SCR in exhaust systems effective and safe, Daimler says

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“No disaster is looming” with the introduction of SCR engine technology, said Mike Delaney, senior vice president of marketing for Daimler Trucks North America.

On Thursday, March 27, at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky. Delaney and other Daimler executives addressed skepticism raised by competitors over the company’s plans to use selective catalytic reduction to meet 2010 Environmental Protection Agency emissions standards. The company’s brands include Freightliner, Western Star, Sterling and engine maker Detroit Diesel.

Emissions reduction addresses both human stewardship and business needs, Delaney said, and SCR is best suited for both goals. “It flat-out needs to be done,” he said.

Citing respiratory health problems linked to diesel exhaust, Delaney said Daimler’s road-proven BlueTec SCR system would deliver on the responsibility to reduce total emissions “to the lowest possible level … But we also have a goal to provide truckers sound business solutions and to produce the most fuel-efficient trucks on the road.” The BlueTec SCR system, he said, would allow both goals to be achieved.

Chris Patterson, Daimler president and chief executive officer, said the more than 100,000 SCR-equipped trucks in the Europe-wide fleet are seeing a 3 percent to 5 percent improvement in fuel-efficiency relative to engines based on exhaust gas recirculation, and that truckers could expect much the same in the North American market for 2010.

SCR technology treats exhaust with urea, also called diesel exhaust fluid, downstream of EGR treatment to reduce NOx emissions. Delaney responded to recent erroneous reports of the “toxic” nature of the fluid or its ammonia byproduct. He said that urea is totally nontoxic and noncombustible. “Urea is widely used as fertilizer for food crops, and in chewing gum, and in skin cream, and in many, many other applications that you touch or consume every day.”

Addressing the largest criticism against SCR – the current lack of a distribution system for urea in North America – Delaney presented a map showing the quick rollout of urea pumps at fueling stations and other spots in Europe between January 2006 and today. The number of European distribution spots in that time jumped from a mere 200 to more than 1,600.

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Furthermore, Delaney said, “reports show the SCR adoption rate is continuing to rise” in Europe, and fleets are seeing good results. SCR-equipped diesel passenger cars, furthermore, will hit American auto showrooms at the end of the year, and Terra is restarting its Louisiana urea plant to ramp up production for expected demand.

The company overall would continue efforts at “driving innovation” and “embracing change,” Patterson said.

Daimler Trucks also announced several upcoming product developments, including:

  • A new midroof 72-inch sleeper model and SmartWay certification for the Freightliner Cascadia. Freightliner’s Cascadia learning trailer, which has been touring Freightliner dealerships, is parked during MATS by the Paul K. Young Memorial Truck Show lot north of the West Wing.
  • The availability of Bendix ADB22X-V Air Disc Brakes on Freightliner Trucks. The brakes are designed for 22.5-inch steel or aluminum wheels.
  • The availability of Meritor WABCO Electronic Stability control and Eaton VORAD Collision Warning systems on Freightliners.
  • Various medium- and light-duty truck offerings, including the Class 6 Freightliner M2E hybrid cab and chassis, which recently went into production. This and other hybrid offerings in the works will feature an Eaton diesel-electric hybrid drivetrain component.
  • The opening by the end of the year of the Saltillo, Mexico, factory that will produce Cascadias and other models.