What Manufacturers Need to Know About Changing NOx Requirements

Reducing harmful emissions from engine exhaust has been a goal for years, with new designs and energy sources constantly being introduced to combat pollution. Recently, numerous government agencies petitioned the EPA for stricter regulations surrounding nitrogen dioxide (NOx) emissions.

Specifically, the EPA regulations would target heavy duty on-road trucks, buses, and other similar vehicles. The last such NOx standard revision was put in place in the year 2010, and limited NOx emissions  for truck engines  to 0.2 grams per brake horsepower-hour. The next set of revised regulations would be implemented in 2024. The California Air Rescue Board wants to see the NOx limits reduced to 0.02, which would be a 90% reduction.

But lowering certain emissions is easier said than done – especially since NOx is just one of the pollutants that regulators seek to decrease.  Current recommendations call for lowering CO2 emissions – to create an engine that meets both of these goals is very difficult for engineers. In addition, manufacturers are tasked with boosting fuel efficiency. Running engines at a higher temperature boosts efficiency but also increases the amount of NOx that’s released, so there are a number of challenges to work around in order to meet proposed regulations.

Notably, installing selective non-catalytic reduction or selective catalytic reduction systems can limit emissions. So it is possible to produce or retrofit cleaner engines on heavy equipment, it’s just a matter of updating current systems and finding the right options for each situation. With the proposed nation-wide regulations on the way, it will be interesting to see what other developments are considered to solve this problem.

Technology Meets Efficiency: The Country’s First Automated Transmission with Spark-Ignited Natural Gas Engine

The landscape of American manufacturing is rapidly changing—in a good way. It seems almost every day there’s a new advancement in technology and a novel use for manufacturers’ innovation. We are all collectively creating an industry that is as competitive as it is impressive.

Two great areas of technology and innovation—and of major industrial advancement—are in transportation and natural gas. Vehicle makers and their suppliers are seeing more demand than in a very long time, and America’s natural gas boom is generating goinggreenemployment and making manufacturing better and less expensive.

Combine the two areas, and you’ve really got a winning combo. That’s what Eaton and Cummings Westport did, recently announcing their offering of the first automated transmission to be paired with a spark-ignited natural gas engine in North America.

The transmission features a powertrain package combining the Eaton UltraShift PLUS automated transmission with the Cummins Westport ISX12 G engine. According to this article, the product will meet the market demand, based on “the interest in alternative fuels driving more fleets to integrate natural gas engines into their portfolio,” while offering “best-in-class” technology. More and more people are seeking natural gas paired with automated transmissions, and this product does just that.

Available mid-2014 for limited application release, the transmission offers “maximum power capacity, superior acceleration and low-speed maneuverability.” Other features include:

  • A robust power band at 1500-1800 rpm
  • Peak torque at 1200 rpm
  • Heavy-duty natural gas engine available with horsepower of 320 hp to 400 hp (239-298 kW) with 1450 lb-ft (1966 N”¢m) peak torque
  • Hill Start Aid, preventing rollbacks and reducing risk while simplifying operations
  • Intelligent shift selection software

The product serves as an excellent example of American manufacturers coming together to offer a technologically-advanced product that utilizes the benefits of natural gas, meets market demand, and offers greater efficiency.

 

The New Fuel Efficiency Standards: How They Relate to Us and Our Clients

If you’re familiar with us, you may be familiar with our mission: to meet or exceed the requirements of our employees, customers, investors, suppliers, and community through continuous improvement. Meeting and exceeding these needs always means staying on top of the latest news and changes affecting our clients and their industries, and reacting accordingly.

You may have heard that a few weeks ago President Obama announced his intentions to issue tougher fuel-efficiency standards for large trucks, starting this year and with the goal of a 10-20% increase in fuel economy by 2018. According to the President, increasing these trucks’ fuel efficiency would make the U.S. more energy independent while reducing greenhouse gas emissions (which are linked to climate change) and saving American consumers money.

This current focus on large trucks, Obama explained, is because while they make up only 4% of vehicles on the road, they cover more miles and are responsible for roughly 20% of the greenhouse gas emissions. The new standards come on top of, and specifically relate to, standards already in place for 2014-2018 model years.

So how does this relate directly to us, and in turn, to our customers? One of the proposed aspects of building more fuel-efficient vehicles is through weight reduction, and this requires us to place greater emphasis on ultra high-strength steel and/or aluminum. With aluminum, this will mean changing the way vehicles are assembled, which will be a new technology we will be working on.   Right now, we will address this through emphasizing higher strength steels.

This is—and will continue to be—addressed in a number of ways. Presently, we are acquiring new servo drive presses that will allow us to make thinner gage parts and better formability with high strength steels. The new press with servo coil feeders can handle steel down to .030 inch thick, as opposed to .060 inch thick minimum in our current presses. The servo presses are also designed to result in less maintenance, and less energy use.

Additionally, many legislators are working on renewing R&D tax credits which would provide incentives for developing technologies and allow American manufacturers to be even more competitive and innovative. If continued this year, this would be another way we, and companies like us, could continue technological advancements that work toward greater fuel efficiency, among other things.

Regardless, we will continue meeting regulations, advancing our work, meeting your needs, and keeping you informed.

References:

http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1090454_obama-tells-epa-to-set-next-heavy-duty-truck-fuel-efficiency-rule

http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20140218/AUTO01/302180032/Obama-Set-new-heavy-duty-truck-fuel-rules-by-16

http://ens-newswire.com/2014/02/18/obama-orders-higher-fuel-efficiency-stan…