Changing course

Cummins adds SCR to 2010 engine technology for better fuel economy.

Cummins announced Aug. 13 that it will add selective catalytic reduction (SCR) aftertreatment to its heavy-duty products for 2010 to deliver the best fuel efficiency for its customers.

Cummins says adding recent advancements in catalyst technology to its engines will provide customers significant fuel-economy improvements and meet the near-zero emissions levels required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2010 regulations. Cummins Emission Solutions, a provider of SCR systems, will supply integrated exhaust aftertreatment systems for Cummins heavy-duty and midrange engines.

The company says its decision to go with heavy-duty SCR engines to meet EPA-mandated 2010 emissions and NOx guidelines was made quickly – two weeks prior to its announcement – based on data establishing the superiority of new copper zeolite emissions technology compared to conventional iron zeolite technology commonly used in SCR particulate filters. Zeolites are, in essence, materials that act as molecular filtration systems. Copper zeolite technology emerged about two years ago as engineers sought more efficient exhaust gas filtration systems and became available for automotive applications late last year.

Among the advantages of copper zeolite SCR systems, Cummins says, are improved heat rejection, lighter weight and an increase in fuel economy from 1 to 5 percent, depending on application and duty cycles, when compared to other SCR- and EGR-equipped engines.

“With diesel fuel costs averaging between $4 and $5 a gallon, even a 1-percent savings in fuel costs can be tremendous for truck fleets,” says Jeff Jones, vice president of sales and marketing for Cummins, based in Columbus, Ind. “If a truck is burning 20,000 gallons of fuel a year, then a 1-percent increase in fuel economy will bring $1,000 per truck back to the company’s bottom line annually.”

Cummins has more than 200,000 SCR-equipped engines currently running in heavy-duty commercial truck applications in Europe and will apply that knowledge in the development of its 2010 North American product lines, Jones says.

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“The advantages of copper zeolite emissions technology was too compelling to ignore,” says Ed Pence, vice president and general manager of Cummins’ Heavy-Duty Engine Business. “Cummins’ decision to move rapidly to integrate this technology into our engine platforms – including midrange and heavy-duty offerings – highlights our agility and capability to respond to market demands and our commitment to meet customer demands.”

As previously announced, Cummins’ heavy-duty 2007 ISX will serve as the basic 2010 engine platform, with the copper zeolite SCR system integrated into a comprehensive emissions package, including the company’s proprietary XPI fuel system, cooled exhaust gas recirculation, the Cummins VGT turbocharger, the Cummins particulate filter and advanced electronic controls designed to enhance performance, fuel economy and reliability.

“Cummins’ expertise in engine system integration means that we have the capability to make the engine systems and aftertreatment technologies work together seamlessly,” says Steve Charlton, vice president of heavy-duty engineering for Cummins. “The addition of the new SCR catalyst technology ensures that Cummins will deliver the best fuel economy in the industry and total operating cost benefits to our customers.”

“Our 2010 engine development is progressing on plan, and customers can depend on Cummins to deliver these new products on time, with the reliability, performance and fuel economy that they have come to expect from us,” Pence says.

At least four other manufacturers – Daimler (Detroit Diesel), Paccar, Volvo and Mack – will use SCR. One other manufacturer, Navistar (International), says it will rely on high-pressure fuel injection systems to reduce NOx through enhanced cooled EGR, without an aftertreatment, in heavy-duty applications. Cummins already had announced plans to use SCR in medium-duty applications.

In June, Caterpillar announced it would not supply engines to on-highway original equipment manufacturers in North America after 2009.
– Jack Roberts

ATA Endorses Lampson’s Energy Plan
The American Trucking Associations recently announced its support for a bipartisan comprehensive energy bill that calls for domestic oil drilling, tax incentives and alternative energy research to help lower the price of fuel for consumers and truckers.

ATA First Vice Chairman Charles “Shorty” Whittington and professional truck driver Tony Sifford spoke about the need for action on energy issues at a press conference held by U.S. Rep. Nick Lampson (D-Texas) at ATA’s National Truck Driving Championships in Houston.

“Trucking delivers America,” Whittington said. “Trucks transport virtually 100 percent of groceries, medicine, clothing, appliances and even the fuel that’s pumped at the local gas station. Diesel fuel prices are hurting us and driving up the costs of all of these consumer goods. We need a comprehensive energy plan.”

If enacted, the National Conservation, Environment and Energy Independence Act would increase domestic production of energy by allowing exploration of the Outer Continental Shelf and vast oil shale reserves; promote the use of alternative energy sources, such as biodiesel, by extending the biodiesel tax credit to ensure that consumers are incentivized to use this renewable resource; and target revenues produced from domestic oil leases to the development of energy conservation technologies. H.R. 6709 currently has 130 cosponsors.

“Petroleum’s high price is not only straining family budgets at the pump, it’s driving up the price of groceries and basic household goods because truckers are paying three times more for diesel than they did four years ago,” Lampson said. “This plan is a comprehensive energy solution that includes domestic drilling and alternative energy research. It will resolve the crisis American families are facing.”

Sifford, a professional truck driver with more than 1.8 million accident-free miles, compared the year-over-year cost of fuel for his regular roundtrip route from Hillsville, Va., to Dallas: At this time last year, Sifford’s fuel bill was $1,680, but that same trip recently cost $2,826.

Sifford said truck drivers are doing their part to reduce fuel consumption by slowing truck speeds, reducing idling and properly maintaining equipment. Such steps, however, do not begin to offset the rising cost of fuel, he said.

“I’m trying to do my part, but we can’t continue to run our business at these high prices,” Sifford said. “The high cost of diesel is cutting into our already tight margins. I’ve had a number of friends go out of business already this year.”
– eTrucker Staff

Special Report: Taking Stock
Truckstops and dealer networks prepare to meet DEF demand for 2010 SCR technology.

Since Cummins announced in August its intent to join other engine manufacturers in implementing SCR technology to meet EPA 2010 emissions standards, the industry is moving full-speed toward the transition with good expectations.

While SCR technology is not required by EPA’s 2010 emissions standards, “every engine manufacturer in North America with the exception of one [Navistar] will be implementing SCR,” says Dave Siler, director of marketing for Detroit Diesel Corporation. Caterpillar will no longer be in the new on-highway engine market beginning in 2010.

Siler expects manufacturers to have a smooth transition. “SCR is the technology that has been used in Europe for three years now and really has been used in various forms” for more than 20 years, Siler says.

The new technology will lead to changes in the engine aftertreatment system that will help reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx). Additionally, trucks will have an on-board diagnostic tool (similar to a fuel gauge) to determine levels of diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) remaining and an on-board DEF tank. DEF is composed of water and urea, a nitrogen compound that turns to ammonia when heated and that is used by the engine to convert NOx to nitrogen gas and water vapor.

David Uschwald, director of infrastructure for Daimler Trucks North America, says he does not anticipate urea supply being an issue because it’s “coming from natural gas initially … and it’s only a sliver of the entire world market.” However, urea prices likely will fluctuate just as natural gas prices have over past years, potentially playing havoc on the price of DEF and eating into the fuel economy gains from the use of SCR. The 20- to 30-gallon DEF tanks that will hold the exhaust fluid, however, will only need a fill-up about every 6,000 miles. Siler says a price for the DEF has not yet been determined, but he expects it to be reasonable.

From an infrastructure point of view, Uschwald says, the key to completing the transition to SCR is “getting the entire supply chain on board for the change.