Transport Operator paid a visit in August to the UK headquarters of Cummins Turbo Technologies in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, to catch a first glimpse of key new turbo and emissions technologies due set to be unveiled by Cummins Components at the IAA Commercial Vehicles show in Hannover this month.
The focus of the press day, which included a tour of the on-site manufacturing plant, was on how Cummins technology was achieving cleaner air through the reduction of nitrogen oxides (NOx), particulate matter (PM) and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions through integrated efforts from Cummins’ Turbo Technologies (CTT) and Emission Solutions (CES) business units. These businesses are part of Cummins Components Segment.
A presentation by Cummins executive directors for research and engineering, Brett Fathauer (CTT) and Jonathan Wood (CES), emphasised the group’s diversification strategy in light of the increasing uptake by commercial vehicle operators of alternatively-fuelled vehicles – including those powered electrically via battery or fuel cell, and gas or hybrid-powered applications.
Traditional diesel engines would remain a core focus for Cummins, however, with ever more stringent emissions regulations – including forthcoming Euro 7 standards, predicted for implementation around 2025 – ensuring increasingly clean exhaust output from diesel vehicles.
Balancing the need to reduce NOx with the imperative to cut CO2 emissions (and concurrently, fuel use) was a perennial challenge, said the Cummins experts, since the means deployed to realise the two goals were often in conflict. Resolving this required integrated systems which would ensure the optimum degree of trade-off.
In addition, in the wake of Dieselgate, future standards would likely place a much sharper focus on real-world emissions across a range of duty cycles – with an increased emphasis on factors such as oil and filter changes and engine maintenance.
Cummins also predicted an increase in demand for improved emissions reductions from end users. CTT and CES had been collaborating, including through the use of virtual modelling and design analysis tools, on methods of achieving these goals.
These included the control of heat levels via advanced air-handling architecture; and tackling the problem of SCR dosing failures – a contributor to the widely-reported surge in the use of illegal AdBlue emulators by fleet operators – through improved aftertreatment technology, which would work efficiently across all duty environments and driving cycles.
The scalable, integrated system comprises a Holset Fixed Geometry turbocharger with an integrated rotary turbine control (RTC) valve, and a Close Coupled Unit with a Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) catalyst.
R&D surrounding the system has concentrated on developing ways of optimising heat management and increasing fuel economy, while delivering overall engine performance and efficiency increases to drive cost savings.
The role of the RTC is to enable exhaust gases to bypass the turbine stage, entering the Close Coupled Unit after the gas has been injected with urea by a new Cummins UL4 injector.
This immediate conversion enables exhaust gases to attain temperatures of 70°C higher than when they reach the SCR catalyst in traditional aftertreatment systems, Cummins contends.
When combined with the Single Module aftertreatment unit – which is said to reduce emissions by 97 per cent alone – the integrated system should help to meet lower NOx and greenhouse gas limits as defined in future legislation, says Cummins, as well as offering additional benefits for cold start and urban driving emissions reduction.
Cummins also used the press event to mark the twentieth anniversary of its Holset Variable Geometry Turbocharger (VGT), first introduced in 1998, with a preview of its seventh-generation model set to launch in 2021.
The latest Holset VGT is said to be the most efficient yet. It is predicted to provide fuel savings and achieve improvements in turbo efficiency compared to previous models. Turbine stage efficiency has been boosted via advancements in the system’s patented nozzle and shroud design.
Among the cited benefits of the changes are a reduction in high cycle fatigue and the potential for foreign object damage, as well as increased robustness and durability.
Additionally, Cummins highlighted a range of research areas in which it was investing to address postulated legislative changes for 2021-24 and beyond – including for technologies such as air-handling valves and electrified turbochargers, as well as oil seal improvements and pulse optimisation.
Cummins will showcase its integrated system and seventh-generation Holset VGT at the IAA Commercial Vehicles show this month, in addition to a selection of other components.
“It is an exciting time to be in the power industry,” commented Tracy Embree, president of Cummins Components.
“Customers are demanding power options that deliver greater efficiency, reliability and flexibility, with reduced emissions.
“As engine manufacturers race to meet the demand for new power solutions, we are seeing new concept systems and innovations shaking up the industry and we’re proud to be at the forefront of these developments.
“At Cummins we are addressing this shift in the market by expanding our portfolio of products to reflect the needs of the future.
“In order to meet challenging new environmental guidelines, we’re adapting engine technology to meet the most recent emission standards, resulting in diesel engines that are cleaner, simpler and more efficient. At IAA we will reveal the new technology that we believe will future-proof diesel engines for the next generation.”