Nov

FuelWatch by Max Braun – Nov 2010

2010-11-01 15:15

A major area of interest when visiting the bi-annual IAA Commercial Vehicle Show in Hannover, Germany, is to catch up with the latest developments in fuel and emissions technology and what is in the pipeline for South Africa either now or later.

From a clean air perspective, Euro 5 fuel is now well-entrenched and Euro 4 almost forgotten as Euro 6 looms on the horizon for 2013. There is much trepidation about Euro 6 with its mammoth costs for meagre gains in eliminating Nox, CO2 and particles (soot). This question is better understood when considering senior motor industry engineers and engine builders say existing diesel (50 ppm) can do better in various ways including additives, blends, after treatment of exhaust temperatures, gas, bio-mass and more. As important is getting to grips with CO2 – the name of the game is clean air when we talk about clean engines.

South Africa will be substantially hobbled in Euro 3 for some years to come except for some Euro 4 and Euro 5 compliant vehicles that will continue to make an appearance (the Scania Euro 4 compliant R series vehicles and Mercedes Benz Euro 5 vehicles recently introduced to local operators are examples). Given this, what can local transporters and fleet owners do to start making a difference to the air we breathe and the amount of fuel we consume while we wait for the country to get its act together by finalising the strategy for the production of cleaner fuels?

From discussions with companies like Scania at the IAA, we gained insight into the complexity of meeting clean air standards.With this in mind FuelWatch took the opportunity to discuss this with a number of technical experts at Scania, Wabco and Tenneco while at the IAA truck show. From these discussions, we gained a deeper insight into the complexity and high cost attached to meeting on-going clean air standards.

Clean fuel can only do so much on its own. Meaningful and sustainable reductions in CO2 and particulates reside in a more holistic approach to trucking. This explains the decision by vehicle manufacturers to encourage and incentivise better transport productivity and efficiency , a concept promoted and practiced by the FleetWatch training and development academy’s Road Map to more Efficient Trucking over the past five years.

According to the major commercial vehicle manufacturers, with the incredible and expensive technical advances that have been implemented to date, achievable and sustainable benefits will be dependant on how fleets , large or small , buy into the concepts. This means consistent management of each and every aspect of transport operations is fundamental to achieving the expected benefits of cleaner air and better fuel consumption.

This edition of FuelWatch discusses some of the relevant developments and trends in various fuels and blends being implemented or considered to have potential for the future as well as possible retro-fit options to reduce emissions and the keys to improved transport efficiency.

Also see the following FuelWatch articles in this issue:

Biofuels Update:
A brief report on various aspects of how the vehicle industry views the potential of several renewable fuels that may be viable as alternatives or supplementary with improved, clean diesel.

Out of the Spout:
What is being said on fuel related issues.

Transport Productivity & Efficiency:
What all truck operators must do to ensure the amazing technology achievements to realise the expected gains in fuel efficiency and emission reductions, permanently.

Fuel Cost Trends:
An update of the diesel price movements and its impact on variable and total operating costs

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