and urea-SCR for diesel engines. The ARB paper also notes direct ozone reduction technologies—such as the PremAir radiator coating—which, however, cannot be quantified through regulatory emission testing and would require a system of emission reduction credits.

Source: California ARB