The Amazing Emissions Race – Advanced Fuel Solutions

FLEET MAINTENANCE — March 20, 2023

With competition from EVs heating up and the EPA enacting stricter emissions rules, OEMs must speed forward with new I.C.E. innovations to keep pace.

Seth Skydel

In January, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency entered the final new rule for model year 2027 and later heavy-duty engines in the Federal Register, solidifying stricter NOx emission standards and extended useful engine life cycle targets for engine manufacturers to hit.

For instance, the new standards call for heavy-duty commercial vehicles to limit NOx emissions to 0.035 grams per horsepower-hour during normal operation, 0.050 grams at low load, and 10 grams at idle. This is the first increase in NOx emissions standards since 2010 when aftertreatment systems became ubiquitous.

 “There’s no question the rules will be a challenge for manufacturers to meet, but in ways different than previous emissions milestones,” said Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum, a non-profit advocacy group. “Technically the required NOx emissions reductions are significant, to the tune of 82% lower than today’s levels—which are already near zero (0.20 g/BHP-hr.).”

The EPA has also drastically increased the definition of what a heavy-duty engine’s useful life period should be, which Schaeffer is more concerned about.

“The more significant impact of the rules are the business side of the useful life and warranty requirements, which have jumped from 435,000 miles to more than 800,000 miles for an OTR tractor,” he explained. “This means that all parts of these emission control systems must be able to function for much longer periods of time than today, and manufacturers will be on the hook warranty wise at some level for how well the units perform not just in years 3 and 4, but in years 7 and 8, assuming about 100K miles a year. So there is a significant business/economic aspect to this rule that is new for manufacturers, and will certainly drive up the cost of a new truck.”