Manufacturing News from the Engineered Designer Perspective

Is Clean Diesel a myth, or a yet-to-come promise?

Four big cities have already moved to ban diesel from their cities: Paris, Madrid, Athens and Mexico City. An often-cited report claimed over 51,000 people might have died prematurely because of emissions from diesel. [2] London, England and other cities are considering a ban on diesel cars, even the so-called “clean diesel” cars. Even though most of the Diesel emissions are from commercial vehicles, cities are doing what they can to safeguard their populations, and passenger cars are an easy target given the Volkswagen “clean diesel” issue — where the emissions controllers were turned off to pass emissions tests in 550,000 vehicles sold in the United States (dubbed ‘Dieselgate’.)

 

550,000 diesel car vehicles in the United States alone were incorrectly tested for emissions. This scandal, together with the overall burden of diesel fumes from commercial vehicles in cities has led to some diesel bans in four large cities (and many more are considering it.)

 

Diesel Once Thought Safe and Efficient

Diesel engines were advertised as one of the most efficient and eco-friendly ever engineered — notwithstanding hybrids — especially in Europe. Although highly efficient, since the fuel spontaneously combusted under high compression, car manufacturers had to convince governments and consumers they were also clean. In earlier tests conducted in the nineties, these engines and the diesel fuel showed relatively low emissions of CO2 as compared to the petrol engines [1]. This was all the push governments and the eco-friendly organizations needed to develop and push “clean diesel” in cars. Within years, diesel engines became a huge success in the European market.

Unfortunately, later studies reversed or clarified the emissions question. Researchers found that the emissions of nitrogen-based pollutants were extremely harmful not only for the environment but the human body as well.

 

Smog in London is at a breaking point. London is considering a ban on diesel cars.

 

51,000 People Might Have Died Prematurely

The first major studies to reveal the damage of diesel engines and diesel fuel came in 2012. This report, published in The Independent, claimed that approximately 51,000 people worldwide might have died a premature death because of the respiratory problems caused by the pollutants released by diesel engines [2]. This came as a shock to many worldwide, especially in Europe and the United States. Further research was conducted to investigate the claim and effects of diesel engines.

The nitrogen dioxide and other nitrogen-based pollutants of the diesel engine are especially harmful for people suffering from asthma. The PM 2.5 particles that are exhausted by diesel engines allows the carcinogens to get deep inside tissues and organs, which can contribute to cardiovascular diseases. This makes diesel engines harmful not only for the drivers but also for the pedestrians and drivers of other cars. According to one study in 2010, the pollutants from diesel engines were responsible for the premature death of 9416 people in London [3].

 

Small trucks and commercial trucks rely on the fuel efficiency and pulling power of diesel — although it is at the expense of heavy emissions. Many cities are moving to ban diesel cars (not commercial vehicles) after a passenger car company admitted to cheating on emissions tests.

 

The Promise of Clean Diesel

Due to this research, car companies worked aggressively on an environmentally-friendly diesel engine. The concept of “Clean Diesel” came out of a lot of expensive research to make this idea a success and a whole new and advanced type of fuel, engine and emission control technology were introduced to lay the foundation of Clean Diesel. As a result, the following claims were made about this new technology [4].

  • This new technology will reduce the NO2 and PM 2.5 particles emission by 98% from buses and trucks.
  • The new fuel that is engineered contains 97% less Sulphur than the conventional diesel.
  • 30% more fuel efficient than the conventional gasoline cars.
  • 90% reduction in PM 2.5 particles and 50% reduction in NO2 particles from farming vehicles and construction equipment.

Claims Too Good to Be True?

These claims seemed too good to be true. People argued over which was greener — hybrid cars or Clean Diesel cars. Especially in Europe, automotive companies started evangelizing Diesel again. This was a new ray of hope after the initial setback the diesel engines received.

However, in a dramatic turn of events, the whole idea of this cleaner and eco-friendly diesel technology proved to be exaggerated. Further investigations into this technology forced a major automotive manufacturer to admit that they rigged the initial tests of the clean diesel technology [5]. The cars running on this innovative technology had the emission controllers that worked only during the tests and in the actual running conditions, the cars emitted 40% more nitrogen-based pollutants than the allowed limit when emission controllers were not running. Although the company was punished for this and they also faced public outrage, the issue is still largely unresolved, leaving the biggest question — what will be the future of the running diesel-based cars in the world?

Many cities, especially in Europe, are discouraging the use of auto vehicles based on diesel engines through punitive taxing policies and short term temporary bans [1]. The banning of diesel vehicles will be a lot tougher than we think. Emissions might be an issue, but the superior efficiency of diesel vehicles make them a favorite for both commercial and personal use. With 10% to 15% more energy efficiency than the gasoline, what remains to be seen is if diesel can make a major comeback in the face of new, and strict, regulatory policies. Another solution to this problem will be to engineer more efficient fuel, engines and emission controllers and this time do it correctly.

Bibliography

[1] A. Forrest, “The Guardian,” 13 April 2017. [Online]. Available: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2017/apr/13/death-of-diesel-wonder-fuel-new-asbestos. [Accessed 2 May 2017].
[2] M. Corrigan, “Country Squire,” 3 December 2016. [Online]. Available: https://countrysquire.co.uk/2016/12/03/the-clean-diesel-myth/. [Accessed 2 May 2017].
[3] T. GRESCOE, “Sunday Review,” 3 January 2016. [Online]. Available: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/03/opinion/sunday/the-dirty-truth-about-clean-diesel.html?_r=0. [Accessed 2 May 2017].
[4] “Diesel Technology Forum,” 21 April 2017. [Online]. Available: http://www.dieselforum.org/news/earth-day-near-zero-emission-clean-diesel-technology-an-environmental-and-economic-achievement. [Accessed 2 May 2017].
[5] R. Krishnamoorti, “Forbes,” 25 November 2015. [Online]. Available: https://www.forbes.com/sites/uhenergy/2015/11/25/are-high-efficiency-clean-diesel-automobiles-a-myth/#5cc1e9aa2dea. [Accessed 3 May 2017].

 

 

Latest Stories

“I will destroy humans” says life-like robot: Elon Musk’s claim that artificial intelligence poses a threat to mankind may be justified?

“I will destroy humans” says life-like robot: Elon Musk’s claim that artificial intelligence poses a threat to mankind may be justified?

It may have been a glitch, but during a media interview, a “smart learning” robot named Sophia declared: “Okay, I will destroy humans.”     Although this was in response to an interview question from a journalist, it came across as a little jarringly frightening — rather than as the joke that might have been…

Smart winery? Environmental Health Monitoring Technology to boost plant production; pilot with Ontario winery with Bell in partnership with Huawei

Smart winery? Environmental Health Monitoring Technology to boost plant production; pilot with Ontario winery with Bell in partnership with Huawei

Bell announced a new partnership with Ontario-based BeWhere, an Internet of Things (IoT) solutions company, and China-based tech company Huawei, the world’s largest telecommunications equipment maker. Huawei worked with Bell to develop “an environmental monitoring solution to help improve the health and quality of plants at the vineyard.” Steve Lu, President of Huawei Canada said:…

$6.5 million Small Business Innovation Challenge to develop technologies in “Vehicle Occupancy Detection” and “Digital Identity”

$6.5 million Small Business Innovation Challenge to develop technologies in “Vehicle Occupancy Detection” and “Digital Identity”

Funded by the Ontario Government, the Small Business Innovation Challenge is helping companies develop new technologies in Vehicle Occupancy Detection — used to detect how many people are in an automobile for high occupancy toll roads (HOT) — and Digital Identity to help secure government services. To date, $6.5 million has been allocated, with $3.76…

Ontario launches Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network in Stratford to highlight privonce as the “go to” for Autonomous tech

Ontario launches Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network in Stratford to highlight privonce as the “go to” for Autonomous tech

Ontario is reinforcing its status as a go-to destination for developing automated vehicles by launching AVIN, the Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network, in Stratford. This unique demonstration zone is among the first of its kind in Canada and will allow researchers to hone the technology and test an AV in a wide range of everyday, real-life…

GO Transit may deploy hydrogen-power rather than electric; consults with Canadian fuel cell technology company that worked on world’s first hydrogen-powered train

GO Transit may deploy hydrogen-power rather than electric; consults with Canadian fuel cell technology company that worked on world’s first hydrogen-powered train

  Canadian hydrogen generation and fuel cell products developer Hydrogenics Corporation will formally undertake feasibility study for GO Transit to potentially deploy hydrogen-powered trains for Ontario. These trains have aleady proven successful in Europe, using technology developed in Canada at Hydrogenics. The Ontario Government announced the consultation yesterday, as part of its $13.5 billion RER…

100,000 watt laser firing 10,000 pulses per second would “deorbit” tons of dangerous space debris

100,000 watt laser firing 10,000 pulses per second would “deorbit” tons of dangerous space debris

The Extreme Univese Space Observatory telescope, originally built to detect cosmic rays, could be used to target space debris in orbit. According to scientists, a powerful laser can then be used to de-orbit space junk that endangers the International Space Station and other satelites. The laser system would be armed with a 100,000 wat ultraviolet…

Women will represent 50% of leadership positions at Oath (AOL-Yahoo merger) says CEO Tim Armstrong

Women will represent 50% of leadership positions at Oath (AOL-Yahoo merger) says CEO Tim Armstrong

In a move toward equality and inclusivity, Oath CEO Tim Armstrong has announced a mission to fill at least half of the company’s leadership positions with women by 2020. He had the opportunity to discuss this mission in a recent episode of CNN’s Boss Files with Poppy Harlow.     The CEO of Oath —…

Latest Update on KRACK (Key Reinstallation Attack): the flaw in WPA2 protocal for WIFI systems

Latest Update on KRACK (Key Reinstallation Attack): the flaw in WPA2 protocal for WIFI systems

Belgian researchers, Mathy Vanhoef and Frank Piessens — who recently issued warnings concerning a bug in the WPA2 protocol, a widely used system for securing Wi-Fi communications — have made tools available to “detect whether an implementaiton of the 4-way handshake… is vulnerable to key reinstallation attacks.” Standard protocols, such as “changing the password” will…

Bill Gates betting we can invent our way to a clean energy world

Bill Gates betting we can invent our way to a clean energy world

One of the world’s wealthiest businessmen and philanthropists hopes to serve as a catalyst in finding speedier solutions to the world’s climate change problems. Bill Gates of Microsoft has teamed with Mark Zuckerberg and a dozen or so other billionaires and high-profile institutions to launch the Breakthrough Energy Coalition. Gates has pledged $2 billion of…

A cloaking device possible? Stealth technology studies virtual invisibility through “irradiating with its own specific pattern”

A cloaking device possible? Stealth technology studies virtual invisibility through “irradiating with its own specific pattern”

Every kid has dreamed of being invisible at some point. Whether that stemmed from the desire to escape awkward encounters or dreams of being a spy and finding dirt on those around us, we have all been there. While true invisibility may not be possible, a recent study claims that we may be closer than…

1 2 3 73Next →

Other Popular News and Stories

  • Miners struggling with higher costs, lower prices
  • BC refinery close to financing deal
  • RV industry has growing role in Canada's economy: study
  • Canada keeping up pressure on US for Keystone XL approval
  • Manufacturing the sole industry showing job losses in February
  • Bombardier nearly ready to flight test CSeries
  • FTG Aerospace to supply avionics to Rockwell Collins
  • Japex to buy into west coast LNG development
  • Canadian oil production up; producers turning to railways for shipment
  • Canadian business, except energy, had profitable Q4: Statistics Canada
  • Economy managed slight growth in Q4, but shrank in December
  • Skilled labour shortage in world oil industry: report
  • GM investing $250 million at Ingersoll plant
  • Bombardier holds update on CSeries aircraft
  • Pratt & Whitney Canada announces helicopter engine contracts
  • SPPCA's new landing gear facility opening in Mississauga
  • Russian leasing company orders 42 CSeries jets from Bombardier
  • Volkswagen to produce super-efficient hybrid
  • DART Aerospace re-branding itself to reach wider markets
  • Clean energy expected to surge as pv costs drop