Sunday 19 January 2020

Government to fund research into Euro 6 retrofit kit

The government has intervened to fund the design of retrofit systems to make older trucks compliant with emissions limits in clean air zones (CAZs).

Currently, aftermarket conversion kits are available for a wide variety of older buses, but the only systems offered for trucks are for specialist refuse collection vehicles: the Dennis Eagle and Mercedes Econic.

Now a total of £1 million has been allocated to conversion manufacturers Eminox, Proventia and Baumot to enable them to produce kits to suit 17 different coach types, 12 trucks, one taxi and one refuse collection vehicle.

Councils imposing CAZs can also bid for a share of the £220 million Clean Air Fund to help finance retrofit kits and other solutions.

The kits are approved by the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership after live vehicle testing on appropriate duty cycles shows them to produce emissions outputs comparable with those from Euro 6 vehicles.

Typically, they use the SCR and DPF technology also used on Euro 6 vehicles.

Announcing the funding at the Bath Clean Air Roadshow, Colin Smith (pictured, right), who manages clean vehicle retrofitting at the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership, said: “There are two challenges for operators: one being fuel consumption and its impact on climate change, and the other being air quality.

“Both are ‘here and now’ and connected concerns.

“Avoiding the CAZ is not going to be an option for many operators. Paying the charge or redeploying their fleet to keep non-compliant vehicles out of the CAZ won’t help air quality, while retrofitting or replacing vehicle will.

“We have a market that is ripe for retrofit.

“Retrofitting was a simple solution when particulate matter was the only concern. But we’ve now established that Euro 5 vehicles deliver NOx levels up to 100 times more than Euro 6 vehicle in use, and this is an issue that must be tackled.”

He said the organisation was sceptical about many ‘easy’ aftermarket solutions.

“If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is,” he cautioned.

“Before certifying a system, we check the supplier and test their kit,” he said.

“We are seeking to expand the range of approved products to include trucks, given the total of non-Euro 6 vehicles still on the road. But dialogue is needed: operators need to identify which vehicles they will keep long-term and are worth retrofitting.”

The second aim of the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership was to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The target was a reduction of 15 per cent from the 2015 level to 2025. He admitted that this was a complex area.

“Measuring the work done by the vehicle is the critical bit,” he said.

Leading truck manufacturers have made it plain that they have no interest in promoting retrofit solutions.

John Comer, product manager for Volvo Trucks said that any Volvo truck that was a candidate for refit would be at least seven years old, and any conversion would not be cost-effective. UK market leader DAF Trucks said it had no plans for a retrofit solution.

Aftermarket PM filter fitments revealed

Eminox has announced the first fitments for its aftermarket, Euro 6-approved exhaust particulate filters.

The new range of UNECE Reg 49 type-approved replacement PM filters for Euro 6 truck engines will launch at the 2019 Commercial Vehicle Show. They use the same wall-flow technology as original equipment, and are the first of their kind to be manufactured in the UK.

Initial offerings cover DAF 11 and 13-litre engines, Volvo and Renault 11 and 13-litre engines, and Volvo 16-litre engines. They can be fitted to any vehicle with these engines, irrespective of chassis or body type.

Eminox will follow up with replacements for Mercedes 7.7 and 13-litre units and MAN 6.8, 10.5 and 13 litre engines.

The full range of approvals for the Eminox filters, including Block Exemption Requirements, mean they can be fitted without compromising any vehicle warranty. They are covered by a two-year, 200,000 km warranty, and are manufactured in a facility that produces original equipment PM filters for major manufacturers.

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