It is hard to imagine now, that only 21 years ago, there was no European emissions legislation. It was in 1993 that the Euro I levels were introduced, and these standards were achieved with small incremental changes. Fast forward to 2014, and OEMs, Tier 1, and Tier 2 suppliers are continually battling with the ever tightening emissions legislation. Between Euro I and Euro VI, particulate matter (PM) levels have fallen 97%, and NOx has fallen 95%, but what comes next? Euro VI was tough, but will the next round of CV emissions regulation – referred to for now as Euro VII – be impossible?
In 1992, the industry was prepared with Euro 0, before Euro I the year after, which dealt solely with NOx, HC, and CO. In 1996, Euro II saw the first adoption of a PM limit and all engines were required to meet the same limit levels. Euro III came in 2001, and engines were now required to meet emissions levels on the road. In 2006, aftertreatment was required for the first time, using either Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR), or Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR), and on-board diagnostics required to monitor emission control. Euro V came three years after Euro IV, imposing further NOx, and PM reductions. Then in 2014, Euro VI came into effect, with the tightest emissions levels to date. To meet the regulations, OEMs have resorted to both SCR, and EGR, with a Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF). How well these technologies are adopted and integrated, will give some indication as to whether OEMs will have a chance in meeting Euro VII targets.
Gian Maria Olivetti, Chief Technology Officer, Federal-Mogul explained to Megatrends that when Euro VII or similar does come into play, the emissions standards will not be much lower than they currently are. He said, “Euro VI, and VIB has been a revolution for cars and trucks, in terms of which kind of aftertreatment should be applied. I think after Euro VI, the focus will be on fuel economy – CO2 emissions, not pollutant emissions. The big challenge will not just be compliance with 95g in Europe in 2020 for passenger car emissions, but I think it will go much further, to 70-75g. That will be the major challenge.”
Euro VII is not yet fixed, but Olivetti said, “as usual, it will be politics and legislation, not just the industry. Five to six years after, there will be the next step. But, the real big challenge in front of us is what will happen around 2020 to reduce CO2 emissions. It will not be Euro VI.”
There is a serious question over whether OEMs and suppliers will be able to keep making reductions, in whatever shape or form they appear. Euro VI presented many challenges, including a significant increase in the cost of truck chassis, and extra weight. Olivetti said, “In future, the requirements regarding CO2 reduction and fuel economy will be very challenging in Europe, so I see that as a major problem to us as a supplier – to be able to provide a solution that should be able to significantly help to achieve the target of CO2. The main problems will be CO2, global pollution, and fuel economy.”
Beyond Euro VI
Some OEMs and suppliers are already planning for life beyond Euro VI, and although there will be difficulties, Olivetti believes engine efficiency still has a long way to go: “We still have a great margin to improve the efficiency of the engine, particularly gasoline. Over the last ten years, gasoline was close to diesel, but diesel is starting to maintain its gap again. The same goes for heavy duty. Today, 42% efficiency is targeted. We have programmes targeting 45% efficiency – complete efficiency of the engine. There are many things that could help efficiency, not just our components. For example, you could use exhaust energy recuperation. Work is going on to recover all the losses in an engine, through the exhaust, or cooling, and to some extent that is easier in heavy duty engines. In the next two to four years, we will see additional devices for recovering energy, and I think there is a great margin for improvement, much more than what we have seen in the past decade, because the focus for heavy duty has been on emissions.”
The standards have affected engines in a number of ways. Fuel injection systems have moved from low-pressure systems, to electronic, high-pressure systems reaching up to 2,700bar. Combustion pressure is up; to more than 200bar, and turbochargers are now variable-geometry models, which help driveability as well as meeting emissions standards. And there are the aforementioned complex aftertreatment systems.
What happens inside the engine presents even more challenges. Olivetti said that one way Federal-Mogul can help OEMs and suppliers move beyond Euro VI is to directly contribute to reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by reducing the internal friction of the engine. “We have components, like our new DuroGlide coating for piston rings, IROX, or specific piston design and skirt coating that allows a direct reduction of friction. Friction in the engine still remains one of the areas in which you can still improve a lot of engine efficiency.” Olivetti said that in the future, there will be a need to provide a technology allowing customers to make the calibration required, which will operate at a higher temperature, with higher peaks in pressure, so the environment around the combustion chamber is becoming much more challenging for components in terms of functional performance and durability.
Federal-Mogul offers new materials and new solutions for pistons, like DuraBowl, that re-melts in the bowl rim area. There is also a steam piston allowing higher temperature, higher pressure, and the same with the material and coating for the ring and bearing. Olivetti said, “We are developing solutions that allow our customers to increase the pressure, increase the temperature inside the combustion chamber, and have more freedom in their calibration to reduce friction. Higher pressure, higher temperature, and higher load are all going in the direction to allow for more aggressive combustion calibration, and more aggressive downsizing of the engine. All that will give our customer the possibility to further reduce fuel economy.”
Emissions standards have historically been different globally, which has caused problems for OEMs and suppliers. However, Olivetti said that one of the megatrends driving the industry today is globalisation, with OEMs using the same engine platforms around the world. He said, “Many manufacturers are becoming global, so you can find Daimler trucks everywhere around the world, including China.” The World Harmonised Heavy Duty Cycle also aims to balance emissions legislation between Europe and the US. Olivetti said, “It is not adopted by North America, because the US still has some concerns. They want to use their own way to measure the engine.
“Looking to the next step, there are many engines common between Europe and the US. Volvo engines are made for Europe and North America, and Daimler. Many heavy duty trucks in North America have European designed engines, so I think there will be a lot of pressure from OEMs to have the World Harmonised Cycle adopted in North America too. This will maybe come into effect around four years from now.”
There is currently still differentiation from country to country in the heavy duty market. Some countries still operate on the equivalent of Euro IV, which Olivetti said requires completely different products to Euro VI: “For Euro VI there is a certain refinement of the product and the challenge for the next engine is different. For countries where it [Euro VI] will come in the next few years, like India and China, we start to apply some advanced technology.” This technology is not the same as Europe and the US however, because their use of aftertreatment is not so diffused. Olivetti envisages that in four years’ time, the technology will be broadly aligned, more or less, everywhere, as companies in countries like China are already asking for the next generation legislation that will be implemented in around four years, bringing them in line with Europe.
A date has not been set for Euro VII, or even a confirmation of name, but 2020 looks likely for the next round of emissions standards. Not much, if anything is known about the standards, but industry experts are predicting that the next round will focus more heavily on CO2 emissions, rather than pollutant emissions, which have been significantly cut by almost 100% since the first regulations in 1993. Euro VI was tough for OEMs and suppliers, and Euro VII is set to be even tougher.
This article was first published in the Q2 2014 issue of Automotive Megatrends Magazine. Follow this link to download the full issue