Cummins Becomes First To Get EPA Certification

Cummins uses exhaust gas recirculation technology on its ISX engines to meet the new low emissions standard.

As expected, the Cummins ISX with exhaust gas recirculation technology is the first heavy-duty diesel engine to be certified by the Environmental Protection Agency for production Oct. 1, the company announced in April.

Cummins said in March it expected the EPA to certify its engine as compliant with strict new emission standards, and expected to receive the official word this week. The achievement means Cummins will have an engine in production Oct. 1 that meets the emission standard outlined in a 1998 legal settlement engine makers made with the EPA. Under that agreement,
Cummins, Caterpillar, Detroit Diesel, Volvo, Mack and International Truck and Engine agreed to reduce engine emissions of nitrous oxides and hydrocarbons to 2.5 grams.

Cummins and most other engine makers have employed a system – EGR – used on some autos that takes exhaust out of the engine, cools it and pumps it back into the combustion chamber. The resulting combustion temperature is lower and produces less pollutants. But the engines also run hotter, are more complicated and dump more combustion byproducts such as soot into the engine oil. The price tag for the new engines is also expected to be higher.

Caterpillar is taking a different approach, but has said it won’t be ready for the October deadline and faces stiff financial penalties from the EPA. Cat says it will have engines approved by the EPA and that those engines will be priced competitively.

The Cummins ISX engine was the first engine submitted to the EPA, and is the first to be certified. “Cummins did not enter into this consent decree lightly,” said Christine Vujovich, Cummins vice president, environmental policy. “Cummins made a significant investment in technology and product development to meet, on time, the requirements of our consent decree, which was specifically designed to establish a level playing field for all engine manufacturers who signed a consent decree.”

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Cummins began field tests of the ISX engine in December 1999 and will have more than 6 million miles of on-highway vehicle field-testing and 115,000 hours of laboratory tests by Oct. 1, the company said.

EPA also affirmed Cummins’ use of auxiliary emission control devices, which can limit the effect of emission devices like EGR to protect the engine under certain operating conditions.

“The certification by the EPA of the first of our new engines proves beyond any doubt that we will provide a product line that will fulfill our commitment to meet the 2.5-gram NOx+NMHC standard,” said Joe Loughrey, Cummins executive vice president and president of its engine business. Cat has been joined by Detroit Diesel in appealing the deadline, even though Detroit says its EGR engine will be ready in October.