Emission legislation is scheduled to become an increasingly important factor for manufacturers of industrial diesel engines. Sweden’s Scania believes it is better prepared than most.
Nigel Blackaby, Features Editor
The world’s genset engine manufacturers have one important issue on their mind. Rather like a large truck in the distance – it is coming their way and getting bigger all the time. The issue is emissions legislation. Producing competitive constant speed engines that combine fuel efficiency with low carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulates emissions is the challenge for the industry. It is a challenge that the management at Sweden’s Scania believes it is ready to meet head-on.
Scania can trace its history back to 1891 as a manufacturer of railway wagons. By 1902 Scania was building trucks along with marine engines and its first industrial engine was produced in 1905. Today, the Scania business is dominated by truck sales with 52 500 units produced last year. Bus and coach production of around 5800 make up around 11 per cent of sales and the industrial and marine engine division accounts for a similar percentage with 5709 units in 2005.
Scania believes that its powerful presence in the truck market gives it a competitive advantage when it comes to engine sales and enables it to compete with pure engine manufacturers. This is because of the shared development costs and common components that can be produced in higher volumes. Conversely, by designing reliable engines that can compete in terms of reliability and power output with those from pure engine manufacturers, the truck division knows it has a dependable key component in its offering to the road haulage industry.
Cleaner air ahead
Should there be any doubt as to the significance of the oncoming emissions legislation to industrial engine manufacturers, the fact that Scania spends 60 per cent of its research and development (R&D) budget on engine development is a telling one. The high cost of this research benefits from economies of scale and the large volume of on-road vehicle sales help keep Scania competitive and with enough money to invest in R&D. “We know that, on the industrial and marine side, emission legislation will get tougher and tougher up to 2012,” says Robert Sobocki, head of Industrial & Marine Engines at Scania. “We know we have to spend a lot of money on that, but the trucks will help us bear the development costs.”
Emissions legislation is much more complicated and fractured for off-road applications than it is for trucks and buses. The first emission regulations for on-road business came into force in the early 1990s, whereas it was not until the end of that decade that any regulations were introduced for off-road business. Currently, a stringent Tier 3 standard applies across the USA for all industrial applications except standby, a voluntary TA Luft standard operates in Germany and India has a mandatory ISO 8178 D2 regulation. From 1 January 2007 the EU will introduce its Stage II for gensets and by 2014 there will be equal emission standards for on-road and off-road business. In the US, industrial engines will have to have meet a Tier 4 level by 2011 and the EU will have introduced its Stage 3B. The emissions that are regulated are NOx, which is formed at high combustion temperatures, hydrocarbon formations from unburned fuel oil or lubrication oil, carbon monoxide (CO) that is formed instead of CO2 at deficit of oxygen during the combustion and particulate matter, mainly consisting of carbon resulting from incomplete combustion.
Emissions time schedule: tighter emissions legislation is being applied to industrial engines
These tougher standards will require most manufacturers to develop new engine designs or supplement existing models with pollution control technology such as selective catalytic reduction (SCR) and exhaust gas recirculation (EGR). EGR is an after-treatment process that results in lower NOx emissions, whereas SCR uses chemical injection to attack emissions at source.
Emission legislation to be introduced in steps up to 2014 is expected to have a large impact on engine manufacturers. Those with large volumes resulting from on road business will be well placed to deal with the challenge of higher off road standards. Scania engines already meet all current international emission legislation and will satisfy the more stringent Stage II. Scania is already employing EGR and SCR technology for some of its truck and bus engines and, with the use of one of these technologies, expects industrial engines to meet the EU Stage 4 standard. Stage 5 could be met by using a combination of the two.
Scania’s Industrial engines comply with the Tier 3 emissions standards in the US without modifications. Modifying engines adds significantly to the cost and many competitor engines will need complex and costly modification in order to comply with forthcoming emissions standards. “We are well prepared to comply with the emission regulations for genset engines,” says Johan Sporre, head of marketing and communications at Scania Industrial & Marine Engines. “We can actually supply our customers with engines with less emissions and increased output.”
Both the 9-litre, 12-litre and 16-litre engines from Scania will be available as Stage II-compliant before the switch needs to be made. “We don’t need to use any complicated technical solutions to comply with Stage II,” continues Sporre. “Instead, we have focused on optimizing the combustion process and thereby reducing emissions.”
Scania has for a long time focused heavily on optimizing fuel efficiency in its truck and bus engines and as a result has developed a fuel-efficient base engine. “We can benefit from this on the industrial and marine side because the base engine is a very fuel-efficient product,” says Sobocki. The base engine is the consistent component for use in Scania’s bus, truck, marine and genset offerings. The modular engine is used across the 9-litre, 12-litre and 16-litre engine range and has many shared components including combustion chamber, pistons, piston rings, cylinder liners, cylinder head parts, valves and fuel injectors. The Scania-designed Engine Management System (EMS) is also used across the engine range.
Scania is a major supplier of engines for genset suppliers. Around 52 per cent of sales in the Industrial and Marine division are for genset applications, mostly for prime power rather than for standby power. Major customers include Himoinsa of Spain and UK-based Aggreko, which rents gensets for electricity, heating and cooling all over the world. Scania’s three largest markets are Spain, UK and Germany. It does not have a significant presence in the US market although Sobocki is convinced that it is a market where Scania could succeed. “We find that in the US there is a preference for local manufacturers like Cummins and Caterpiller but we plan to persuade them that we have a good product,” says Sobocki. “With the price of oil being so high our more fuel efficient engines should be more attractive.”
The same basic engine is used in both on-road and industrial applications
Outside of its main markets for genset engines, Scania is seeing significant growth in the Middle East and rapidly increasing demand from Africa – albeit that actual volumes remain relatively low. The view is that the Asian market for gensets has peaked, although Scania’s presence in China suggests that it sees opportunities there. Scania is benefiting from an all-round growth in the genset rental sector since this is mostly for prime power applications; and here, reliability of engines is a key factor. Scania does not compete so effectively in the more niche standby power market where price rather than reliability is often the key factor. “Annual worldwide sales of genset engines of the type Scania produce is 180 000 so with our 6000 we have plenty of scope for growth,” says Sobocki.
Scania is also betting on fuel efficiency becoming an increasingly important factor for its customers. It is researching synthetic diesel options such as from wood waste and also doing some research work with Shell into gas-to-synthetic diesel. This expensive technology is expected to be viable in 5-6 years. Engines built today will be able to run on synthetic diesel.
EGR and SCR technologies will enable further reductions of emissions for the next decade or so but Scania is looking at other technologies to take the compression ignition principle even further into the future. For example, Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition (HCCI ) is a high-priority research area for Scania. HCCI is based on the mixing of air and fuel before they enter the combustion chamber. Once this technique is mastered, both particulate and NOx emissions from the HCCI engine will be virtually non- existent. Scania is also looking into new turbo technology, better re-use of exhaust heat high pressure injection. It is also collaborating with Cummins to develop improved electronics.
“The diesel engine has a great future,” says Sobocki. “We have increased efficiency by five per cent over the last 30 years and there is more to come. I believe we will be leading in terms of technology for many years to come.”